Robert Hill
TP - Roadmaps and Strategies for Space Sector National Capacity Building

Robert Hill is the Director of the Northern Ireland Space Office and chair of the Northern Ireland Space Special Interest Group (NISSIG) hosted by the UK Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space trade membership group ADS. He has spearheaded the campaign to bring space sector opportunities to the region and recently authored and coordinated the development of the Northern Ireland Space Strategy, launched by First Minister Arlene Foster MLA and Economy Minister Simon Hamilton in October 2016.

Robert is the Space Industry Advisor to InvestNI. This role is to assist InvestNI in advancing sectoral knowledge and development of opportunities for NI research and industry to become involved in upstream and downstream space sector activities. To this end, Robert has helped to successfully create new programs of space activity in the region including negotiations with Thales Alenia Space to set up the new Electric Propulsion Space Integration Test Centre in Belfast and initial proposal to bring Thruster testing and development to Northern Ireland with Aerojet Rocketdyne in the USA. He has assisted several regional SME’s to develop space capabilities including Sixty 5 (Agritech) and InphoActive (Security and Resilience) and coordinated several thematic workshops including the recent ‘Producers and Growers Space Data workshop’ and ‘Digital Society’ events in Belfast. Further, he has acted as regional lead on behalf of the UK Space Agency to develop the Space for Smarter Government Program (SSGP) in the region. This has led to several collaborations to develop space applications for government, including an initial project for first responders and security services. In 2017 he has taken on an advisory role with First Derivates Plc to help develop their space sector portfolio.

Robert is well recognised within the UK space sector and has acted as the UK Space Agency regional coordinator for the UK Space Innovation and Growth Strategy (SpaceIGS) and Satellite Applications Catapult Regional Advisor. He currently holds the position with both the Agency and Catapult as a UK Knowledge Exchange Fellow.

Robert is a member of many European and Global wide working groups and panels including chair and author of the European funded Astronet Panel E elements ‘Relationships with Industry’, ‘Planetaria and Museums’ and ‘Education, Outreach and Recruitment’. He was part of the team evaluating the European Southern Observatory public outreach and educational material. He was a member of the International Astronomical Union Executive Committee Working Group for International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA09) with responsibility for global sponsorship strategy and co-manager of the Irish Secretariat for IYA09. He is a member of the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) Space Team and has travelled to Tanzania and Nigeria to assist with space infrastructure development. In 2011, Robert had the honour to lead the UNESCO Space Skills team to Bangladesh and participated in several missions to Africa including Nigeria, Tanzania and Zanzibar.

Until 2009, Robert was the Business Manager for Armagh Planetarium and was instrumental in obtaining the £3.5M investment and funding required re-developing the facility as a world recognised centre of science education excellence. He is co-author of the Space Science Technology Level 2 qualification in Northern Ireland and Assistant Principal Moderator for the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment. He has assisted in the creation of thematic units with regional industry, government and the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment to align the latest astronomy and space related resources to accredited and integrated education to provide a relevant future skills base in the province that has capability to grow the space information and engineering sector.

Robert has recently been nominated to serve a further 3 year term on the EURISY Council in Paris. The role of Council will be to establish clearer guidance and best practice in the utilisation of satellites and space related data for the benefits of European society and economic growth.