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Lockheed Martin and Northumbria Uni pledge £630,000 for North East tech training

Robert Lightfoot, executive VP at Lockheed Martin Space with Professor John Woodward, faculty pro vice-chancellor for engineering and environment, Northumbria University

Global aerospace and security company, Lockheed Martin, has announced a collaboration with Northumbria University that includes an initial investment of up to £630,000 to support the development of skills, research and technology across the region.

Lockheed Martin continues to build plans to expand its manufacturing space operations in the UK and is exploring options to establish a new research, development and satellite manufacturing facility which would support up to 2300 jobs for the North East, while space and solar physics research is a particular area of excellence at Northumbria University.

Lockheed’s investment forms part of a wider £7m investment into engineering facilities for research and teaching at Northumbria, funded by the Office for Students, the UK Space Agency and the university itself.

This investment will help to put Northumbria University, the city of Newcastle and the wider North East in a strong position to be a leader in the global space economy, supporting new research, developing innovative technologies for export, and generating skills for a high growth sector.

Lockheed Martin is initially set to invest in two strategic projects including finding new ways to transmit power to enable wireless charging of satellites, and for new forms of inter-satellite communications. It will also sponsor two PhDs in solar physics.

Paul Livingston, chief executive of Lockheed Martin UK, said, “I am delighted to announce our initial collaboration with Northumbria University, which demonstrates Lockheed Martin’s commitment to investing in a long-term space industrial base in the UK. Our plans will grow the UK as a space nation, help it become a science and technology superpower, and contribute to levelling up the economy.”

The collaboration between Lockheed Martin and Northumbria University follows a successful Space Skills and Suppliers Summit, which was held in Newcastle in March, in partnership with Invest North East England. The summit brought together potential new partners from industry and academia keen to work on initiatives linked with growing the UK space sector.

With a global workforce of around 115,000 people and a 2021 operating income of over $9bn, Lockheed Martin is also a strategic partner to the UK government, and is working with the UK Space Agency to conduct Northern Europe’s first vertical satellite launch from the recently-approved SaxaVord Spaceport in the Shetlands, creating a wealth of jobs and injecting millions into the UK economy.

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