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Space Café Australia by Annie Handmer Recap: Briony Sturgess on Space and Government

Briony Sturgess, Photo courtesy of her

In the latest episode of Space Café Australia by Annie Handmer, she catches up with Briony Sturgess, Associate Director, Space Investment Partnerships at Investment NSW, for a conversation on the two things that are important for us: Space and Government.

New South-Wales (NSW), the largest state in Australia, is currently the location of more than a third of Australia’s space start-ups. The NSW state government has a small Space Investment Partnerships team which works to promote and grow the local space economy, linking space companies to grants and running a range of programs aimed to help start-ups navigate the industry.

In this episode, we speak to Briony Sturgess, who heads up this space team, about the role that government plays in the space sector at a state level, and how that links in with national efforts to bring Australia along on the journey of New Space. Briony gives an overview of the programs her team operates, including the National Space Industry Hub, a space qualification mission (Australia’s first rideshare satellite), the Space Research Network and the NSW Node of the SmartSat CRC.

During our discussion, Briony also provides a candid look inside complicated governmental processes, and explains that the reason they seem to take so much time is that government is ultimately accountable for every dollar of expenditure to the people it serves, which means that projects have to go through rigorous and unbiased processes. She provides practical advice for people in the space industry seeking government support: be very specific about what it is that you need, and be ready to explain how you are providing tangible value to the people of NSW.

Finally, we share our experiences of what it’s like to be ‘outsiders’ in the space sector: women who didn’t grow up dreaming of rockets or stars, but who have come to space later in life with a fascination for its people, projects, and systems, and who have developed a passion for advancing the industry. What is it about space that people find so inspiring?

Click here for more information on NSW Government’s space activities, and for an industry perspective on Australia’s space sector, be sure to check out our previous episode of Space Café Australia, featuring Moonshot’s Troy McCann. Briony Sturgess is the Associate Director for Space Investment Partnerships in Investment NSW. She has been working with the NSW Government to support the space sector since 2018, during which time she developed and is now implementing the NSW Space Industry Development Strategy. As part of the strategy, her team has launched the National Space Industry Hub, a space qualification mission (Australia’s first rideshare satellite), the Space Research Network and the NSW Node of the SmartSat CRC. Prior to joining NSW Government, Briony was an adviser to the Commonwealth Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science. She was closely involved in the review into the Australian space industry and the establishment of the Australian Space Agency.

All this and more from Space Café Australia.

This Space Café Australia was held on 10th March 2022.

SpaceWatch.Global is a Switzerland-based digital magazine and portal for those interested in space and the far-reaching impact of the space sector.
To listen to Briony Sturgess’s insights, you can watch the full program here:

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