First held in 1971, the annual Canada-UK colloquium brings together parliamentarians, public officials, company executives and academics to discuss government policy priorities relating to an important issue or topic.
This year, the topic for discussion was the obstacles and opportunities in space. Glasgow, and in particular the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow who both have strong space activity, was selected by the colloquium to host the prestigious event from 20-21st November.
Ahead of the symposium discussions, a briefing day was held which included visits to Cubesat companies Clyde Space and Spire, and briefings by the contender sites to be the UK spaceport.
The importance of space to our economy and to our daily lives was recognised in the opening address by Fiona Hyslop, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs in the Scottish Government.
“Upstream benefits from space include the manufacture of satellites and their associated technologies, and downstream – the public and private sectors can capitalize on the rich data they provide to inform, among others, health, agriculture, security and coastal monitoring.”
Under the chairmanship of Lord Willetts, former UK minister responsible for space, three plenary sessions were held to discuss issues relating to The Politics of Space, The Commercial Potential for Space and Surveillance and Security. This was followed by breakout groups which addressed Space Weather, Space Debris, Global Monitoring of Hazards and the Environment and The Contentium for Spectrum.
The Rapporteur for the event, Professor Alan Smith from University College London, chaired the closing summary session. In his concluding remarks, Professor Smith paid tribute to the burgeoning space activity in Scotland, saying “Scotland has embraced space. Space feels at home in Scotland.” The conclusions from the meeting will be compiled in a report which to be published and presented at meetings to the respective parliaments in the new year.