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Digital Catapult and University of Bristol launch South West innovation partnership

Posted 11 May 2021

A new partnership between Digital Catapult and the University of Bristol promises to cement the city’s status as one of the most innovative places in the UK.

The new Digital Catapult South West partnership will build on multiple ongoing projects between Digital Catapult and the University of Bristol, providing a boost to national capability and strengthening innovation in Bristol and the wider region.

The collaboration between Digital Catapult and the University of Bristol is rooted in building globally significant capabilities in the manufacturing and creative industries, through multimillion, industry-defining projects that are based in and around Bristol including MyWorld, a pioneering programme to develop a ‘creative media powerhouse’ in the region, and the Bristol Digital Futures Institute (BDFI), a unique international research institute established to explore the social implications of technology adoptions. Both are funded by UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) with significant matched investment from industry and civic organisations. The collaboration with Digital Catapult also builds upon the established relationship between the University and the National Composite Centre, part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, to deliver Digital Engineering Technology Innovation (“DETI”), a two-year R&D project accelerating digital engineering skills.

Digital Catapult South West will help to scale industrial activities through a combination of advanced engineering, digital expertise and leveraging the University’s research base in areas such as data science, digital infrastructure, creative and sustainability technologies. Outcomes will include increasing the speed of translational innovation, connecting industry players with start-ups to solve real-world challenges, and further establishing the South West as a world leading centre of new and innovative methods of translational research.

Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO of Digital Catapult, said: “We’re excited by this opportunity to work together and how it will help find new ways to translate academic R&D excellence into practical industrial adoption. The recent BEIS Catapult Review highlighted the need for the Catapult Network to work more closely with the UK’s world-leading universities, we’re looking forward to developing this partnership with Bristol in innovative and productive new ways.”

University of Bristol’s Vice-Chancellor & President, Professor Hugh Brady, said: “We are very pleased to partner with Digital Catapult to establish a base in Bristol to collaborate on supporting both traditional industries and high growth companies in the South West. Our intention is that this partnership links Bristol to the rest of the world through opportunities to scale its businesses, and for global companies to see what Bristol can offer them.”

David Sweeney, CEO of Research England, said: “Research England welcomes this deepening of the partnership between the University of Bristol and the Digital Catapult to unlock the potential for translational research. It is great to see universities and Catapult centres developing new ways of engaging by exploring common objectives and possible new collaborative ventures”.

Digital Catapult South West’s steering committee is made up of

  • Professor Juergen Maier – Chair of Digital Catapult
  • Dr Jeremy Silver – CEO of Digital Catapult and Chair of the Catapult Network
  • Jack Boyer – Chair of Bristol University
  • Professor Hugh Brady – President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol
  • Professor Phil Taylor, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise, at the University of Bristol