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AIT in partnership with the European space agency

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AIT in partnership with the European space agencyAthlone Institute of Technology

AIT in partnership with the European space agency to create over 1000 jobs in Irish industry Establishment of a Space Business Incubator- Supporting 25 Irish Start-up companies in Space Related Technologies by 2020.

It was announced yesterday that Ireland's investment in the European Space Agency is expected to double employment in the space sector to over 1,000 high value technology jobs in Irish industry over the next four years. This comes after an agreement between The Tyndall National Institute in partnership with Athlone Institute of Technology, Maynooth University and ESA on the establishment of a Space Business Incubator in Ireland - supporting 25 Irish Start-up companies in space related technologies by 2020.

Professor Ciaran O Caithain, President of Athlone Institute of Technology when speaking on the announcement stated, "I am delighted that Athlone is a collaborator in this initiative. We view ourselves as a highly innovative institution with a strong focus on research and to be involved in the establishment of a Space Business Incubator which will support 25 start ups in this sector is very exciting for us. Ireland is on par with Madrid and Paris in terms of 1 million plus investment start-ups, even though we're only a fifth of the size of London, so this agreement is a great step forward in adding to that start up community."

The number of companies in the sector is expected to expand to over 80 by 2020, generating annual revenues growing from €76 million in 2015 to €135 million by 2020. This investment will also double employment with the creation of over 1,000 high value technology jobs in Irish industry by 2020. Companies involved with ESA are also projected to increase a combined turnover from €274 million to over half a billion by 2020.

John McKenna Vice President for Strategic Planning and Institutional Performance on news of the announcement stated, "I warmly welcome this significant development for both AIT, and our partners Tyndall National Institute and Maynooth University. This is a significant positive development in the Research and Innovation agenda of the Institute and will be of great benefit to start-up businesses involved in the Space sector."

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, this week welcomed the recently appointed Director General of the European Space Agency, Jan Woerner, to Ireland, she stated, "The European Space Agency plays a critical role in developing the Irish Space Industry particularly SME and High Potential Start-Up sectors. The Minister continued "Our investment in ESA will manifest itself through new companies entering the space sector, scaling of existing companies and the development of a strong cohort of high technology start-ups, leading to increased sales, exports and jobs. Investment in ESA space programmes, given the pace of expansion of the Global and European space economies, will put high-tech Irish companies and researchers in a position to exploit this potential to the maximum. "

Danny Gleeson, the Chairman of the Irish Space Industry Group stated, "The Irish Space Industry Group, based in the Midlands Innovation & Research Centre at the AIT, fully supports the initiative from ESA and Enterprise Ireland to establish the national space business incubation network led by consortium partners Tyndall, AIT, Maynooth and IMERC. It is essential for the future of the Irish space sector to have a dedicated incubation and support environment to develop new Irish space related start-ups in this exciting growth area of the national and global economies."

Speaking during his visit, Director General of the European Space Agency Mr Jan Woerner said, "Global space economy is undergoing rapid change as more countries enter the 21st century space race. Given the high level of technology innovation we have seen in Ireland, Irish space companies are ideally placed to gain a significant share of the global space market and are already expanding rapidly into it."

Ireland's investment in ESA has contributed to the development of a highly knowledge-intensive industry sector with a demonstrated direct effect on the participating companies' ability to generate commercial export sales in the commercial space and non-space market." He added that "ESA provides a platform to accelerate the significant exploitation of the Global and European space markets and the level of investment represents a fraction of the total economic benefits."

Following the signing of the agreement between ESA and the Tyndall National Institute as Host of the ESA Business Incubation Centre Kieran Drain Tyndall CEO said "We are very excited to lead the ESA Business Incubation Centre in partnership with Athlone Institute of Technology, National University of Ireland Maynooth, and Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster. The Centre funded by ESA and Enterprise Ireland will support entrepreneurs and start-ups working in space related technologies that can be applied in both terrestrial and space exploration contexts. The ESA Business Incubation Centre programme is well known for its success in developing innovative stat-ups, products and technologies."

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