Reza Emami and Javier Martin-Torres inaugurated the RIT-project.

New Professors Inaugurated Big Space Initative

Luleå University will invest over 100 million SEK in its space activities over the next five years. The opening week on the Space Campus in Kiruna saw new chaired professors Reza Emami and Javier Martín Torres outlining their research strategy.

– My first expectation is to turn this 100 million SEK initiative sustainable. We have to secure funding and by year three we will hopefully have found regular funding for our projects. International collaboration is also very important for us, we are aiming to establish a regular and constant connection with international researchers through long-term projects. Space projects due to costs and complexity has to be international in scope and these collaborations could in the end turn into new research centers, education programmes and companies, said Reza Emami, Chaired Professor in Onboard space systems.

The recruitment of two top international researchers, a new research subject in Onboard Space Systems, the recruitment of 20 new PhD students and the EU funded RIT-project has made the Space Campus in Kiruna rife with activities.

– In terms of educational aspects our aim is to create joint research and educational programmes with other universitities, particularly Ivory schools in the US and Canada, Europe and some universities in Asia. My fourth expectation is that this initiative will help the region and country to grow and by that I mean financial growth and economical growth. By involving more companies into the research cycle and help them to develop products and services we can achieve this task. One of the reasons as to why I accepted this job is that I see that Kiruna has potential to becoming a leading space port in Europe, said Professor Reza Emami.

A first step says Reza Emami is the creation of a laboratory for the development and production of smaller satellites, so called nano satellites, and that together with the IRF, who creates the instruments, the university can lay the foundation for smaller satellite launches in Kiruna.

– The university’s education and research in space technology and science is a strategically important area. We now have all the prerequisites to become Sweden’s space university with this venture, says Jonas Ekman, Chair of the Department of Electrical and Space Engineering.

The inauguration days gathered around fifty space scientists, regional and national space actors, PhD students and students around inspirational lectures, workshops, discussions in order to gather strength for the coming work.

With a focus on innovation and industry cooperation

The RIT project, which is part of the initiative, focuses on industrial collaborations and business development where twelve regional and national co-financiers are included. The industry itself has expressed the need for the project. Luleå University of Technology brings the hiring of eight innovation PhD students for research and development in collaboration with the space industry. On the Space Campus in Kiruna a new center of excellence will be established

– This project gives us the opportunity to strengthen and develop cooperation between academia, the space industry and the actors working with the innovation support. It will in time lead to a number of new development projects, products and services that contribute to regional growth, said Johanna Bergström-Roos, project manager and business developer at LTU Business AB.