A £5m funding grant from the West of England Combined Authority has been doubled by industry and awarded to a research, innovation and skills initiative, to accelerate digital engineering across multiple sectors and boost STEM awareness in less affluent parts of the country.
The new Centre for Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI) was awarded a combined £10m by WECA and businesses in the West of England, to support the region’s Local Industrial Strategy and the development of a Global Centre of Innovation Excellence.
The DETI project will use existing facilities at the National Composites Centre (NCC) and the Centre for Modelling and Simulation (CFMS) at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, to undertake research, develop advanced digital engineering training courses that will boost the knowhow of existing workforces and to inspire schoolchildren in the West of England to become future engineers.
Firms investing in DETI alongside WECA and the NCC include Airbus, Rolls-Royce, GKN and Baker Hughes, as well as the University of the West of England. Siemens and Toshiba will also be supporting the initiative.
DETI will also harness academic and industry expertise in developing products that are lighter, more fuel efficient and less wasteful, to help reduce CO2 emissions.
Its overall aim is to transform areas of advanced engineering through innovative tools, techniques and methods that in turn create a more socially, economically and environmentally conscious society.
The project has engaged with more than 100 companies across the region, including TechSPARK and Smartia, and firms working in renewable energy, marine, aerospace and electronics.
“The world faces unprecedented challenges which will require step changes in how society uses resources,” said Richard Oldfield, CEO of the National Composites Centre.
“DETI will bring together leading companies and tech disruptors to create the design and digital engineering of the future. It will help cement the UK’s world-leading position as an engineering nation, helping to overcome the world’s most complex challenges.”
Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, Cllr Toby Savage, added: “Over the past decade or so the Filton Enterprise Area, University of the West of England, Ministry of Defence and the Bristol and Bath Science Park have formed a powerful network of world-leading innovation in aerospace, engineering and defence. We are therefore delighted to see South Gloucestershire hosting the DETI project which we believe will be of national and international significance to the future of clean energy and low carbon transport.
“This geography is increasingly recognised as the South Gloucestershire ‘TEC ARC’ and we look forward to working closely with multiple stakeholders to ensure that the project grows this critical sector of our economy, but also engages widely across the region through schools and colleges to give new experiences and opportunities in the development of STEM skills.”