Combining natural and social sciences to create a step-change in the identification and understanding of socioeconomic impacts of space
Space Exploration Analysis and Research (SPEAR) is a cross-Faculty research cluster that builds upon the OU’s expertise in space exploration and its impact upon economy and society.
The research activity includes a number of significant projects including the European Space Agency Exploration Roadmap in Socioeconomics (BEERS) and SpacePort Scotland projects.
SPEAR’s contribution to this interdisciplinary agenda is focused on the socio-economic analysis of space exploration programmes and missions, evaluating and measuring:
SPEAR has been enabled by interdisciplinary collaboration and co-operation between The Open University’s Space and Citizenship and Governance Strategic Research Areas (SRAs).
These two areas are the major drivers for the awarding of funding for the BEERS project, further building expert capacity, knowledge exchange and impact in this increasingly important interdisciplinary area.
The cluster encompasses an internal, external and international multi-disciplinary network that encompasses research and its application in the areas of:
The network draws upon colleagues from other UK HEIs and international universities, European and other space agencies, central and local government bodies, learned societies and partnership organisations that relate to the topics above.
This association is creating new research collaborations in the form of projects, funding bids and outputs in a range of publications and other media. SPEAR builds upon and develops these outcomes and impacts to make a significant inter-disciplinary contribution.
The Open University hosted Leslie Budd’s inaugural lecture on 10 May 2022, which explored the recent increase in public interest in space exploration and the future of using urban and regional economics for assessing its impact.
How can economists go about quantifying the wider benefits of space programmes like Gaia? Professor Leslie Budd is interviewed by Michael Perryman in this audiocast.