23 Jan 2023

UK Space Agency announces £50 million for satellite communications

The UK Space Agency is calling for expressions of interest as part of a £50 million funding round, with further funding available in the event of oversubscription.  

The funding falls under the European Space Agency’s ARTES programme,  in which the UK is one of the leading investors of the Programme after having committed £190m to the programme in November last year. 

The Agency is running a webinar ‘Partnership Call for Proposals: Introduction to the ESA ARTES Partnership Programme and what the UK is looking for’ which is scheduled for Friday 27 January from 12:30. 

What will a successful proposal look like? 

All successful proposals will be based in telecoms and, according to the UKSA: 

  • Add value to the UK 
  • Catalyse investment 
  • Grow the space sector 

Beyond these requirements, UKSA is looking for proposals that will disrupt the existing space sector in ways that will grow both the space and wider UK economy. This innovation can be through bringing new technologies into the space sector. However, it can also refer to new business models, or methods of operating a space-based business, such as by using existing technologies in innovative ways, or even by introducing new sectors into space itself.  

Similarly, successful proposals will be clearly though through, with a strong return on investment and ambition in thinking. Proposals should also be as UK-based as possible to ensure as much inward investment as possible, and all expenditure must be outlined in advance. 

The agency said projects could be integrated with 5G networks for upgraded infrastructure that enables new services such as drones, driverless haulage and space-based networks. 

What is the UKSA offering? 

The £50 million in funding has the potential to be increased if oversubscribed. 

Proposals by large and non-SME companies, including companies owned by large and non-SME firms, as well as SMEs already undertaking very high-value programmes, can receive up to 50% matched funding. SME entrants meanwhile may be offered up to 75% matched funding. 

The proposals funded by the UKSA must be competitive at or below 50% matched funding, and the UKSA will not fund regulatory compliance. 

How to apply 

To apply, An Expression of Interest document must be submitted to UKSA by Midday 1 March 2023. These will be considered on a rolling basis, so UKSA recommend applying as soon as possible. 

Certain submissions will be invited to give a presentation to UKSA. An outline proposal is then due on Midday 15 April 2023, before winners are announced in the summer. 

Documents, including guidance and forms, can be found at the UKSA website

Find out more 

UKSA has released guidance outlining more information about the funding round. UKSA is also hosting a series of webinars to explain the round, which you can sign up for at their website

If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact the team. 


Sophie James

Sophie James

Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy, techUK

Manuel R. Marti

Manuel R. Marti

Programme Manager, UK SPF and Satellite, techUK

Julia Ofori-Addo

Julia Ofori-Addo

Programme Assistant, Central Government, Digital Connectivity Forum, Comms Infrastructure, UK SPF, techUK


Related topics