Oxford Smart Space Series

The skies and the stars have fascinated humankind for millennia, captured in the telling 20th century idea of ‘The Endless Frontier’. In recent decades, dramatic shifts in the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of space exploration along with the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ are evidence of the rise of space commerce and entrepreneurial activity around the globe. This current commercial and entrepreneurial focus has changed both the actors and their aspirations for space, as well as the rules of the game.

Worth an estimated GBP £1 trillion in the coming decades, the global space industry offers wide open challenges and opportunities for investment, innovation, and entrepreneurial activity – this while mobilising cutting-edge technologies to solve intractable problems on earth. These experiments in distributed innovation, partnerships, commons governance and sharing of risks and tech expertise will only intensify in the coming years. This series of events explores these developments with a suite of panels that convene experts in science, commerce, and policy to share their insights and questions.

The Oxford Smart Space series will provide first-hand insights into the opportunities and challenges of the global space industry. It is co-hosted by the Oxford Space Initiative, along with Pembroke College and the OxfordAeronautical Society (AerOx).The talks are part of efforts at Saïd Business School to build a social science initiative as part of the university-wide Oxford Space Research Network (OSRN). The initiative unites researchers and practitioners from economic sociology, technology and innovation management, governance and law, international relations, major program management, strategy and leadership. To engage with the social sciences space activities, please contact us atsmartspace@sbs.ox.ac.uk

Season 2

Future of space tech: supply chains, SMEs and SDGs

Director of the UK's National Space Academy programme Professor Anu Ojha OBE and Sam Adlen the CSO of Satellite Applications Catapult, Vanessa Clark the CEO of Atomos Space together with host Arnab Dutt OBE, SME Panel Member at the UK Cabinet Office discussed how space technologies are helping address various challenges that beset complex supply chains and small and medium-sized enterprises.

How social sciences can (and must) put humans back into space commerce and governance

Cyber-defence expert Guy-Philippe Goldstein and science-fiction author Karl Schroeder, together with host Laura Anne Edwards, innovation catalyst, discussed the important role of imagination in exploring future scenarios and moderating what Edwards described as today’s ‘nationalistic and military tone’ in space ‘posturing’ and investment.


Our team of hosts brings access to cutting-edge research, a wealth of industry experience and the ability to discuss complex concepts and lead high-level executive debate.

Season 1

Smart space technologies and governance

Smart space technologies and governance

We explore the idea of Smart Space, a term that points to three important developments in the emerging space sector in Europe and the UK.

Space identity, skilled work, and the professions

Space is a place, and its character is changing. From an alien domain where few ventured to undertake risky missions of exploration, it is currently undergoing a transformation into an accessible, viable location for commercial infrastructure focussed on boosting terrestrial economic activity.

Business process innovation among space ventures

In this episode, starting from examples of novel funding solutions observed in defence, security, intelligence, and related industries, we explore the distinctive conditions of space and alternative venture funding models that are unlikely in more standard commercial settings.

Entrepreneurship opportunities and jobs in the space industry

Find outwhat are the most relevant innovation opportunitiesandhow entrepreneurs can further explore these opportunities and identify new business models to create a positive impact.

Diversity of thought: inclusion, innovation, and space

Join us for a conversation about the work that is happening and the work that needs to be done to attract a more representative set of people to invent solutions to space challenges and imagine new worlds that are more just.

Space venturing, lessons learned, and differences with other sectors

In this panel, we explore the relation between specificities of the space sector (eg intense technical infrastructural requirements, and immense expense with less evident opportunities and governance concerns) and traditional models of finance and growth.


Michele Scataglini, Saïd Business School, Associate Fellow

David Lehmann, Saïd Business School, Research Assistant

Contact the team