Posted on February 15, 2024

Space East, the rapidly growing cluster group for the space sector in the East of England announces today that the County of Kent – trailblazed by the University of Kent – will now be within the remit of the Space East Cluster.

Kent, known as the ‘Garden of England’ will add to Space East’s expertise and studies in space and satellite technology to support regional agriculture and food industries and even develop space-based agriculture to support human habitation in space.

Space East further enables data sharing across academic projects improving the application of space technology for this region and the UK. In addition, it provides an exciting opportunity for businesses across the counties to increase their networks and unlock new partnership opportunities. This will especially present new prospects for the 160 plus companies based on the Kent Discovery business park working across pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, healthcare, technology and professional services sectors. A launch event for local businesses, academia and cluster members will be hosted by the University of Kent in June to help shape an action plan.

The University of Kent, based in Canterbury and Medway (UK), which has an impressive history of space research, has an internationally renowned School of Physics and Astronomy delivering leading science subjects for over 50 years. As a member of the Eastern Arc, the University of Kent already has a strategic collaboration between academic cluster members of the universities of East Anglia, Essex and Sussex.

Space East welcomes Professor of Molecular Physics Nigel Mason OBE as the University’s lead representative. Professor Mason has had leadership roles in many national and international research programmes and is the lead coordinator of Europlanet Research Infrastructure, Europe’s largest forum for planetary sciences. Outside Europe, he works with the emerging space communities in India and Africa.

Nigel J. Mason OBE, Professor of Molecular Physics, says: “I’m delighted that the county and the University of Kent have joined Space East, providing the opportunity for researchers and businesses to collaborate across the region with an emphasis on using space to support agriculture and developing materials to be used across the space sector.

“Kent has long been the UK’s gateway to Europe, I hope it will also become one of the UK’s gateways to space.”

Stuart Catchpole, Cluster Manager of Space East, says: “The heartbeat of any cluster is its community and the opportunities presented by its diverse membership, engagement, knowledge capabilities and expertise. We’re delighted that Kent and the University of Kent, through Professor Nigel Mason OBE has joined Space East, growing the cluster and providing even greater opportunities for our members to connect, collaborate and exchange knowledge to drive forward the space economy in our region.

“We’re particularly excited to explore how space technology can support the terrestrial agricultural sector as well as space farming.”

To find out more about Space East, visit or contact Stuart Catchpole at

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    Stuart Catchpole

    Space Cluster Manager
    New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)