Newcastle University: Part of National Programme to Increase SME Tech Use

Newcastle University has been named as part of a national project to help SMEs improve competitiveness through the adoption of digital technologies.

The university is one of three institutions that will share £4.5m as part of the Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation programme. It will work to help small and medium-sized companies in areas including data analytics and artificial intelligence in a bid to enhance productivity and boost their growth prospects.

The hubs will be funded for three years to establish a network of digital adoption support that aim to be easily accessible and available locally to SMEs. Centres are also being set up at Ulster and Cardiff universities, with the three hubs selected because of the existing expertise in data science and AI in the universities.

Science Minister George Freeman, said: “The UK has always been at the cutting edge of some of the most important technologies of tomorrow, but too often, we’ve failed to translate that unrivalled expertise into practical tools and resources which can benefit our wider business communities. That’s why, in 2021, we committed to bringing our brightest minds together in fields including AI and Quantum, through a £172m investment to establish the Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation.

“The funding announced today will go even further to turn great science and technology into great business, providing an unrivalled network of support for those SMEs who are adopting emerging technologies. These new hubs will allow us to target support at a local level, while laying the foundations for a larger support ecosystem connecting companies right across the UK.”

Prof Barry Hodgson, director of strategy at the National Innovation Centre for Data at Newcastle University, said: “The National Innovation Centre for Data and Sunderland Software City are thrilled to be involved in the HNCDI programme and host a Hartree SME engagement hub in the North East.

“Our team of expert data scientists will work with companies across the region to transform their businesses through digital technology adoption and the innovative use of data. We look forward to collaborating with Hartree Centre and the other hubs to deliver this exciting programme.”

The hubs are part of a wider £210m programme announced by the Government two years ago that aims to boost the economy by helping companies get access to the latest advances in computing technology. Technology giant IBM is also part of the project, making an in-kind contribution of around £38m.

Source: Business Live

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