The South West could become global hub for next-generation engineering after the launch of the Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation programme (DETI).
The programme aims to bring together world-leading technology innovators from academia and industry. The programme is led by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), delivered by the Bristol-based National Composites Centre, in partnership with the Centre for Modelling and Simulation at Bristol & Bath Science Park, Bristol-based Innovate UK initiative Digital Catapult, UWE Bristol, the University of Bristol, and the University of Bath.
Industry partners include Airbus, GKN Aerospace, Rolls Royce and Siemens to test new products and ways of working.
Last week, DETI announced completion of its first phase, with highlights including research and tools that will power the next generation of electric vehicles; quantum-secure 5G connectivity to operate remote factories; and digitally-led product development that is five times faster than traditional methods.
The proof-of-concept demonstrators offer digitally-enabled ways to make British industry more sustainable and globally competitive, creating new markets and opportunities for businesses in the South West.
Dan Norris, West of England Metro Mayor, said: “There is a climate and biodiversity emergency that requires leadership and action – deeds not words.
“Thankfully, we in the West of England are getting on with the job of fighting the climate crisis head on. The Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation programme – supported by £5 million in funding from my West of England Mayoral Authority – is helping harness the innovation and abundance of talent we know we have in our West of England region to tackle this and other urgent challenges.
“It’s building the technologies and digital skills we need to reach our net-zero targets locally, while demonstrating to the world that the West of England is the go-to place for digital and technological innovation and engineering knowhow.
“In turn, through the Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation programme, we are creating more high-quality jobs for all residents while inspiring our young people to pursue careers in the green economy – helping create the innovators of the future. In short – it’s an absolutely vital programme, and I’m proud to back it”.
Richard Oldfield, CEO of the National Composites Centre, added: “The South West has a proven record of leading the development of next generation products. DETI’s success is founded in fostering successful collaborations between academia, industry and world class R&D innovators.
“By enabling highly innovative concepts to be tested and trialled, the ‘learning factory’ that DETI partners created de-risks implementation and demonstrates return on investment and increased agility.
“This puts the region at the leading edge of work to develop technologies and tools that will advance our net zero future and inspire future generations.”