The United Kingdom, through the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA), is providing a £200,000 funding package for space research solutions across Africa. The funding is for five projects that will be selected by the agency to help create space solutions on global challenges. The University of Edinburgh has been listed as a beneficiary to help develop space solutions for Malawian farmers through land-use maps that show how their land is currently being used and help them plan for large-scale agriculture.
Speaking on the development, Amanda Solloway, Britain’s Science Minister, mentioned that “the UK’s space sector is flourishing and it is vital we give our most innovative space businesses and universities the right support to collaborate, share best practices and drive forward new ideas that could help enrich all our lives”.
“Today’s funding will provide lift-off to some of the country’s most ambitious space collaborations, including Edinburgh’s own Trade in Space, which will develop a unique land classification map to help grow more crops,” she adds.
The UKSA has in the past supported similar projects across Africa, providing a forest management funding in Ghana and a deforestation effort in Ghana and Ivory Coast. The new research will see the National Space Research and Innovation Network for Technology (SPRINT) work with scientists from the University of Edinburgh to develop space solutions.
Trade in Space leader, Robin Sampson, added that “SPRINT and the UK Space Agency have given us a fantastic opportunity to create the tools to achieve real positive impact on sustainable agricultural productivity in Malawi. We’re also excited to have the opportunity to continue to work with strategic partners Geospace Agricultural and the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh.” The Trade in Space, University of Edinburgh and SPRINT partnership is projected to support 5,000 Malawian farmers over the project’s cause.