Digital Catapult innovation centres to open in Brighton, Yorkshire and North East

Centres will tackle challenges facing the digital economy and help bring innovative products to the market

The national centre for the rapid advancement of the UK’s strongest digital ideas, the Digital Catapult, is to open new local centres in three of Britain’s most pioneering digital communities – Brighton, Yorkshire and North East & Tees Valley.

Working in partnership with three Local Enterprise Partnership-led consortia, the centres will attract an additional £9m of investment to the burgeoning digital economies, and help innovators bring their products and services to the market.

The announcement comes as the UK economy continues to grow, thanks in no small part to a thriving tech sector – which has seen 350% average annual growth in the last four years, according to a recent report by the London Stock Exchange. A recent study by Tech Nation also found a growth of 91% in digital companies incorporated between 2010 and 2013, and that three quarters of those companies analysed were based outside the capital.

The three local centres will focus on different challenges facing the digital economy as it investigates the potential of sharing closed or proprietary data. Yorkshire will primarily look at health and social care data, Brighton on the ‘Internet of Place’ and the North East & Tees Valley will focus on data sharing innovation.

Over the next three years the Digital Catapult centres will develop accessible, innovative projects for start-ups and small and medium enterprises to use and learn from, and create links with both universities and businesses to explore findings and products for the commercial market.

Each centre will host a programme of private and public sector academia events, to foster collaboration and exploit new value from the challenges. Since its 2013 launch, the Digital Catapult has launched a series of open calls around its challenge areas and recently helped to open the Environmental Data Exchange in London to open up environmental data.

Digital Catapult CEO, Neil Crockett, said: “The Digital Catapult is here to help create new opportunities across the UK and unlock innovation and value from sharing closed and proprietary data.

“The truth is the most exciting digital innovation is happening in local communities, like the North East and Tees Valley, who are bringing together new ideas, businesses, universities and the public sector.

“As a national centre, it is important we support and collaborate with these local innovation communities, it is from these local hotspots that we will find the best innovation, create the most relevant products and reap the economic benefit for the UK.”

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