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Media and ethics trailblazer shares her thoughts on Digital Catapult’s impact

Posted 28 Nov 2023

After a decade of digital innovation our board share their reflections and look to the future…

As we celebrate Digital Catapult’s ten year anniversary we sat down for an interview with media & ethics trailblazer and Non-Executive Director, Jessica Cecil, to discuss Digital Catapult’s impact.

As a non-executive board member of Digital Catapult, what are you the most proud of about the organisation?

It’s the mission that makes me so proud to have joined the Digital Catapult Board in the last year. We have fantastic deep tech in the UK and Digital Catapult is helping deep tech solutions and products find their way into the organisations that create opportunities and jobs at scale across the UK economy, as well as reaching markets abroad. I come from the creative industries, a sector where the UK is already a global leader. However, winning new audiences is very competitive and it’s the innovative use of digital technology by production companies big and small that will give us the edge. Digital Catapult is driving the UK’s key sectors like the creative industries into the future by supporting the adoption of digital technology solutions. 

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities in adopting advanced digital technologies right now?

Our biggest collective challenge is climate change. CEO, Jeremy Silver, has been clear that finding new routes to sustainability lie at the heart of Digital Catapult’s work. One example of that is the Digital Catapult led Made Smarter Sustainability Accelerator, bringing the power of AI to industry stakeholders to help them find practical ways of making a green transition.

If you could make one challenge to your peers in the deep tech ecosystem, what would it be?

Think harder about spreading opportunity across the UK – after all, the UK has the strongest technology and digital SME ecosystem in Europe. I have seen the close relationship between Digital Catapult and stakeholders in Bristol – particularly the University, where I am a Trustee. Digital Catapult is working in Gateshead to promote advanced media production, and in Belfast is working closely with an array of partners to accelerate the adoption of smart manufacturing technology across Northern Ireland. The web of great universities across the UK is one of our greatest national assets, and it means there are centres of innovation across the country. We must collaborate across regions and innovation centres to share knowledge and accelerate digital adoption to feel the benefits of such a vibrant technology ecosystem across the economy. 

How do you envision Digital Catapult in the next 5 – 10 years?

Digital Catapult is concentrating its efforts on the fundamentals of the tech-enabled economy of tomorrow – digital supply chains, interoperable digital infrastructure, and the opportunities of virtualisation. In five to ten years, I see Digital Catapult at the heart of new ecosystems around these market application areas. It will have a strong set of partnerships across the UK, and it will be a leading voice in the debate around how digital applications can help the green transition.

Jessica Cecil 800×800

Jessica Cecil

Non Executive Director