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Revolutionary £37.6m UK Digital Twin Centre announced for Belfast

Posted 1 May 2024

(Belfast, UK, 1st May 2024): Today, Belfast Region City Deal and Innovate UK have announced a £37.6m investment in the UK Digital Twin Centre, a centre of excellence that will revolutionise how industries develop products, services and systems across the UK. Led by Digital Catapult, the Centre has been endorsed by UK industry, launching with co-investment from three major industry partners: Thales UK, Spirit AeroSystems and Artemis Technologies. 

Enabled by a core investment from Innovate UK into this new world-class Centre and the associated programmes, the partners will deliver an initial six use cases to demonstrate the potential of digital twins in transforming the maritime, aerospace and defence sectors. In a step-change from traditional research and innovation centres, the UK Digital Twin Centre aims to accelerate industry’s adoption of digital twins through providing access to cutting edge technologies, reducing the costs of producing a digital twin and developing skills in the workforce – therefore removing key barriers businesses face. The Centre will also provide a collaborative space for industry, academia and the public sector to foster cross-sector innovation.

Increasingly being adopted across global industry, digital twins are virtual models of a physical object or system which can be informed by streamed data from a real-world version or environment. The digital twin can provide unique capabilities including rapid proto-typing and real-world control mechanisms, enabling businesses to make smarter decisions, achieve better outcomes, shortening time to market, reducing costs and lowering emissions.

The £15m of funding from the Belfast Region City Deal will help support core research and the building of skills and capability. This investment will support the region’s ambition to build innovation and digital capability, increase productivity, support reaching net zero targets and create more and better jobs. The Centre has committed to contributing 230 new jobs in the manufacturing sector across the UK, and to generate £61m for the local economy in Northern Ireland by 2033.

To enable digital twins to be more accessible, better understood, more easily developed, and more meaningfully applied, the UK Digital Twin Centre will run a series of programmes for all levels of industry – from SMEs to large enterprises – to drive innovation and realise new value.

The UK Digital Twin Centre will open later this year in Belfast. Businesses can find out more information on the Centre here