I hope you have all had an enjoyable start to the new academic year.
Since the beginning of the new term, we have seen a number of exciting developments, across the GW4 Alliance, which will play an important role in helping us to achieve the goals and aims set out in our recently launched Strategic Vision 2023 -2028.
Creating and supporting effective routes to accelerate the transition to sustainable Net Zero continues to be a core priority for the Alliance. I was delighted by the recent award of £2.5million in funding for GW-SHIFT: Great Western Supercluster of Hydrogen Impact for Future Technologies, a project led by the University of Bath and University of Exeter, enabling academic, civic and industry partners to work together to unlock the huge potential of our region's hydrogen ecosystem. More on this below.
Following on from an initial announcement in September, the Government announced at yesterday's (1st November) AI Safety Summit, that the University of Bristol will be awarded £225m to develop the UK's fastest supercomputer to supercharge the nation's AI capabilities. To be known as Isambard-AI, it will be 10 times more powerful than the UK’s current fastest supercomputer and form part of a new, national Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (AIRR) for the country. This announcement builds on the success of the GW4 supercomputer Isambard, the world’s first Arm-based supercomputer to go into production use, and follows on from a successful government delegation visit to the site of the recently announced £10m GW4 Isambard 3 facility. I am extremely proud that this £225m supercomputer all started from collaborative working across the four universities, and a small investment by GW4.
Our commitment to supporting collaboration and best practice in research and innovation across the GW4 regions also goes from strength to strength. Earlier in October, we announced the first ever, joint GW4 Open Research Week and Open Research Prize. These events, some taking place in person and some online, will focus on the theme of the ‘Theory of Change’ and are designed to showcase ways to make research more accessible, transparent, reproducible and visible. The Open Research Prize, meanwhile, will award entrants who can best demonstrate open research practices across their projects. We hope that as many of you as possible will engage with, and attend, this exciting array of events.
Lastly, I am delighted to share that we are now recruiting for our first ever Public Affairs Lead, working across GW4 and the Western Gateway to inform policy and represent our shared interests at a regional and national level. Please see below for more details on this.
Change doesn’t happen alone.