The United Kingdom is offering a £ 200,000 funding package for space exploration solutions across Africa through the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA). Five ventures to be chosen by the Department to help build spatial solutions to global problems will be sponsored. The University of Edinburgh has been identified as a recipient to help Malawian farmers build space solutions through land-use maps that display how their land is currently being used and help them prepare for large-scale farming.
Speaking on the creation, Amanda Solloway, Science Minister of Britain, 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 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 a 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.