In a unique collaboration, University of Bristol engineers will work with social scientists and with tech giants, corporations, local government and community partners to answer these big questions and create transformational technologies for the future.
The Bristol Digital Futures Institute (BDFI) is being funded by a £29m grant from the Research England UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (RPIF), which has received more than double that in £71m of match funding (£16m philanthropy and £55m from 27 partners including organisations such as BT, Dyson, the BBC, Airbus and Aardman).
It will involve 200 people in its research and innovation contributing over £180m to the economy over 10 years and the funding will be used to create a 6,000sqm collaborative co-creation space on the new campus. Facilities will include a state-of-the-art interactive auditorium and the world’s first reality emulator enabling the study of future digital systems at scale.
These cutting-edge labs will allow researchers to study a range of scenarios, from emerging challenges in future cities; protecting ourselves against cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure; and exploring how digital technologies are experienced by different social groups. This knowledge will be shared to help create a better digital world.
The Bristol-Bath region alone is a globally significant digital technology cluster in the UK, with more than 60,000 digital workers across the aerospace, digital technologies, digital creative and Internet application industries.
“This funding announcement is fantastic news for the University, the city of Bristol and the wider region. It provides an opportunity to think about our futures differently – to build on expertise from right across the university in collaboration with industry, government and people in the City; to think about the world we are creating with digital innovation and ensure that this ethical, socially responsible and inclusive – helping to support the creation of future ‘tech with a conscience’”, commented Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Bristol.
“It will add further to the University of Bristol’s growing reputation as a global leader in responsible sociotechnical innovation, and the epicentre of a unique partnership ecosystem where public participation and citizen co-creation is key. It will also ensure the UK can remain at the forefront of a rapidly advancing sociotechnical world by integrating areas of policy, economics, society, law and environmental impact with technical development, to ensure that emerging technology is useful, safe and secure.”
Among the partners who pledged their support and financial support include: Aardman, Ashley Community Housing, Airbus, Arm Ltd, Babassa, BBC, Bristol Media Group, Black South West Network (BSWN), BT, Business West, Digital Catapult, Dyson, Evolyst Ltd, Frazer-Nash Consultancy, Gregg Latchams Solicitors, Hargreaves Landsdown, Knowle West Media Centre, National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Quin, System C Healthcare Ltd, Thales UK Ltd, Three, TM Forum, Toshiba, Ultrahaptics Ltd, Watershed, West of England Combined Authority (WECA).
University of Bristol – www.bristol.ac.uk