By Claire West

The UK and Russia will share expertise, knowledge and innovation in space science, thanks to a joint statement being signed today by both countries in Moscow.

The UK-Russia Year of Space 2011 puts in place an agreement for enhanced collaboration in space science research. This will see University College London and the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems in Russia work together on a psychological study concerning crew behaviour in space.

Another experiment between Kingston University and the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos will look at how fluids behave in microgravity. Research will be carried out simultaneously onboard the International Space Station and in schools in the UK and Russia, giving young people the chance to get involved in the real scientific process.

In addition to this, a series of events will be held to highlight both countries’ world-class experience in this area. These include a series of ‘Space Science Cafes’ to bring together leading UK and Russian senior space scientists to share knowledge, and look at priority areas for future research.

Speaking from Moscow, Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said:

“The UK plays an important role in space science and research throughout the world. Only a few weeks ago cameras engineered by British scientists in the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory were used by NASA to take the first 360° view of the Sun.

“We need to continue to share this knowledge and expertise, and the UK Russia Year of Space 2011 is a fantastic opportunity to do just that. We already have a history of space research collaboration with Russia, and I hope this partnership will lead to more groundbreaking work for years to come.”

The joint statement was signed by the UK Space Agency and Roscosmos during Mr Willetts’ visit to Russia to promote greater cooperation on life sciences, physics, climate science, energy efficiency, nanotechnology and space science.