business applications

Ambassador - United Kingdom

Ian Downey


Fermi Avenue
Harwell OX11 0FD
United Kingdom
Phone+44 (0)1235 444319
Space derived information and capabilities offer significant potential to apply research and understanding developed over several decades in addressing major natural and man-made global phenomena that impact planetary sustainability and governance. My aim is to encourage activities that will deliver such space-based services and applications to new user communities and customers.


The UK Ambassador post is embedded on a 50% time basis in the Space Applications Catapult. A key advantage is the promotion of coordination between IAP and the Catapult initiative to mutual benefit.  Many potential synergies exist between IAP and the Space Applications Catapult. This association also offers significant opportunities for outreach and engagement with new users and thematic domains and links to the other UK Catapults and their activities.

Why promote space applications to the UK?

The global space market is growing on average at around 10% per year and the UK already has a strong presence.  Looking forward, the market is expected to continue its high growth, with the bulk of this developing in the downstream applications market. The UK government is making a major commitment to space, particularly in the ARTES programme in response to this opportunity. This is largely informed by the Space Innovation and Growth Strategy (IGS), which set out an ambition to grow the UK space industry to £40Bn by 2030  and has recently laid out a number of recommendations to set the trajectory for that growth.  Many of these recommendations are being progressed and delivered through the Space Applications Catapult, which plays a role in delivering growth across a number of strands of the UK space strategy, in particular creating new applications opportunities, stimulating innovation and creating new products and services for export. The UK Civil Space Strategy, as well as Technology Strategy Board policy and their space related activities are also heavily influenced by this IGS work, which requires a high degree of convergence of effort and resources in the UK space sector. There is a pressing need to ensure that these UK based initiatives are coordinated and promoted to form a consolidated and coherent UK approach to harnessing this wealth of capability at national and international level to realise sound, evidence based applications that address these opportunities and achieve sustainable economic growth.

Thematic Focus

The UK Ambassador Platform is currently concentrated on 4 main areas:

  • The Transport domain with particular emphasis on engagement in areas related to intelligent transport and smart mobility. Short term focus is on the rail and road sectors, with aviation and maritime applications longer term prospects.
  • The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) domain offers significant potential for IAP activity. Active engagement with the ORE Catapult in Glasgow seeks to realise the potential in this area.
  • Future Cities (including machine to machine [M2M] systems)
  • Healthcare / Life Sciences

The AP is also responsive to other applications domains and the regional characteristics of the respective devolved administrations in the UK as opportunities arise. 

UK Ambassador Platform

The purpose of the UK AP is to raise awareness of the ARTES 20 and ARTES 3/4 funding instruments and through this to identify, promote and deliver a regular supply of Feasibility Study and Demonstration scale projects under these respective programmes. This is done via: presentations, workshops, meetings, web presence and other engagements and publicity.

When identifying and supporting appropriate target sectors and user groups, the conditions that define likely success of an activity can be summarised as:

  • Engaged user community (addressable market);
  • Access to matched funding;
  • Market readiness of applications and technology;
  • Appropriate Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) in the service chain;
  • Viable service provision capability;
  • Clear business plan