The UK is set to increase its €355m (£305m) annual subscription by “more than 15% ”| Weekly focus #UKmfg

UK set for ‘active’ role at European space meeting

It now looks highly likely that the UK will increase its subscription to the European Space Agency. For the past week the long-promised uplift in the country’s membership fee had appeared extremely doubtful. Such a reversal would have threatened leadership roles in a number of space missions and denied British industry some lucrative R&D contracts. But the UK government indicated to Esa late on Tuesday that it was ready to move forward with negotiations.

A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) said: “The UK has a world-leading space industry. As a founding member and one of the main contributors to the European Space Agency, we have sent a UK delegation to the ministerial conference to participate actively in discussions.” It hasn’t been confirmed officially, but the BBC understands the UK is set to increase its €355m (£305m) annual subscription by “more than 15%”.

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Survey finds more North Sea firms looking to diversify

A growing number of North Sea oil and gas operators are looking to diversify into “less traditional activities” such as decommissioning and renewables, according to a survey. A total of 86% of firms expressed “some likelihood” of doing decommissioning work in the medium term. The survey also showed the highest proportion of contractors since 2016 expecting renewables work soon. However, firms cited profitability and skills as barriers to diversification. A quarter claimed recruitment challenges were the result of difficulty recruiting for non-traditional roles.

New report shows growth in cell and gene therapy sector

A new report from the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) has demonstrated the rise of employment in the sector, showing that the industry currently supports over 3,000 jobs, with 1,700 roles in manufacturing and bioprocessing.

Further, the report shows that the UK is set to more than double its cell and gene employment by 2024, as more therapies are moving towards commercialisation. This means that in the last seven years, the industry has expanded from 500 jobs in 2012 to over 3,000, and is predicted to reach over 6,000 jobs by 2024.


Hydraulic excavator manufacturer Komatsu UK has seen a surge in turnover, as well as a rise in pre-tax profits, according to new results. County Durham-based Komatsu UK is the UK arm of Japanese-headquartered Komatsu, which manufactures medium-size and large crawler excavators. The subsidiary was established in 1985 and currently employs around 400 people. Bifab among NnG wind farm contract beneficiaries Scottish companies have won key contracts to build a major wind farm off the coast of Fife. The 54 turbines for the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) site are being assembled at Port of Dundee, while engineering firm BiFab will build eight of the foundation jackets at its Methil yard. The announcement comes amid concern about Scots companies losing out on contracts to foreign competitors.

NnG is one of Scotland’s biggest renewable energy projects. It is due to be completed in 2023 and will provide power for 375,000 homes, with offshore construction to start in June 2020.

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