Space Satellite Applications Catapult to be located at Harwell Oxford

Harwell Oxford, welcomes the announcement last week by Science Minister David Willetts that the UK’s new Satellite Applications Catapult is to be based at the campus. Catapults, formerly known as Technology and Innovation Centres, are centres of excellence that bridge the gap between business, academia, research and government.

Harwell Oxford is being developed by a joint venture between the UK Atomic Energy Authority, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, Prorsus Ltd and Development Securities Plc.  The campus is a world-leading location for science, technology and business with commercial high-tech clusters in Space, Healthcare Technologies, Digital/ICT, Cryogenics and Green Energy.  The Government has recently awarded Harwell Oxford Enterprise Zone status and it provides a supportive environment for growing businesses.

According to the Technology Strategy Board, Harwell Oxford was chosen because of the growing cluster of organisations already based there dedicated to advances in space technology and the development of satellite applications. These include the European Space Agency (ESA), the International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC), Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and Rutherford Appleton Laboratories (RAL).

Dr Sally Ann Forsyth, Director of Harwell Oxford, said:

“The Technology Strategy Board’s decision is a welcome endorsement of Harwell Oxford’s recognised status as a UK centre of excellence for space technology. Already, Harwell Oxford is home to 150 organisations including start ups and multi-national companies. We offer innovative companies an unrivalled environment and unique access to world class facilities through the open innovation campus structure.  We look forward to working with the Board on the necessary commercial agreements for delivering this important new scientific facility.” 

Making the announcement at the Farnborough International Air Show, Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:

“I’m delighted that the Satellite Applications Catapult will be located at Harwell. The Technology Strategy Board are already committed to investing £10 million this year alone in innovation in technologies that make use of satellite and space infrastructure. The Catapult will give real impetus to commercial development in this area, where the UK can set itself ahead of the competition. With the international reputation that Harwell already enjoys, it makes it an ideal location for the Catapult.

The Satellite Applications Catapult, one of seven new technology and innovation centres to be established by the UK’s innovation agency The Technology Strategy Board, will be a world-class centre for the development and commercial exploitation of satellite products, services and applications. It will bring together the best researchers, SMEs and large companies to work on innovative satellite technology and applications. The final decision to locate the Satellite Applications Catapult at Harwell Oxford is subject to the agreement of commercial terms.



About Harwell Oxford

Harwell Oxford is a science, innovation and business campus based in South Oxfordshire at the heart of Science Vale UK. It is being developed as a world-class centre for science, technology and innovation and was recently named as one of the Government’s new Enterprise Zones.

Over 4,500 people are part of this vibrant community, working in some 150 organisations including key UK Research Councils, start-ups and multi-national organisations focussingon a range of commercial applications including healthcare, medical devices, space, detector systems, computing, green enterprise and new materials.

About the Technology Strategy Board

The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency; its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit:

About Catapult Centres

Catapults, formerly known as technology and Innovation centres, are centres of excellence that bridge the gap between business, academia, research and government. They are a powerful new element in the UK economy, helping businesses develop relevant and exciting ideas in receptive and invigorating environments. The Technology Strategy Board will oversee the Catapult programme. Seven centres have been announced in this current phase of funding. These include; high value manufacturing, cell therapy, offshore renewable energy, satellite applications, connected digital economy, future cities and transport systems. For more information please visit:

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Harwell Oxford

A world leading location for science, technology and business