• De-risking uptake of Digital Technologies
    Dario Gill

News & Views

De-risking uptake of Digital Technologies

Jun 29 2021

The UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and global computing company IBM have launched a £210 million five-year programme, to provide industry and research access to AI and quantum computing. The new Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation (HNCDI) is being supported by Government investment through UKRI of £172 million over five years, along with a £38 million in-kind contribution from IBM.

Science Minister, Amanda Solloway, said: “Artificial intelligence and quantum computing have the potential to revolutionise everything from the way we travel to the way we shop. They are exactly the kind of fields I want the UK to be leading in and this new centre in the North West is a big step towards that.

“Thanks to this fantastic new partnership with IBM, British businesses will have access to the kind of infrastructure and expertise that will help them boost innovation and grow the economy – essential as we build back better from the pandemic.”

Professor Mark Thomson, Executive Chair of STFC, said: “The HNCDI programme will foster discovery and provide a stimulus for industry innovation in the UK. By allowing industry to access a ready-made community of digital experts and cutting-edge technology, it will provide momentum for new ideas and solutions. This programme has the potential to transform the way UK industry engages with AI and digital technologies, to the benefit of not just research communities but all of society.”
The centre, based at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory in the Liverpool City Region and will create vacancies for an additional 60 scientists, plus further interns and students gaining hands-on experience. £28 million of Government investment has already been agreed for the first year, with work underway to get it up and running as soon as possible.

The centre will work across sectors including materials, life sciences, environment and manufacturing.  This will include collaboration with academic and industrial research communities, including start-ups and SMEs, public sector, and government.

Dario Gil, Senior Vice President and Director, IBM Research, said: “The world is facing grand challenges which demand a different approach towards science in computing, including AI and quantum computing, to engage a broad community across industry, government and academia to accelerate discovery in science and business.

“This partnership establishes our first Discovery Accelerator in Europe driven by our two UK-based IBM Research locations in Hursley and Daresbury as they contribute to our global mission of building discovery-driven communities around the world.”

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