Organisation name: Welsh Assembly Government
Submitted: 01/02/2010 by email@example.com
- Organisation core business: Government
- What will the project do?: DIGITAL WALES RESEARCH HUB. The Welsh Assembly Government has identified four priority R&D sectors which it believes Wales should focus on to help stimulate economic growth and underpin delivery of the One Wales programme. The digital economy is one of these key sectors. The Digital Wales Research Hub will be an outward-facing organisational structure and funding programme that complements existing activities such as the UK Digital Economy Programme and brings together industry, Welsh Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and funding bodies to facilitate the delivery in Wales of industry-led, collaborative, open innovation related to the digital economy. The central theme of the research programme will be to explore and develop ways of enabling and growing a vibrant and succesful digital economy within the unique geographic, social and cultural topography of Wales. Via the Digital Wales Research Hub we will ensure linkages with other regionally based research programmes, so that each can strengthen the other. That said, Wales is small enough and diverse enough to act as a microcosm for research applicable to larger areas; it has a culture supported by a dual language; it also has a number of prominent, respected HEIs. Wales has a mixed telecommunications landscape, in part because of its varied topography. This situation provides opportunities for many, but presents challenges for some. These are some of the challenges which research sponsored by the Hub might seek to address. However, their existence within such a concise geography is one of the factors that make Wales uniquely suited to being a testbed for digital economy research. The Welsh Assembly Government is keen to embrace the opportunities and imperatives of rapidly evolving trends in information and communications technology (ICT), digital media and the internet and to play a leading role in the new digital economy. A vibrant and successful digital economy would help to ensure that Wales will be a leader, in the front rank of countries in exploiting digital technologies, content and services for the benefit of all. It should also help to ensure that no-one is left behind, that all have access to digital technologies and content and have the skills and support to make the best of them. It would drive productivity growth, as all our businesses use digital technologies to drive innovation and strengthen competitiveness, drawing on a broad skills base and an expert professional community. It would support an enabling government, as public services and the Welsh Assembly Government make imaginative, widespread use of digital technologies to engage with citizens and stakeholders. It would underpin our vibrant, specialist digital and ICT sector. It would help to deliver robust, cost-effective infrastructure across Wales; flexible, future-orientated and providing universal affordable access to services needed. It would support Wales? unique culture, with the Welsh language, our culture and our creativity all benefiting from diverse, low-cost media and easier access in the digital age. Finally a successful and vibrant digital economy will be transformative, the adoption of ICT by the marketplace driving improved and innovative business processes, products, services and business models. The purpose of the Research Hub would be to enable research with the potential to impact across any goals described above. Outcomes from the research programme (e.g. applications, services and products) will be applicable in other regions and commercial markets across the globe. During 2010 the Welsh Assembly Government will seek to seed fund a number of pilot projects which will identify the right structure, internal processes & engagement mechanisms required for the Hub to succeed and will prove that stakeholders from outside & inside Wales can come together & deliver end to end research outcomes that have real economic impacts, within an open innovation environment. Beyond the immediate pilot phase our aspiration for the Research Hub is that it should have a multi-year lifespan at least equivalent to that of the UK Research Council sponsor digital economy hubs (5 years) and that its research programme should become self-sustaining via a combination of European, UK, public and private-sector inputs.
- Regional area(s) to be covered by the project: All-Convergence
- Who will be the end beneficiaries?: Large, multi-national companies, Welsh HEIs, Welsh SMEs, Welsh citizens.
- Who will be involved in delivering the project?: The Digital Wales Research Hub will enable and support the coming together of stakeholders from within Wales & beyond to carry out collaborative, innovative research. Large, multi-national companies will drive a collaborative research agenda based on their commercial R&D priorities, benefitting from the world class research resources in Welsh HEIs. HEIs will enhance reputations and embed resources and skills by participating in innovative research with leading industrial partners. Welsh SMEs will have access to supply chain opportunities related to project delivery; will have opportunities to test pre-commercial outcomes from research projects; will be well placed to take early advantage of new technologies, applications & services emerging from research which could positively enhance their businesses sustainability and profitability & they may also submit research project ideas for consideration, either in partnership with each other, with HEIs or with a leading industrial partner. Welsh citizens will have opportunities to test pre-commercial outcomes from research projects and to take early advantage of new technologies, applications & services emerging from research which could positively enhance their social inclusion and quality of life. Funding organisations will be able to pool and efficiently target finance through a well defined and managed Research Hub, specifically set up to collaboratively examine areas of real and practical interest to industry and society. For the Research Hub to succeed it must provide recognized opportunities for all Welsh HEIs to attract industrial research partners & deliver commercially driven digital economy research. Equally it must be an open model that provides a straightforward, easy to engage opportunity for any large company to bring its research agenda to Wales & find world-class, cost effective resources that make it attractive to deliver research projects here rather than elsewhere. To date at least eight of the major Welsh HEIs have responded positively to the Hub concept & are involved in further work to develop the Hub, including a number of possible pilot projects involving Welsh SMEs, notably in the creative media sector. BT has been a keen supporter of the Research Hub from an early stage & is actively developing pilot projects to help prove that the Hub concept can work in Wales & to test possible structures for the Hub; at least three other world-leader multi-national companies, across various sectors, are also engaged in the development of the Hub & are considering the possibility of developing pilot projects this year. We are also working closely with UK research Councils, the Technology Strategy Board and others to ensure that any synergies and collaboration opportunities are identified and exploited and that duplications are avoided.
- What might be the outputs (activity measures) of the project?: The outputs, results and impacts from the proposed Hub will be enabled by the collaboration of four partner groups, namely Welsh HEIs, large companies, SMEs and the Welsh Assembly Government. Specific outputs associated with collaborative research projects enabled by the Hub could include any of the following: Collaborative R&D, Enterprises assisted, Enterprises financially supported, Initiatives addressing barriers to ICT uptake, Innovation centres and R&D facilities developed, Open access infrastructure points, Organisations assisted, Organisations financially supported, Public transport services improved, (contribution to) Regeneration schemes, Social enterprises assisted, Social enterprises financially supported.
- What might be the results of the project?: It will deliver significant benefits for Wales such as world leadership on selected digital economy topics, increased participation in the global digital economy and increased digital inclusion for Welsh businesses and citizens. Specific results from collaborative research projects enabled by the Hub could include any of the following: Enterprises created, Gross jobs created, Increase in level of export, Investment induced, Jobs accommodated, New or improved products, processes or services launched, Participants accommodated, People accessing services, Premises created or refurbished, Products, processes or services registered, Profit benefit, Reduction in greenhouse emissions, SMEs accommodated, Social enterprises created, Waste reduced, reused or recycled.
- What would the project's impact be?: Ultimately to accelerate the delivery of a vibrant and successful digital economy across Wales and enhance the scope of its associated benefits. It will do this by enabling enduring, world-leading collaborations between Welsh HEIs & multi-national companies, the outcomes from which will help to ensure that the digital economy plays a full part in driving economic recovery and economic growth across Wales. Specific impacts from collaborative research projects enabled by the Hub could include any of the following: Income generated, Increase in company-level GVA, Increase in turnover, Net enterprises created, Net increase in level of export, Net jobs created, Net reduction in greenhouse emissions, Net social enterprises created, Occupancy rates, Population with access to infrastructure points, Sales of products, processes or services.
- What is the project estimated cost?: £20,000,000