Ambassador - United Kingdom

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Ian Downey


Fermi Avenue
Harwell OX11 0FD
United Kingdom
Phone+44 (0)1235 444319
Space derived information and capabilities offer significant potential as an engine for new business. The aim of the UK Ambassador Platform network is to encourage UK activities that will deliver sustainable space-based services and applications to new user communities and customers.


The Business Applications UK Ambassador Platform is implemented as a network of five regional Ambassador posts embedded in different host organisations, all active in stimulating space related business development.

Business Applications UK Ambassador Platform Network Coordinator (APN-C)

Ian Downey

Ian Downey coordinates the network for the Business Applications programme of the European Space Agency (ESA). Ian has 30 years’ experience in remote sensing and other space applications in both private and public sector organisations, particularly in the areas of needs analysis and business development.

The UK already has a strong presence in the global space market, which is expected to continue its rapid growth, especially in downstream applications. With the support of both ESA and the UK Government, the network’s aim is to raise awareness of the available funding instruments and to identify, promote and deliver a regular supply of commercially sustainable projects that use or are enabled by space. It conducts outreach activities and provides advice and guidance on business ideas for the programme across multiple sectors and regions in the UK, by developing relationships with new and existing users and stakeholders. 

The Coordinator’s role is hosted jointly at the Satellite Applications Catapult and ECSAT (the European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications) on the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire.  The former plays an important role by creating new applications opportunities and stimulating innovation in new products and services for export.  This association also offers opportunities for engagement with new users and thematic domains through links to Satellite Applications Regional Centres of Excellence, other UK Catapults and innovation centres.  


Tel: +44 (0)1235 444319


Regional Ambassador Platform (RAP) Profiles

Business Developer

Victoria Christmas

Victoria is a bid specialist with a focus on bid management, team building, coaching, process redesign and independent stage reviews. She is an experienced and successful Bid Manager with over fifteen years’ experience in client facing roles and a proven ability to engage and communicate with stakeholders at all levels. She brings expert knowledge of bid management tools such as Award and SharePoint as well as experience of working within framework contracts and managing customer interfaces. She holds a BA (Hons) Business Studies degree, is APMP qualified and holds current SC security clearance.

The Business Developer role assists the network by providing feedback on ideas received, to promote more compelling proposal submissions to ESA. This includes an element of coaching and mentoring for industry, to support bidders in preparing ideas for ESA’s Business Applications programme. Victoria is based at ECSAT, Harwell.





UK Regional Ambassador Platform - Midlands and Nort East England (RAP-MNE)

Paul Singh Bhatia

Paul has over 15 years of experience working with the space sector, 11 of which have been spent leading the work of the Geospatial Research and Applications Centre of Excellence (GRACE) at the University of Nottingham. He is an experienced member of the geospatial community and has assisted many organisations and businesses to take advantage of geospatial and GNSS technologies through the provision of consultancy, training, testing and business incubation & acceleration. Paul was co-founder of  Geomatic Ventures Limited, and has an MSc in Engineering Business Management.

The East Midlands region is recognised as being already very strong in the space sector. RAP-MNE will have a regional office in Nottingham, with collaborative links to business support organisations based in Leeds and Durham. 

The ESA RAP-MNE is hosted by the Nottingham Geospatial Institute at the University of Nottingham.






Andy Williams

Andy Williams has over 25 years experience in the Space Industry within Europe including 20 years working in Darmstadt, Germany. He has significant experience in a range of technical, managerial and commercial roles in satellite operations and ground segment services. Based in Cornwall since moving back to the UK in 2015, Andy has worked on developing opportunities in satellite telecommunications and downstream satcoms services. In 2019, he founded a space consultancy business providing technical and commercial assistance into the space sector. Andy has a Masters degree in Astronautics and Space Engineering from Cranfield. Andy is currently working for the University of Exeter as the Regional Ambassador for South West England and South Wales.

RAP-SW is hosted by the University of Exeter through the Satellite Applications Catapult South West Centre of Excellence






UK Regional Ambassador Platform – North West England and North Wales (RAP-NW)

Alan Cross

Alan is a co-founder and former Chair of the Northern Space Consortium CIC, which aims to nurture the region’s space industry by organising events, engaging, connecting and coordinating the North West of England and North Wales with the key players in the space industry. This covers both upstream and downstream sectors, nationally and internationally.  Alan is a skilled and passionate communicator with a lifelong passion for astronautics and astronomy. He has more than a decade of experience in managing and delivering client focused solutions, including several years engaging regional businesses and stakeholders within the space industry. 

As the Regional Ambassador, Alan is exploring how collaboration between businesses can also deliver real change and prosperity to the region. RAP-NW is hosted by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) at their Daresbury site near Warrington.






UK Regional Ambassador Platform - London and South East England (RAP-SE)

Tom Greenwood

Tom is an expert facilitator and network coordinator, bringing his background in Geography and Environmental Sciences to the role of Regional Ambassador for London and the South East. He has been managing knowledge exchange activity since 2012 amongst mixed stakeholder groups, connecting research and innovation to business. Prior to joining the ESA Business Applications Regional Ambassador Platform, his previous roles include Innovation Fellow for the Satellite Applications Catapult South Coast Centre of Excellence, and Research and Innovation Facilitator at the University of Portsmouth. His strengths can be found in providing platforms for the development of collaborative ventures, projects and partnerships. In addition, he has a track record of delivering high quality and engaging workshops for mixed stakeholder groups and providing dedicated support in bid development.

RAP-SE is hosted by the University of Portsmouth through the Satellite Applications Catapult South Coast Centre of Excellence. 





UK Regional Ambassador Platform - Scotland and Northern Ireland (RAP-SNI)

Kenneth Gordon

Ken is an experienced innovation funding specialist who has been helping Scottish businesses understand and apply for funding for innovation since 2008. He has moderated and presented at innovation funding events across the EU and beyond, including trade visits to China presenting the capabilities of the Scottish Aerospace industry. He brings significant business support skills in proposal preparation, finding collaborative partners and proposal review to assist the space and non-space sectors. 

Ken has a passion for effective communication and has presented on social media best practice. Ken’s background enables working closely with companies and key agencies, including Scottish Enterprise (SE), Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and Northern Ireland’s economic development agency, Invest NI.

RAP-SNI is hosted by the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.