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Space4climate welcomes UK-Australia space bridge fund

News  |  20 July, 2021  |  Reading time: 5 minutes
Space4Climate is encouraging the UK climate data from space community to bid for a new £200,000 fund for UK-Australian space-enabled projects, announced today (Tuesday, July 20, 2021).

The initiative is the first as part of the UK-Australian Space Bridge, which was announced in February this year.

Australia’s SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and the UK’s Satellite Applications Catapult – members of Space4Climate – will award £50,000 to four projects ‘that align to the mutual benefits of both countries and create collaboration through the Space Bridge’.

The topic areas are:

  • Earth Observation and Climate Resilience
  • Agriculture and Land Management from Space
  • Enabling Connectivity and Innovative Space Communications
  • Quantum Technologies for Space

Proposal details

Proposals under the Earth Observation and Climate Resilience theme must align with one or more of these Priority Topic Areas:

  1. Utilising existing and upcoming Earth Observation missions (e.g. BIOMASS, Aquawatch)
  2. Calibration and Validation leveraging expertise, geographic benefits and in-situ sites
  3. Water quality, soil moisture, biodiversity, environmental and natural capital factors
  4. End user applications for critical mineral resource assessment & mining operations
  5. Disaster resilience
  6. Standardisation and sharing of data products

There are also opportunities for climate-relevant space-enabled action under the other topics, (further detail in note, below).

Project proposals must be submitted by 8am  BST, August 30th, 2021,  on  (5pm AEST), include at least one UK-based and one Australia-based industry partner and not exceed AUD$100,000 (~£50,000).  Projects should have clearly defined outcomes with long-term growth potential, leading to impact through commercial or other pathways. Selected projects will be expected to start by October 15th, 2021 and must be completed by June 2022.

SmartSat CRC, a consortium of universities and other research organisations, partnered with industry and funded by the Australian Government, will manage the selection process, with the UK Science and Innovation Network and the Satellite Applications Catapult. Projects should align to the SA Catapult Strategy or the SmartSat CRC Strategic Plan, pdf.

It is expected that the successful preliminary phase research projects will lead to larger collaborative projects.

The Space Bridge is a partnership between the UK and Australian governments, to increase knowledge exchange, investment and trade across both countries’ space sectors. It is supported by the UK Space Agency and the UK Department for International Trade, the Australian Space Agency and the Australian Trade & Investment Commission

Space4Climate welcomes this collaborative project fund as an opportunity to bring together UK leadership in data analytics and quality assurance of climate Earth observation (EO) satellite data with Australia’s indigenous Australian space-to-ground capability.

Professor Nigel Fox, NPL, Board Member of Space4Climate and UK representative to CEOS-WGCV (Committee on Earth Observation Satellites – Working Group on Calibration and Validation), says: “UK and Australia have strong synergy in Earth observation Calibration/Validation (EO Cal/Val) and already have many collaborations particularly in the SAR and optical domains, many of which are being exploited through CEOS and in partnership with other nations and organisations such as ESA.

“The unique and diverse landscape of Australia together with the clear skies provide many opportunities for in-situ Cal/Val sites, and brings with it an experienced team of expertise. Coupled to this the UK brings its own strengths in data analytics, standardisation and quality assurance.”

Briony Turner, Climate Services Development Manager for Space4Climate welcomed the call, saying: “This is an exciting opportunity to combine UK and Australian expertise at the frontiers of global efforts to address climate change in the year of the UK COP26 Presidency. It could, for example, help to materialise Article 7.5 of the Paris Agreement, which calls for inclusion of indigenous people and their local knowledge.

“Combining existing and emerging robust climate data sets, such as those from the ESA Climate Change Initiative and future missions, such as BIOMASS, in collaboration with indigenous communities in Australia could lead to exciting collaborations taking informed action to adapt to our changing climate.”

Space4Climate, chaired by the UK Space Agency, helps members to work together and in collaboration with international partners, in delivering, sustaining and making use of trusted climate intelligence from space. Our activities focus on removing the barriers to enable a seamless supply chain of climate data from space assets to the users. By helping to identify user and/or market requirements and facilitating the development of trusted climate services to meet these, we aim to drive global economic and societal benefit towards reaching net zero.

EO data used for climate requires calibration and validation before it can be relied upon by decision makers to make critical decisions on mitigation and adaptation.

Space4Climate can facilitate dialogue between Australian partners and potential UK collaborators, providing access to our scientific and commercial experts and developers, email our Climate Services Development Manager: b.d.turner@reading.ac.uk

Read the announcement and download the application document on the SmartSat website.

Topics

Proposals should align with one or more of the Priority Topic Areas:

Topic 1: Earth Observation and Climate Resilience

  1. Utilising existing and upcoming Earth Observation missions (e.g. BIOMASS, Aquawatch)
  2. Calibration and Validation leveraging expertise, geographic benefits and in-situ sites
  3. Water quality, soil moisture, biodiversity, environmental and natural capital factors
  4. End user applications for critical mineral resource assessment & mining operations
  5. Disaster resilience
  6. Standardisation and sharing of data products

Topic 2: Agriculture and Land Management from Space

  1. Heat and frost prediction and management
  2. Disease and pest management
  3. Connectivity and in-situ network utilization for agricultural end-user applications
  4. Yield production predictions with modelling and weather integration
  5. Agricultural sustainability indicators measurement

Topic 3: Enabling Connectivity and Innovate Space Communications

  1. Satellite communications and integration with 5G
  2. 5G innovative applications and utilisation
  3. Intelligent satellite backhaul (data transfer)
  4. Innovative use of orbital regimes (LEO, GEO)
  5. Flat Panel Antennas: next-generation satellite communications

Topic 4: Quantum Technologies for Space

  1. Communication, sensing and navigation innovation
  2. Cybersecurity for space assets
  3. PNT applications (e.g. leverage UK Space-based PNT)