Digital innovation initiative sets up South West as ‘global hub’ for next generation engineering

The completion of the first phase of a digital research, skills and innovation initiative in the West of England continues to see the South West define the next frontier of engineering.

The culmination of the initial phase of the Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI) programme paves the way for the development of innovative products and ways of working that will deliver economic, social and sustainability benefits for future generations.

By bringing together world-leading technology innovators from academia and industry, DETI has created a fully functioning digital test-ground in the South West. These globally pioneering firms include Airbus, GKN Aerospace, Rolls Royce and Siemens. Since the collaboration started in 2020, DETI has enabled organisations to explore and develop the technologies of tomorrow. Innovative concepts developed include exciting new technologies to improve the speed and efficiency of the design process, to produce better and more sustainable high-performance products.

Dan Norris, West of England Metro Mayor, said: “There is a climate and biodiversity emergency that requires leadership and action – deeds not words. Thankfully, we in the West of England are getting on with the job of fighting the climate crisis head on. The Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation programme – supported by £5 million in funding from my West of England Mayoral Authority – is helping harness the innovation and abundance of talent we know we have in our West of England region to tackle this and other urgent challenges. It’s building the technologies and digital skills we need to reach our net-zero targets locally, while demonstrating to the world that the West of England is the go-to place for digital and technological innovation and engineering knowhow. In turn, through the Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation programme, we are creating more high-quality jobs for all residents while inspiring our young people to pursue careers in the green economy – helping create the innovators of the future. In short – it’s an absolutely vital programme, and I’m proud to back it.”

Highlights from the programme include research and tools that will power the next generation of electric vehicles; quantum-secure 5G connectivity to operate remote factories; and digitally-led product development that is five times faster than traditional methods. Presented in the latest edition of Digital Now, these proof-of-concept demonstrators offer digitally-enabled ways to make British industry more sustainable and globally competitive, creating new markets and opportunities for businesses in the South West.

Richard Oldfield, chief executive officer at the National Composites Centre, added: “The South West has a proven record of leading the development of next generation products. DETI’s success is founded in fostering successful collaborations between academia, industry and world class R&D innovators. By enabling highly innovative concepts to be tested and trialled, the ‘learning factory’ that DETI partners created de-risks implementation and demonstrates return on investment and increased agility. This puts the region at the leading edge of work to develop technologies and tools that will advance our net zero future and inspire future generations.”

The DETI consortium brings together digital technology expertise from the private sector and academia from across the region. Made possible by a £5m investment from the West of England Combined Authority, with co-investment from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and industry, DETI is delivered by the National Composites Centre, the Centre for Modelling & Simulation, Digital Catapult, the University of the West of England, the University of Bristol and the University of Bath.

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...