Inspiring the next generation - Education and outreach in the space sector 


Space is not only valuable for the development of new technology and exploring new markets, but it also plays a critical role in inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers, artists, coders and more. In this engaging panel session, we will discuss the effect Apollo had on inspiring today's scientists and engineers and we will take a look at what in space is inspiring people today; from SPIN to Tim Peake, from space-based STEM outreach in schools and community groups to the influence of social media. We will also investigate how YOU can get involved in space outreach and why there doesn’t have to be "skills gap” in the space sector.


Democratisation In Space – Your Place In Space


Space is becoming an increasing part of our daily lives, creating opportunities beyond the traditional use cases. Advances in technology are driving down the cost and ease of access to space. A wide range of free, open and easily-accessible data is also enabling a wide range of applications here on Earth. We are witnessing a movement towards a “new space” area enabling new actors, from students to small start-ups to engage with the industry from a variety of sectors. In this interactive panel, we will look at how you can engage with space and discuss the changing roles played by, regional, national and European government and organisations. We will look at how they are supporting the uptake of space data and technology form a variety of business applications.

Kathie Bowden - National Point of Contact for Skills and Careers, UK Space Agency

John Chinner - Faculty Leader, Airbus Defence and Space Engineering Academy

Kathie leads on Skills and Careers Development for the UK Space Agency. She is a geologist (UCL) with a postgraduate diploma from the University of Northern Arizona where she specialised in remote sensing applications, and has over 30 years’ experience of the application of space data in industry. Additionally she managed a team that delivered 4 major public understanding of science projects (Windows on – the World, the UK, the Universe and Life) whilst consulting more broadly across industry sectors. Kathie now concentrates on skills issues across the space sector and is closely involved with Space Growth Partnership activities.

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John Chinner has a great passion to stimulate, educate and inspire as many young people into STEM careers as possible. Being a self-confessed space geek really helps with this. He currently works for Airbus Defence and Space Engineering Academy as the Faculty Leader for Electronics, Electrics, Electromagnetics, Optics and Optronics. 


His passion for STEM outreach started when he Joined Airbus in 2010. This really took off when Tim Peake’s selection as an ESA astronaut came around where he supported the outreach side of the Principa mission. He was also part of the Astro Pi team, where he conducted the shock, vibration and EMC tests on the two payloads at Airbus in Portsmouth before they were sent to space.


He is currently focusing his outreach activities on the ExoMars rover launch in 2020. This has resulted in him building the functional model Yuri 3 rover. He will often get the students to drive the rover remotely form another room, simulating the excitement of the search for life on Mars. It’s this stimulation and interaction that he believes makes a real difference.


Andrew McMurray - Lead Educator, National Space Centre

With over 25 years of classroom science teaching at secondary level, Andy is currently a Lead Educator for the National Space Academy which is a UK-wide organisation that uses space contexts to engage secondary students and their teachers. His work has been demonstrated on the ISS by ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. Andy also supported the UK Space Agency by creating educational resources for astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia mission: on-station demonstrations illustrating fundamental principles of physics and chemistry. Andy also worked as part of the team working on a UK project to bring the science of NASA InSight into the classroom.

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John Holt - Research Engineer, University of Leicester

John Holt is a research engineer at the University of Leicester with almost 25 years’ experience in the space industry. In addition to his main work, he runs countless outreach and educational activates which enables him to share his passion for space. He regularly engages with schools to both share the work of the University as well as to run space-related educational activities in the region. One of his notable outreach activates was at the festival of the moon where he got thousands of people to weigh themselves on the moon.


Dimitra Stefoudi - Research and Teaching Staff, International Institute of Air and Space Law, Leiden University

Dimitra works for the International Institute of Air & Space Law of Leiden University and The Hague International Space Resources Governance Working Group. She holds Masters in Air & Space Law, International Business Law and a Bachelor in Law. She has attended the ISU Space Studies Program and has participated in several other academic programmes. She has presented her research in international conferences and speaks frequently about space law in public events. She is currently writing her PhD on the “Legal and Policy Aspects of Space Big Data”, with the support of the Netherlands Space Office and the European Space Agency.

Anushka Sharma - Founder, Naaut

Nush founded Naaut which provides a 360 approach to innovation strategy to space agencies, startups, academia, AI accelerators, primes and tech companies. As well as Naaut, Nush co-founded the London Space Network (LSN) this year, London Space Network organises monthly networking events across London to build and strengthen the UK space community. Recognised as one of the Top 100 most influential BAME tech leaders in the UK. - Financial Times. Nush has been active in the tech ecosystem across the UK, Europe, and the USA. Nush has championed diversity across the global space and tech ecosystem. She was appointed POC tech community ambassador for Google for Startup Campus and has been a key figure across the ecosystem connecting people to networks. She champions diversity of perspectives to drive and foster collaboration to drive innovation as we take our steps to go back to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Nush is and Advisory Board member of YSYS -Your Startup, Your Story is a startup community for founders, developers, creatives, investors and more on a mission to make a difference. @nushkino @naaut_

Elia Montanari - Head of Mgt and Control, ESA

Kavitha Muthu - ESA Business Applications UK Ambassador Network, Regional Ambassador [Midlands & North East England]


Elia Montanari has been Head of Management and Marketing in the ESA Business Applications since 2013. Truly faithful to his erratic suite of interests, he holds a master degree in Chemical Engineer from the University of Bologna (IT), achieved a master in Business Administration at the Henley Business School (UK) and he is a certified Internal Auditor (IIA, US) with similarly erratic experiences across numerous roles around the globe for Procter & Gamble and the European Space Agency.


Kavitha has more than a decade of experience within the Space sector, from conceptualisation to delivery of innovative applications using space technologies and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). She has a strong academic background, with PhD in Earth Observation (EO) and Machine Learning techniques applications for Landslide Hazard Mapping from University of Surrey. In her role as Regional Ambassador, she provides support to individuals, companies and organisations based in Midlands and North East England to access the European Space Agency (ESA) Business Applications funding programme and stimulating space related business development.