New space and innovation policy: Scotland's emerging “Space Glen”

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The global Space Industry's transition to New Space—that is, smaller and cheaper hardware and more easily accessible space data—is expanding space-related economic activity into new, peripheral geographical areas. This paradigm shift has been particularly successful in establishing a budding ecosystem of small-to-medium-sized enterprises in Scotland, which is sometimes referred to as the “Space Glen.” These developments are linked to the U.K. and Scottish policymakers addressing the growth of the Space Sector within the innovation policy, rather than a separate Space policy/program. In this review article, I argue that the resulting small-scale and dispersed investment in R&D and business development put forward by the various governmental actors led to the creation of dispersed and divergent clusters of firms, strongly linked to research expertise at local universities, as well as other sectors with more mature markets, such as oil and gas and forestry. Recently, these have been joined together in a common regional sectoral identity, through industry-led grouping initiatives, mainly through promotion at events. Deploying mixed-method data collection and document analysis, this scoping study examines the interplay between innovation policy and emerging sectoral structures in the space sector and poses further questions for a more detailed understanding of the “Space Glen” phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-51
Number of pages20
JournalNew Space
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2020


  • new space
  • innovation policy
  • SMEs
  • industrial clustering


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