24 May 2024

UK launches £37.6m Digital Twin Centre of Excellence to transform industry

UK Digital Twin Centre

The UK is set to establish a digital twin centre of excellence with an investment of £37.6 million, aimed at revolutionising how industries develop products, services, and systems. Spearheaded by the Digital Catapult and supported by Innovate UK, Belfast Region City Deal, and industrial partners Thales UK, Spirit AeroSystems, and Artemis Technologies, the UK Digital Twin Centre will be located in Belfast and is scheduled to open later this year.

The Centre is poised to make a significant impact on the manufacturing sector across the UK, with an expected contribution of 230 new jobs and a projected £61 million boost to the local economy in Northern Ireland by 2033.

Programmes at the Centre will cater to businesses of all sizes, from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to large enterprises, aiming to accelerate the adoption of digital twins across industries. By providing access to cutting-edge technologies, reducing the costs associated with producing digital twins, and fostering the development of necessary skills, the Centre seeks to drive industry’s embrace of digital twins. Additionally, it will serve as a collaborative space for industry, academia, and the public sector.

The Centre’s industrial partners will lead the charge by delivering six initial use cases to showcase the transformative potential of digital twins in the maritime, aerospace, and defense sectors.

Deborah Colville, appointed as the Centre’s director, hailed the announcement as a pivotal moment in unlocking the real-world value of digital twins for the UK. She emphasised the Centre’s role in providing businesses nationwide with the expertise, technology, and resources needed to leverage digital twins, ultimately driving down design and manufacturing costs, facilitating the achievement of net-zero targets, and enhancing global competitiveness.

A substantial portion of the Centre’s funding, £15 million, will be provided by the Belfast Region City Deal to support core research and capacity building efforts. This investment aligns with the region’s objectives of fostering innovation and digital capabilities, boosting productivity, advancing net-zero goals, and creating high-quality jobs.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris, hailed the ambitious project as an opportunity for collaboration and acceleration of Belfast’s burgeoning digital sector. He underscored the UK Government’s commitment to supporting the project through its £350 million investment in the Belfast Region City Deal, aimed at driving prosperity in Northern Ireland and solidifying its status as a premier investment destination.

Digital twins, virtual models of physical objects or systems using real-world data, offer businesses the ability to prototype rapidly and make informed decisions. They have the potential to streamline processes, reduce time-to-market, cut costs, and minimise emissions, making them a powerful tool for driving innovation and sustainability in industry.

Company info: Digital Catapault