£37.6m UK Digital Twin Centre for Belfast

£37.6m UK Digital Twin Centre for Belfast

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The UK government has announced a £37.6m (€43m) national Digital Twin Centre to be based in Belfast, Northern Island.

Led by the Digital Catapult, the Centre is supported by Thales UK, Spirit AeroSystems and Artemis Technologies for application sin the maritime, aerospace and defence sectors.

The 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. The Centre will also provide a collaborative space for industry, academia and the public sector to foster cross-sector innovation.

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. These models can be used for rapid prototyping and real-world control mechanisms as well as long term monitoring of physical systems.

Digital twin centres have already been set up in Europe and $200m has been allocated by the US government under its CHIPS Act to develop a digital twin centre for manufacturing.  

£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.

“Today’s announcement is a pivotal moment in realising the real-world value of Digital Twins for the UK. The Centre will give businesses across the UK access to the expertise, technology and resources necessary to accelerate the adoption of Digital Twins to reduce design and manufacturing costs, help meet net zero targets and drive competitive advantage globally,” said Deborah Colville, UK Digital Twin Centre Director at Digital Catapul.

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 Innovate UK Catapult Network provides a unique combination of world-class expertise and facilities, connecting research excellence with business impact. This new Digital Catapult investment will accelerate industry adoption of digital twins, a key component of Cyber-Physical Infrastructure, delivering support for business innovation across the UK,” said Indro Mukerjee, CEO at Innovate UK which is providing the funding.

The UK Digital Twin Centre will open later this year.


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