Satellite communications equipment from a space technology company based in Stockport, Greater Manchester, is set to be tested in orbit after being delivered on board the SpaceX rocket.
SatixFy Space Systems will use the European Space Agency mission to demonstrate their satcom technology in space for the first time.
SatixFy’s CubeSat computer will be the most capable product of its type on the market, supporting up to 4Gbps of data transmission, and allowing companies to process large amounts of data in orbit.
SatixFy’s satcom technology will be part of a payload to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch was originally due to take place in June but was postponed.
Elodie Viau, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA, said:
“ESA is proud to enable small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe to become space mission providers and enter the space industry through programmes such as Pioneer.
“It provides innovators and entrepreneurs with the means to access space through cost-effective processes, creating jobs and boosting prosperity, and supporting the success of the European and Canadian space industry in the highly competitive global telecommunications market.”
SatixFy Space Systems has a base on the Cheadle Royal Business Park, Stockport, Greater Manchester.
The University of Manchester, together with Health Innovation Manchester and its Academic Health Science Centre, are launching a joint venture with the Morningside Group to trial a series of new diagnostics and interventions in clinical and digital health.
The venture will look at novel digital health innovations and trial a range of cost-effective diagnostic and therapeutic interventions developed by the Morningside Group, with a focus on the prevention and early detection of disease.
A key focus will be the use of digital technologies to transform the nature of services for patients. Developing solutions away from the hospital environment has the potential to empower patients, drive proactive care, reduce the cost of treatment and transform population health outcomes.
Greater Manchester’s track record in clinical trials, combined with its diverse population, high burden of illness, distinctive health ecosystem, digital maturity and devolved health and social care budget, makes it an ideal location for pioneering new treatments.
Combined with clinical expertise within Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, and wider capabilities for innovation deployment at scale through Health Innovation Manchester, the partnership is uniquely positioned to trial and deliver benefits from innovations that emerge from the Morningside Group’s portfolio of companies.
The partnership also forms the next step in an ambitious plan at The University of Manchester to bolster digital health capabilities in the region, following January’s launch of the multimillion-pound Christabel Pankhurst Institute for Health Technology and Innovation.
Morningside co-founder and Honorary Professor of Translational Medicine at The University of Manchester Dr Gerald Chan said:
“Morningside’s long-standing ambition is to create positive change in the world of public health. Through our diverse portfolio of companies, we are proud to have made significant contributions to the life sciences, including biotech companies, developing water filtration membranes, cancer targeting systems and a mobile app for the early detection of autism among others. Now, we are excited to be partnering with The University of Manchester to leverage our combined strengths in digital health and innovation and create effective and affordable health solutions that benefit the public.”
Professor Graham Lord, Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at The University of Manchester said:
“At Manchester, our primary focus has always been on delivering bench-to-bedside research. This exciting partnership will help drive innovation across Greater Manchester and beyond, ensuring that more patients benefit from the latest cutting-edge treatments and therapies.”
The University’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Dame Nancy Rothwell, said:
“We are proud to be joining forces with Morningside to create unprecedented opportunities in public health solutions. Manchester’s renowned strength in relevant disciplines, including digital, fundamental science, innovation, AI, computational and physical sciences, creates a natural synergy with the capabilities and ambitions of Morningside. This new partnership goes to the heart of what Manchester is about: drawing on our breadth of excellence in fundamental science to drive real-world breakthroughs that benefit society.”
Rowena Burns, Chair of Health Innovation Manchester said:
“Digital health and innovation have a pronounced role to play in the future health of our communities, and the partnership between The University of Manchester and Morningside presents exciting opportunities to boost the long-term health benefits of the city-region through Health Innovation Manchester, while also contributing to business growth and employment. Manchester is a formidable presence on the world stage, with a unique health landscape that lends itself to developing bold new solutions that can then be scaled up to benefit communities both nationally and across the globe. I am excited about Manchester’s pronounced role in spearheading new treatments and innovations that will promote the health, wellbeing and resilience of our nation.”
Find out more about Greater Manchester’s capabilities in delivering health and social care innovation here.
Greater Manchester publishes Clean Air Plan, kickstarting “green revolution” with over £120 million secured to support businesses with vehicle upgrades
Greater Manchester has published its final clean air plan to kick-start the city region’s green revolution, helping to tackle the problem of air pollution, which contributes towards at least 1,200 deaths per year in the city-region.
Greater Manchester has secured over £120m in government funding to support local businesses upgrade to cleaner, compliant vehicles so they can travel in a GM-wide Clean Air Zone without incurring a daily charge. Applications for funding support will open from November this year. This will be essential to support impacted vehicle owners to upgrade, while facing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In light of feedback following last year’s eight-week consultation on the plans and the impact of COVID-19, particularly on small businesses, GM-registered taxi/private hire owners and LGV owners will be given more time, money and options to upgrade.
This includes temporary exemptions for an additional year (until 31 May 2023) for all hackney and private hire vehicles (PHV) licensed by a GM District. Vans, minibuses, GM-registered coaches and wheelchair-accessible taxis were already exempt from daily charges until 2023.
Following consultation and protracted negotiations with government, GM has increased funding support per vehicle for HGVs, coaches, vans, GM Hackney cabs and PHVs. Vans can now access up to £4.5k towards the replacement of a vehicle – £1k more than initially proposed – and GM Hackney Cabs can get up to £10k. HGVs can now get up to £12k towards replacement, nearly three times more than was initially offered, and coaches are now eligible for £32k.
The city region also today announced that bike-share company Beryl has been selected as the delivery partner to design, install and operate a 24/7, public cycle hire scheme made up of an initial 1,500 bikes and e-bikes at over 200 new cycle hire docking stations across Manchester, Trafford and Salford.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:
“Greater Manchester were the pioneers of the industrial revolution, now we are leading a green revolution, backed with over £120 million that we’ve secured to hand over to businesses to support making their vehicles compliant.
“We listened hard to what business owners wanted and, as a result, taxi drivers are being given more time, more funding and more options. This is part of our wider commitment to put GM-licensed hackney and private hire drivers first, and to lobby government to give us the powers to ensure that only locally licensed drivers are able to operate here.
“The fact is that air pollution is not a problem that is going to go away on its own. Not only has our plan been directed by national government, we’ve taken this seriously and fought to get a plan which has the right funding support for residents and to protect those most vulnerable as well as our trade and businesses. This plan will also have major health and wellbeing benefits for people living near motorways or major roads as there will be less polluting vehicles and HGVs using them.
“Our Clean Air Zone is only one piece of the jigsaw. We’re also fully integrating our public transport system – the Bee Network – and building the UK’s largest cycling and walking network. Today I am also very pleased to announce that urban bike share company Beryl has been named as our delivery partner for cycle hire, with the first bikes going on the ground later this year. Our cycle hire will be one of the largest docked systems outside London and I cannot wait to use the new bikes myself as a way to get from A to B. We’re making huge strides towards our plans to build back greener and be carbon neutral by 2038.”
Greater Manchester lead for Clean Air, Councillor Andrew Western, said:
“We want Greater Manchester to be a healthy, sustainable and happy place to grow up, get on and get old and we can’t afford to be complacent about this globally significant issue.
“Over the past year, we’ve rightly focused on supporting our people and our businesses through the terrible impacts of the pandemic. As we now look to recover, and after considering the impact of COVID-19, we want to continue helping those most affected, including small businesses and taxi drivers, by giving them more time as we look to build back better and greener with certainty.”
Greater Manchester’s Transport Commissioner, Chris Boardman, added:
“Today is a major milestone for the city-region – not only do we have a solid plan to make vehicles on our roads cleaner, we’ll soon be bringing cycle hire to our streets – providing a healthy, convenient, non-polluting transport option for tens of thousands of people. Together with our plans for hundreds of miles of cycling and walking routes by 2024, we are building a truly world-leading sustainable transport system.”
Beryl CEO, Philip Ellis, who also operates cycle hire schemes in Watford, Hereford, Bournemouth and Norwich, added:
“Greater Manchester has fantastic ambition when it comes to green transport and we’re excited to be bringing our experience in delivering world-class cycle hire. There is huge appetite for this scheme and we can’t wait to see people on our bikes and e-bikes later this year.”
Leaders from all ten GM local authorities will be asked to endorse the city-region’s Clean Air Plan – which includes the launch of a GM-wide Clean Air Zone on 30 May 2022 – at the next Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) meeting on 25 June 2021. This will be followed by approval by individual councils at their meetings.
The ten GM councils are under direction from government to introduce a category C* charging Clean Air Zone – including commercial and passenger vehicles but not private cars – to secure compliance with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) legal limits on local roads in the shortest possible time, and by 2024 at the latest.
Grants will be available for those who need it most, including private hire vehicles (PHV), coaches, HGVs and vans. There are also more options for replacement and retrofit for hackney carriages, PHVs, minibuses and vans.
A Clean Air GM report, published today, will confirm that while the COVID-19 pandemic led to brief air quality improvements, modelling shows it is not expected to lead to long-term reductions in roadside pollution without implementing a Clean Air Zone.
National government provided a funding award of £14.7m to retrofit buses running services in GM that have older engines and don’t meet the Clean Air Zone’s emission standard.
Around 18 bus operators have so far submitted applications for retrofit funding of 750 buses, worth nearly £12m. The retrofitting has now started, with seven operators having started retrofitting their vehicles.
The support package will help sole traders and the voluntary sector to upgrade non-compliant commercial vehicles and avoid a daily charge with the funding available from November. This includes:
- Clean Commercial Vehicle Fund: £87.9m for vans, HGVs, coaches and minibuses
- Clean Taxi Fund: £21.4m for GM-licensed taxi and private hire vehicle owners, drivers and operators to switch to cleaner vehicles
- Bus Retrofit Fund: £14.7 million to retrofit non-compliant buses running services in GM
- Bus Replacement Fund: £3.2 million to support replacement of non-compliant buses that can’t be retrofitted
Greater Manchester has also secured funding for over 30 taxi-only electric vehicle (EV) charging points at strategic sites across the city-region.
There are currently around 360 publicly accessible EV charging devices in Greater Manchester with around 700 connectors.
A new Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Strategy, to be published in July, will set out ambitious plans so that by 2030 anyone chooses to travel by car or van will be able to confidently drive an EV knowing that they can recharge it quickly and conveniently across the region.
Following the clean air consultation, and taking feedback into account, the Clean Air Zone boundary has minimal changes and will cover the whole of Greater Manchester, excluding the strategic Road Network (SRN) which is managed by Highways England. However, after years of hard work and following an assessment, government have agreed to include sections of the A628/A57 on the SRN that pass through the villages of Hollingworth and Mottram in the Zone** – helping to protect residents’ health along what have been some of the most polluted stretches of road in GM.
The daily charges also remain the same, as lower charges mean more are likely to ‘stay and pay’, which imposes costs onto businesses without delivering air quality benefits.
It has also been recommended that, following feedback, a consultation is held on the inclusion of motorhomes classified as MSP1 in the GM Clean Air Zone, and a change to the boundary to include the A575 and A580 at Worsley. A six-week consultation is expected to commence on 1 September 2021.
Last year, GM local authorities consulted on minimum licensing standards (MLS) for taxi and private hire services across the city-region. It is intended that the standards will be implemented in two phases and publicised before the GM CAP Clean Taxi Fund comes into operation.
The MLS will support the objectives of the Clean Air Plan, in helping to encourage higher emission standards, as well as delivering against a range of other outcomes, including public safety.
* A Category C class Clean Air Zone includes non-compliant buses and coaches, Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), Light Goods Vehicles (LGVs) or vans, minibuses, taxis and private hire vehicles.
** Tameside MBC, TfGM and Highways England to establish the most appropriate solution for the charging mechanism to be applied on this section of the Strategic Road Network (SRN).
Find out more about how GM LEP is supporting cycling infrastructure in Greater Manchester here.
Chris Boardman, Transport Commissioner, and Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham
The University of Manchester has been named the world’s 27th best university, according to the latest edition of the QS World University Rankings.
This means Manchester maintains its highest ever position in the rankings for a third consecutive year.
The University also holds its place as the 6th best institution in the United Kingdom. This year is the largest ever ranking featuring 1,300 universities – 145 more than last year – from 97 different locations worldwide.
The rankings provide an authoritative analysis of the performance of the world’s top universities. In total 6415 institutions were nominated for this year’s rankings, 3775 were evaluated as eligible, and 1673 were analysed resulting in the final 1,300 being ranked.
This is the latest in a series of global successes for the University in what has been an extraordinary yet challenging year for staff and students.
In April, Manchester was named the world’s number one university in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings. The University topped the table of more than 1,200 universities from around the world on action taken towards the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UN’s 17 SDGs are the world’s call to action on the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing humanity and the natural world.
The Alliance Manchester Business School also saw international success earlier this year as its MBA ranked 30th in the world, 10th in Europe and 4th in the UK in the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2021. This is the annual ranking of the world’s best full-time MBAs.
The rankings are representative of AMBS improving in 10 of the 20 categories assessed by the Financial Times. This includes a 20-place increase in the career progress of AMBS’ alumni, with the School being ranked 11th worldwide in this category, up from 31st in 2020.
The University of Manchester
HOST seeks bursary partners to support life-changing training for the underrepresented and disadvantaged
Innovation hub HOST, the Home of Skills & Technology at MediaCity in Salford, has launched a new bursary scheme to support underrepresented and disadvantaged individuals and entrepreneurs to help them gain access to training opportunities and growth programmes.
Open to applications nationally, the bursary will support talent across HOST’s Skills City, which includes training at the UK’s first Unity Centre of Excellence and programmes such as the Cyber Innovation Lab and the Unity Innovation Stream.
This unique scheme comprises three areas of support for those from a disadvantaged and diverse background – local talent into highly skilled jobs, entrepreneurs to start up, and businesses to scale.
HOST is committed to championing fair access to technology futures by transforming talent diversity, breaking the barriers faced by those from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds, and fast-tracking 450 people into digital technology careers every year.
To achieve this ambition and continue to reach diverse and underrepresented individuals and start-up businesses, HOST is inviting organisations to pledge their support as a bursary partner or a patron.
People or businesses can support as a Bursary Partner with a contribution of £3000 per year and a Bursary Patron can dedicate a minimum of £5000 per year.
By supporting the bursary, organisations will make a real life-changing difference to the talent that would not have otherwise been able to access the kind of programmes, training and support that HOST offers.
This dedicated funding could be invested towards helping a diverse or disadvantaged learner experience world-class Unity training at Skills City, so they can then be supported into a highly-skilled technology career start.
The bursary could also help female entrepreneur access the FreelanceHER 100 programme and a 12-month membership at HOST, or it could provide a start-up entrepreneur with the opportunity to join HOST’s incubation programme.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on Salford residents, recognising the need for more opportunities as 2,785 people, aged 16-24, are now claiming unemployment related benefits, an increase of 1,400 since March 2020.
Yet, with the backing of a bursary patron, an individual or company from Salford could be supported into a digital career at MediaCity.
Having previously launched the ground-breaking FreelanceHER 100accelerator programme last year, HOST funded places for over 50 per cent of the women who took part as they were ineligible for external support.
Mo Isap, CEO of IN4.0 Group, operators of HOST, said:
“We are really passionate about creating opportunities, jobs and training for those individuals from disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds. Diversity and inclusion are in our DNA, and we are all about the people we can support which is why we have established the HOST Bursary Scheme.
“With the help of our bursary partners and patrons, we will be able to guarantee the long-term sustainability of access to our programmes and services so we can continue to deliver tangible jobs and life-changing opportunities to the people we support. This bursary will be the bridge to prosperity for those furthest away from technology futures.”
Salford’s City Mayor, Paul Dennett, said:
“It’s great news that HOST is scaling its ambition and establishing its Bursary Scheme for Salford and for local people and businesses, who will massively benefit from the support on offer. It will unlock opportunities and drive growth at a time when the pandemic has impacted the availability and accessibility of jobs, skills and training in digital technology. The need to foster and nurture new talent is needed more than ever before and with initiatives like this, it’s an exciting future ahead and will encourage the city to thrive.”
For further information about the HOST Bursary Scheme contact Dale Sidebottom, Partnership & Innovation Manager: email@example.com
Read more about HOST innovation programmes here.
Mo Isap and Paul Dennett
How can networks of towns and cities play a leading role in levelling up through science and innovation?
Special roundtable report: Innovation Greater Manchester
A roundtable discussion addressed by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and featuring commentators from some of the UK’s leading think tanks has underlined the role for Innovation Greater Manchester in levelling up the North.
Developed by business, academia and civic leaders, Innovation Greater Manchester is a blueprint for translational innovation between Greater Manchester and Government to stimulate economic growth and boost R&D investment, creating jobs and supporting skills.
It forms a key part of the city-region’s Economic Vision, the plan to deliver a fairer, greener and more productive Greater Manchester economy.
Chaired by Chris Oglesby, interim Chair of Innovation Greater Manchester, CEO of Bruntwood and a board member with Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, the discussion began with a pre-recorded address from Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.
“The Innovation Greater Manchester blueprint shows how an area can harness its strength to produce something really special,” he said. “With this region’s extraordinary focus on innovation, you are travelling in exactly the same direction as the Government.
“We have an aim of raising R&D spending to 2.4 per cent of GDP. That means that we have to have a great deal of investment in your communities and businesses in the next few years. I can assure you that as we develop our R&D Place Strategy, Greater Manchester is very much at the front and centre of our conversations.”
The Innovation Greater Manchester roundtable addressed the urgent need to close gaps in productivity, skills and opportunity between the Golden Triangle of the South East and the other UK regions, including Greater Manchester. It also examined the implications for the UK for remaining competitive internationally if the gap is not closed.
Richard Jones, Independent Science Advisor to Innovation Greater Manchester, as well as Professor of Materials Physics and Innovation Policy at the University of Manchester, said places such as Leipzig have leap-frogged the UK’s second cities on economic competitiveness.
“It’s quite astonishing that businesses in the former Communist Eastern Europe have recovered more quickly during the post-industrial period than towns and cities in the North of Manchester,” he said.
The roundtable heard that in sharp contrast to cities in Eastern Europe, the gap is growing between GDP in London and second-tier cities including Greater Manchester.
Innovation Greater Manchester
Innovation Greater Manchester is a model for creating a network of innovation zones across towns and cities and leveraging science assets and strengths to support innovation-led business growth in Greater Manchester, the North West, and the wider North.
It is a blueprint for how cities and towns across the North can work in concert for mutual broad-based prosperity, levelling up through science and innovation.
It is closely aligned with UK national policy which seeks to deliver the Government’s laudable aims of achieving 2.4% of GDP related to R&D, establishing the UK as a science superpower and supporting international trade through global Britain.
It demonstrates how deeper local-national partnerships, underpinned by shared outcomes and ring-fenced funds, can deliver more and better.
Outlining the current challenges as we recover from the pandemic, Brexit, and the transition to carbon net-zero, Professor Jones said there was an urgent need to innovate to increase R&D intensity, particularly among SMEs, and create a more joined-up system to develop skills and increase inward investment.
He referenced the weight of evidence that had gone into Innovation Greater Manchester via the work that underpins the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy.
He said Greater Manchester could build on the success of planned and existing R&D hubs including ID Manchester, the Salford Innovation Triangle and Gateway North in Rochdale, which includes a planned Manufacturing Innovation Park.
He said: “Our vision is that we should do an innovation deal with the Government to help level up, innovate and really motor to make GM a lead economy. If there is a strapline, it’s that we want to find out who is doing the innovating in Greater Manchester and help them do more of it.
“At a basic level, we are bringing our innovative businesses together, and working out how we can get them to do more of that. This can best be done at the local level, with institutions and actors that know their people, places, and businesses.”
Richard Jones, Independent Science Advisor to Innovation Greater Manchester as well as Professor of Materials Physics and Innovation Policy at the University of Manchester
Carter said there were three enduring perception challenges facing Innovation Greater Manchester and that they have increased in significance, namely:
- The sense that the innovation agenda is zero-sum – that only one city can prosper
- Challenges around the elitist nature of innovation – the sense that it’s not something that impacts upon the life of the average person
- The sense that Greater Manchester is just ‘another place’ in the country, whereas, from an economic perspective, it has unique characteristics which mean it is primed for an intervention such as Innovation Greater Manchester
Kathrin Enenkel provided evidence of three reasons why Greater Manchester should be at the centre of a large-scale innovation intervention:
- Economic data proves the case – it needs to be levelled up.
- Data show that it has the potential to successfully transform investment into innovation and is the city with the strongest innovation capacity in the North of England.
- Because the city is so big, increasing its productivity would deliver a significant impact for the UK in terms of GDP as well for the people living in the area.
“We know GM is operating below potential. If Greater Manchester achieved its potential, the UK economy would be £15bn bigger.”
He said the UK had been below the OECD average for spending on R&D as a share of total GDP for some time and welcomed the Government’s target spend of 2.4% of GDP on R&D.
While Greater Manchester has performed well for venture capital investment relative to many other UK locations, the city-region falls well behind London, Holloway added.
Highlighting research conducted by Onward in its Levelling Up report, Holloway said that it recommended any uplift in public R&D investment through the 2.4% of GDP target should be devoted to projects outside the “Golden Triangle” of Cambridge, London and Oxford in the South East of England.
One example of how this might be achieved is The Advanced Machinery & Productivity Institute in Rochdale, Greater Manchester (See FT article).
Part of Gateway North, it is a major project within Innovation Greater Manchester that will build globally significant machine tooling and sustainable materials translational research capacity in the North.
Citing research based on outreach between the University of Manchester and Moss Side, traditionally one of Greater Manchester’s more deprived communities, he said people from any socioeconomic background can thrive with the right opportunities.
“We have to see the potential in kids, out there in our estates, in our towns, people who have creatively jostled through lives and could be our best most creative employees,” he said.
“People have become stuck, stuck from creating new ventures, from creating new jobs, from creating roles.”
However, investing in skills and innovation would present a “double-edged opportunity”, he said, because if employers are supported to shape local skills programmes, local people will be able to access the good jobs innovation can create.
By adding “rocket boosters” to the translational aspects of R&D, we will get more employers creating those good jobs in our towns – achieving levelling up, Cook added.
In summary, Chris Oglesby said it was clear that Greater Manchester’s ambitions were clearly aligned with the Government’s and detailed the city-region’s existing industrial strengths and R&D hubs.
He said that Greater Manchester now wanted to level up towns and cities across Greater Manchester and the North, building on strong sector links.
He added: “We know that the young people of places who are being left behind are capable of thriving. We are going to innovate in a way that takes everybody with us, and Innovation Greater Manchester will help us to do this.”