The Centre will be the cornerstone of the Connected Digital Economy Catapult and the many new collaborations it convenes between business, universities and other digital stakeholders. The goal is to unlock four major challenges in the data value chain, helping small data innovators accelerate new ideas to market.
Located in Kings Cross, the heart of London's knowledge quarter, the Centre will provide entrepreneurs, SMEs, researchers and corporate organisations with a space to meet and collaborate on development projects. The focus is to address the following challenges faced by many data innovators: creating trust in the use of personal data, the Internet of Things - linking data innovators to next generation connectivity, building diverse data and content sets and the re-use of creative content - first reducing licensing friction. The Centre launch will be followed by a series of launch events and a first wave of regional hubs across the country.
"When trying to address major challenges, for example the Internet of Things in healthcare, businesses reach a point where they need help to cross some 'chasms' on the way to bringing their products or services to market," explained Neil Crockett, CEO, Connected Digital Economy Catapult. "It's at this point the Digital Catapult Centre will play a part. The UK is full of Universities and Clusters where people think of great ideas and are given support. We want to complement that. We'll bring people together in collaborative development projects to unlock four challenges in the data value chain in order to accelerate digital innovators to market."
The Digital Catapult Centre is designed to highlight the fusion between creative and technology, offering space for technologists, creatives, businesses and academia to showcase products, connect and collaborate. It includes state-of-the-art collaboration solutions, innovations labs, development spaces plus a Data Sphere and showcase for the UK's most exciting new data innovations. As well as a program of events and workshops, the Centre will run pit stops. These are intensive two-week sessions that bring together relevant multi-disciplinary expertise to help businesses accelerate the development their products or services.
By 2018, the Digital Catapult will have made a difference to 10,000 UK organisations, generating £365 million of linked economic value. In addition to working with small businesses, the Centre will see large businesses supporting and using the Centre to help UK-based innovators develop their ideas. The Centre has also committed to a secondment program to leading PHDs from several Centres of Doctoral Training and a student fellowship program organised in collaboration with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC).
"The Centre has been designed with creativity and technology at its heart. That doesn't mean a room with a pink slide - the fusion of creativity, technology and design is what will allow the UK to unlock the potential of digital. This space has features we know help people combine creativity and technology to think, learn and accelerate digital development," said Andy Green, Chairman of the Connected Digital Economy Catapult. "Once the London centre is open, we will launch regional hubs across the UK. Our Euston Road location is easily commutable by rail from the rest of the UK so it's a convenient central hub and is also in the heart of the fast growing 'Knowledge Quarter' and close to London's world class digital clusters".
"Technology has changed the world in which we live. The next stage is to accelerate the UK as a leader, unleashing the power of data and information into new insight and solutions that can both accelerate UK economic growth but also make the UK a better place to live," commented Warren East, Non-Executive Director, Connected Digital Economy Catapult and chair of the UK Electronic Systems Leadership Forum.
"Creative collaboration is at the heart of realising data's true potential and the Centre is an exciting new addition to the UK innovation landscape," added David Docherty, Non-Executive Director, Connected Digital Economy Catapult and CEO of the National Centre for Universities and Business. "It will not only provide home for digital innovators to connect but run a series of programs, secondments and events to actually make this collaboration a reality. This is an exciting time for the UK's digital industry and the Centre is now at the heart of it."
About Catapult Centres
Catapult centres are being established and overseen by Innovate UK as a new addition to its range of programmes to stimulate innovation. They are places where the best of the UK's innovative businesses and researchers work together to bring new products and services more quickly to commercialisation. Focusing on areas with great market potential, Catapults will open up global opportunities for the UK and generate economic growth for the future. For more information, please visit http://www.catapult.org.uk
About Innovate UK
Innovate UK is the new name for the Technology Strategy Board - the UK's innovation agency. Taking a new idea to market is a challenge. Innovate UK funds, supports and connects innovative businesses through a unique mix of people and programmes to accelerate sustainable economic growth. For further information visit http://www.innovateuk.org
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