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Digital Catapult Centre Yorkshire opens its doors to unlock value in health and social care


The Digital Catapult, a national centre to rapidly advance the UK's best digital ideas, has opened its new centre in Yorkshire in collaboration with the Leeds City Region and York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnerships.

The Centre will work closely with local business, academia, the public sector and the other Digital Catapult Centres across the UK with the aim of unlocking value from proprietary data - generating new jobs across the nation, driving innovation and creating millions in linked investment and funding.

The Digital Catapult Centre Yorkshire will focus on projects around overcoming the challenges with trust in the use of personalised data in health and social care. In the coming weeks, the Centre will launch a programme of events which will create opportunities for private and public sector, academia and health professionals to collaborate and unlock new value around these challenges.

Based in Bradford, the Digital Catapult Centre Yorkshire will run in partnership with two Local Enterprise Partnerships and led by the University of Bradford alongside Bradford Council, Yorkshire Universities and digital SMEs. The Centre will be an integral part of the Digital Health Enterprise Zone, creating innovations in digital health and social care and incubating and growing SMEs in digital health technologies. These initiatives release an additional £3 million of investment in the Yorkshire region.

Over the next three years, the consortia will be tasked with delivering on a range of innovative projects, designed to be accessible to start-ups and SMEs to use and learn from. As part of this, the Centre will create links between universities and business that enable cutting edge, pre-commercial R&D findings in the Digital Catapult challenge areas to be converted into commercial market opportunities which can be prototyped and piloted by start-ups and SMEs.

Neil Crockett, CEO of the Digital Catapult said: “The Digital Catapult is here to help create new opportunities across the UK and unlock innovation and value from sharing closed and proprietary data. The truth is the most exciting digital innovation is happening in local communities, like the North East and Tees Valley, who are bringing together new ideas, businesses, universities and the public sector. As a national centre, it is important we support and collaborate with these local innovation communities, it is from these local hotspots that we will find the best innovation, create the most relevant products and reap the economic benefit for the UK.”

Bradford Council Leader, Cllr David Green, said: "I am delighted that Bradford has been selected to host Digital Catapult Centre Yorkshire, one of only three regional digital catapult centres outside London. Based in the Design Exchange, it will enable small businesses to develop and showcase their innovative digital ideas and products and link up with larger businesses, which will drive the local and regional economy and forge links right across the UK."

Professor Shirley Congdon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Bradford said: “We’re delighted that the Digital Catapult will become a key part of Yorkshire’s innovation landscape. There is much anticipation among our collaboration partners that the projects undertaken with the Digital Catapult and SME innovators, and in partnership with our Digital Health Enterprise Zone, will lead to real improvements in people's health and wellbeing as well as sustainable high technology business growth and job creation.”

Charles Lowe, Director, DHACA said: “At DHACA we recognise the importance of sharing the information and knowledge necessary to redesign health & care services digitally, so they work seamlessly across multiple platforms. This is vital to progressing the UK’s digital health economy. With this in mind, we are extremely enthusiastic about the opening of the Digital Catapult Centre in Bradford. The Centre will help to bring sharing data for wider benefit of the UK to the forefront; we are hugely passionate about supporting both the launch and the progression of the centre. There is currently a lot of innovative activity taking place in the region and we look forward to supporting its growth.”

Paul Connell, ODI Leeds, a node of ODI HQ for Leeds city region said: “We are very happy to see the innovative Digital Catapult establish a new centre in the powerhouse of Bradford. We are currently working on several exciting projects with the centre and we are confident that this collaboration will continue with future projects across the region. We see our partnership as crucial in addressing the complex challenges that exist here, in the UK as a whole and indeed globally. We will be looking forward to doing great work in one of the great Northern Cities.”

Professor Rami Qahwaji, Professor of Visual Computing at the University of Bradford said: “The Digital Catapult Centre Yorkshire provides an excellent opportunity to address significant challenges to business success by engaging in focussed research with clear outcomes. By bringing together SME innovators and academics, we can address vital issues like personal data and trust, validation and evaluation of digital health products, and developing frameworks for processing healthcare data resources, to name a few projects.”

Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership said: “The launch of the Digital Catapult is fantastic news for small and medium-sized businesses across the Leeds City Region. It will enable SMEs to develop new innovative ideas and products in the creative and technology sectors, and facilitate collaboration with larger business, universities and public sector organisations across the country. This strengthens the already thriving creative and digital sector within the region and has the potential to contribute significant economic growth for both Leeds City Region and the wider northern economy. “

Notes to editors

About The Digital Catapult

The Digital Catapult, which became operational in 2013, is a national centre to rapidly advance the UK’s best digital ideas. The Digital Catapult is one of seven Catapults funded by InnovateUK

The specific aim of the Digital Catapult is to drive future economic growth in the digital economy by unlocking value from proprietary data in faster, better and more trusted ways.

Unlike a number of other Innovate UK programmes, the Digital Catapult is not a funding agency. Instead, it provides support based upon available facilities, expertise and by bringing partners together to help UK SMEs innovate at speed and with less risk so that new digital products and services can be accelerated to market.

For more information about the Digital Catapult’s projects and programmes please visit the website:

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