The UK Space Agency has awarded a £500k grant to three Scottish projects to use satellites and artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor environmental risks and help tackle climate change.
A total of 10 projects will use Earth observation tools, satellite tracking and demographic data, supported by AI, to produce forecasts and models used by farming, energy, finance and insurance sectors.
The projects are intended to “help governments and businesses to understand and mitigate risks” and funding of up to £55,000 for each project will begin next month.
They will also help identify opportunities for green financing that could support sustainable business growth.
Eolas Insight, in Glasgow, plans to help organisations understand the effects of global temperatures on watercourses, using automated mapping and reporting, as well as understanding the benefits of mitigation strategies, such as riverside woodland schemes.
Omanos Analytics, also in Glasgow, creates “Earth observation products”.
It hopes to “improve resilience planning and deliver social context data on the impact of climate change issues on different demographics through a service that integrates community narratives – based on data such as land use and traditional livelihoods”.
Sparkgeo UK, based in Edinburgh, will create an automated methane monitoring service to allow stakeholders the ability to monitor emissions of methane – one of the most potent greenhouse gases – across their areas and will also alert them when levels rise too much.
Science, innovation and technology minister George Freeman said: “The great challenges of our time need bold solutions and, from tackling water pollution to carbon emissions and biodiversity threats, the unique perspective that space provides can play a major role in securing the health of our planet and people.
“By backing UK innovators to make the most of modern technology including satellite data, AI, and Earth observation, we are also supporting businesses up and down our country to grow our economy while driving forward our ambition to make the UK a major player in space.”
Dr Paul Bate, chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “The UK has a long history of expertise and innovation in Earth observation, developing satellites to collect increasingly detailed data and using that information to build services that help protect our planet.
“This targeted funding for early-stage innovations is all about supporting fresh ideas and accelerating the rollout of powerful new tools that have the potential to bring benefits to a wide range of users both within and beyond the space sector.”
The total £530,000 funding represents the second tranche of investment by the UK Space Agency directly into climate services development.