Government opens tech innovation centres in London, Sunderland, Brighton & Bradford


Four new centres aimed at helping to create 10,000 technology start-ups have opened in London, Brighton, Sunderland and Bradford. The scheme aims to deliver an economic benefit of around 365 million by 2018.

The Digital Catapult centres' objective is to generate thousands of new jobs while "driving innovation at a local level".

The government said these centres would help "accelerate the UK's digital economy by providing entrepreneurs, SMEs, researchers and corporate organisations with a physical space to meet and collaborate on development projects."

The centres have been established by three Local Enterprise Partnership-led (LEP) consortia. In return the centres will support them with resources and collaborative support worth up to 500,000.

Each centre has a different technological focus. The Digital Catapult Centre Brighton (led by Coast to Capital LEP) will encourage innovation and value from real-time and location-based data. The Digital Catapult Centre in the North East and Tees Valley (led by the North East LEP and Tees Valley LEP) will look at the controlled delivery and security of data so as to increase information sharing amongst businesses and organisations and open up new business models and revenue streams.

Meanwhile, the Digital Catapult Centre Yorkshire (led by Leeds City Region LEP and York, North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP) is tasked with supporting digital health innovation and developing new healthcare products and services.

The Government-backed body is funded by Innovate UK.

Digital Economy minister Ed Vaizey said the centres would be "a thriving, state-of-the-art hub for some of the country's most innovative digital companies and entrepreneurs".

"Growth areas including the Internet of Things and digital creative industries are opening up a range of new opportunities for companies in the sector," he said.

Neil Crockett, CEO of Digital Catapult, said: "It is important we support and collaborate with these local innovation communities who are doing amazing things in our focus areas."

He added there are "many brilliant digital innovation communities across the UK, and we hope it is the start to building a whole range of exciting future relationships."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.