Digital Catapult announces partnership with Birmingham City University

Professor Julian Beer and Business Secretary Sajid Javid

The University has signed a new partnership with the Digital Catapult to use the Data Catalyser, a suite of services to help organisations share data and unlock value for the UK.

The Data Catalyser is a unique suite of services that enables organisations to create value from mixing closed and proprietary data sets. It aims to unlock opportunities for new products, services, tools, insights and innovations through sharing and mixing data and allowing select groups of trusted and approved data specialists access, which now include world-leading experts from Birmingham City University.

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Birmingham City University

The Data Catalyser has the potential to deliver massive impacts for the UK economy, using data to offer more personalised services and improve efficiency in areas such as commerce, transport, information and communications technology (ICT), education and healthcare.

The University will install and operate the West Midlands Data Catalyser as a regional and national hub for the unlocking and smart use of currently closed and proprietary data and will be working with a wide range of organisations. These organisations include Birmingham City Council, the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), the West Midlands Combined Authority and businesses both big and small across the UK.

STEAMHouse project launch

News of the West Midlands Data Catalyser closely follows the announcement of our STEAMHouse project earlier this month, which will use the Data Catalyser. The Government announced that it will be contributing £14 million to help transform the former Typhoo tea factory in Birmingham into a collaborative innovation centre for solving the challenges facing SMEs in the West Midlands region.

Speaking at the launch of STEAMHouse, Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “STEAMHouse is a project between universities, the creative industries, which the Midlands is very well known for, and also businesses – all working together to create a new innovation centre, which will then lead to new discoveries, new work and new jobs. The estimate is that it could eventually create 10,000 jobs.”

“Furthermore, our School of Computing and Digital Technology is recognised internationally for the high quality of its research, teaching and extensive industry partnerships, making us the perfect location for the first Data Catalyser outside of the capital.”

Dr Umar Daraz, Director for the Institute of Sustainable Futures, added: “This a real coup for the region, and recognises our growing capability and strong links with the SME community across a number of sectors. We very much look forward to working with the Digital Catapult, SMEs and Birmingham City Council to capitalise on the potential of the Data Catalyser – and in the process help to kick-start the Midlands Engine.”

Digital Catapult

The Data Catalyser has been developed by the Digital Catapult, a not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to develop breakthroughs for the UK’s data sharing movement. Birmingham City University is one of the Catapult’s key partners for this mission and the exclusive Partnership Memorandum signed this week cements the relationship between the two institutions.

Andrew Carr, Chief Operating Officer, Digital Catapult, said: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with Birmingham City University. The Digital Catapult is here to develop breakthroughs for the UK’s data sharing movement and through licensing the Data Catalyser to select organisations, we will be able to accelerate the safe links between data innovators, startups, scaleups and data challenge owners across all sectors to deliver new shared innovation and productivity.

“The Data Catalyser has been created to help advance the UK’s data sharing potential and we are delighted that Birmingham City University will be our first partner.”

Smart city strategic and technical consultants Redpill Group have led the development of the partnership launched today as part of their work internationally with cities, companies and universities to build new partnerships, projects and businesses that support better lives for citizens, coupled with sustainable economic impact.

Dr Robin Daniels, Managing Director of Redpill Group, said: “The application of leading-edge data science to a part of the UK poised for significant urban renewal and inward investment is something that should, and will, attract international attention. Having recognised the huge potential of a partnership between Birmingham City University and the Digital Catapult, it’s incredibly satisfying to see the beginning of that partnership today.”

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