Select Committee oral evidence session, to be held at the National Space Centre in Leicester, demonstrates strength of having excellent research base and public educational facility in same city.

A top-level public inquiry into the future of space policy in the UK is to come to Leicester –demonstrating the importance of the city in this field and allowing the public access to the Parliamentary process.

Members of the general public will be able to attend the oral evidence session, which will focus on the role of space within education.

University of Leicester Emeritus Professor Alan Wells, who is also a non-executive director of the National Space Centre- will address the inquiry Committee when it meets in Leicester on 30 January.

The Science and Technology Committee launched a major and wide-ranging inquiry into aspects of UK space policy last year. The Committee is monitoring progress towards the strategic objectives of UK space policy and addressing some key broad issues, including the following:

  • The impact of current levels of investment on space-related activities on the UK’s international competitiveness in this sector;
  • The benefits and value for money obtained from participation in the European Space Agency and other international programmes;
  • The maximisation of commercial benefits and wealth creation from UK space-based technologies through innovation and knowledge transfer;
  • The delivery of public benefits from the space-related activities of different Government departments (eg DEFRA, MoD, DTI, DfT), and the co-ordination of these activities; and
  • Support for space-related research and the UK skills base.

The University of Leicester has submitted written evidence to the committee and Professor Martin Barstow, Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, was among a small number of people invited to an informal seminar at the start of the inquiry. Professor Barstow said: “The Science and Technology Committee will hold its third evidence session in this inquiry on Tuesday 30 January at the National Space Centre.

“That shows the impact of our submission, since there were a large number of these, and the fact that the committee have chosen to visit Leicester is a strong indication of our ever improving profile in the UK.

“I think it also highlights the strength of having both the excellent research base in the department and the public facility in the same city.” The University of Leicester houses Europe’s biggest academic space research group and its Department of Physics and Astronomy has been involved in space research for over four decades.

At the 30th January meeting, evidence will be heard from:

Ms Julie Bramman, Divisional Manager for School Curriculum, Department for Education and Skills;

Dr Robin Clegg, Head of Science and Society, Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC);

Paul Spencer, Evaluator and Consultant, Space Connections; and Professor Alan Wells, Emeritus Professor and Leverhulme Emeritus Fellow, University of Leicester, Non-Executive Director, National Space Centre The session will take place at 3.00pm in the Shuttle Suite, National Space Centre, Leicester.

Notes for those wishing to attend the meeting of the Committee Members of the public wishing to attend the evidence session should enter by the National Space Centre’s main entrance where there will be signage to the Shuttle Suite.

For further information please call Ana Ferreira, on 020 7219 2793. Previous press notices and publications are available on the Committee’s website at:

Notes to editors:

Membership of the Committee Mr Phil Willis, (Lib Dem, Harrogate and Knaresborough)(Chairman) Adam Afriyie, (Con, Windsor) Swindon) Mr Jim Devine, (Lab, Livingston) Mr Robert Flello, Lab, Stoke-on-Trent South) Dr Evan Harris, (Lib Dem, Oxford West & Abingdon) Dr Brian Iddon, (Lab, Bolton South East) Chris Mole, (Lab, Ipswich) Mr Brooks Newmark, (Con, Braintree) Bob Spink, (Con, Castle Point) Mr Graham Stringer, (Lab, Manchester, Blackley) Dr Desmond Turner, (Lab, Brighton Kemptown) For more information, please contact:

Professor Martin Barstow, Head of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester: 0116 252 3492

Malika Andress, Marketing Manager, National Space Centre, 0116 258 2103