Dr Kathryn Hadler, FNR PEARL Chair, nominated as Director of ESRIC as of 1st April 2022

Dr Kathryn Hadler
©Imperial College London

Dr Kathryn Hadler, an internationally renowned scientist in mineral processing and beneficiation, has been appointed Director of the European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) as of 1 April 2022.  Backed by a PEARL Chair from the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) with an endowment of 3.7 M€ over five years, Kathryn Hadler will join ESRIC to lead the further development of the Centre, advancing scientific discovery and technology development in In situ Resources Utilisation (ISRU) and asserting ESRIC and Luxembourg’s position in space resources. The PEARL programme, funded by the FNR, provides competitive funding to attract top researchers in strategic research areas for Luxembourg.

The Centre, which has grown to a core team of a dozen persons, has made fast progress over the past 15 months in cooperation with its partners. 2021 saw the launch of the world’s first start up programme dedicated to space resources, the build-up of the first labs and the start of the centre’s first research projects, as well as the organization of the Space Resources week 2021 – a major international event in the field of space resources. ESRIC also initiated important partnerships with industrial partners such as Airbus and Air Liquide, and launched a space resources prospecting challenge together with ESA.

Dr Hadler’s nomination will build ESRIC’s expertise in mineral processing and beneficiation and allow the creation of an internationally recognised research group that will advance scientific discovery and technology development in In-situ Resources Utilisation (ISRU). 

The 3.7 MEUR FNR PEARL funding complements resources from ESRIC and will serve to build up a world-leading research team working on a programme dedicated to “Solutions for the Sustainable and Responsible use of Space Resources (SolSR)”. The strategic objectives of the SolSR programme include developing technologies that provide solutions to the technical challenges presented by ISRU, producing technologies, tools and roadmaps that demonstrate sustainable and responsible approaches to resource use in space, and creating tangible opportunities for collaboration with space and terrestrial industries, including mining and recycling.  With these additional researchers, ESRIC is planned to grow to more than 30 researchers within the next 2 years.

While Dr Kathryn Hadler will be entrusted with the mission of further building up ESRIC, Dr Mathias Link will remain involved in the Centre’s activities as Chair of the ESRIC steering committee.

“Luxembourg has been a frontrunner in launching the SpaceResources.lu initiative a few years ago. It is now acknowledged as a strategic topic for the future of space exploration by key partners such as ESA, with which we were able to create the ESRIC. Luxembourg was again at the forefront, with the launch of the ESRIC Start up Support Programme (SSP), the first programme worldwide dedicated to commercial initiatives in the field of space resources utilization (SRU). The nomination of Dr Hadler will allow to further advance SRU research and continue positioning Luxembourg as a trailblazer in the field, while putting sustainability at its core.” says Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy. 


More information in the press release in English.

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