Multi-million-pound funding for pioneering new research facilities at Bristol and Exeter

July 11, 2019

The projects build on GW4’s regional strengths in digital innovation and our globally recognised excellence in environmental research.

Research England has announced funding for a £100 million digital institute in Bristol and a world-leading research centre at Exeter to solve global challenges.

The Bristol Digital Futures Institute at the University of Bristol; and The Centre for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste at the University of Exeter have both been awarded multi-million-pound funding from Research England’s flagship UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF).

These research centres will be at the forefront of developing innovative solutions that benefit the environment, global societies and the economy. The investments into both research centres realise the future opportunities identified in the South West England and South East Wales Science and Innovation Audit (SWW-SIA).

Collaborative research to predict the future

The Bristol Digital Futures Institute based at the University of Bristol’s new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus will bring together researchers from different disciplines to create new approaches to digital innovation and social change, placing people and society at the heart of innovation.

In total over £100 million has been invested in the Bristol Digital Futures Institute project, including £29 million from Research England plus match funding from partners and philanthropy donations.

As demonstrated in the Science and Innovation Audit the GW4 region is synonymous with digital innovation and this funding will enable researchers to drive the digital future. Working with a wealth of partners, researchers will be able to test cyber-attack scenarios on critical infrastructure and explore how digital technologies are experienced by different social groups. The facility will also be home to the world’s first reality emulator enabling the study of future digital systems at scale.

Solving global environmental challenges

The Centre for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste – a joint venture between the University of Exeter and South West Water – will conduct world-leading research into the provision of safe and resilient water services in the UK and overseas.

The new centre, which received £10.5 million from Research England and over £20 million from South West Water, will accommodate state-of-the-art, specialist laboratory facilities, and designated space to encourage collaborative research between academics and experts from the water industry.

The centre will also enable South West Water to use pioneering new technology, such as robotics and artificial intelligence, to enhance water efficiency, create better water treatment processes and reduce potential impacts on the natural environment.

GW4 leads the way

GW4 takes a leading role in developing digital technologies and as a region we have the capacity to compete with the world. The Bristol-Bath region is a globally significant digital technology cluster in the UK, with more than 60,000 digital workers, making Bristol’s Institute ideally placed to investigate the implications of living in a data driven society.

The Centre for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste further bolsters GW4’s position as world leaders in climate research – with the Great West home to more climate expertise than any other area worldwide.

Dr Sarah Perkins, GW4 Director, said: “This funding announcement is fantastic news for our GW4 Universities and the wider region. These projects showcase our regional strengths and research excellence across the Alliance, as identified in the South West England and South East Wales Science and Innovation Audit. The research centres will not only provide innovative new solutions to global challenges but also cements GW4’s role in leading crucial research.”

These projects continue GW4’s success, following the University of Bath and Cardiff University receiving funding from Research England’s UK Research Partnership Investment Fund for the Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems and the Institute for Compound Semiconductors respectively.

 

Find out more:

UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF)

The Bristol Digital Futures Institute

The Centre for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste

South West England and South East Wales Science and Innovation Audit