New £9.6m research and engineering facility opens

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The new DigiTech Centre located at BT’s Adastral Park in Martlesham, Suffolk has been officially opened.

The Rt Hon Dr Thérèse Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal and Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, opened the £9.6m research and engineering facility, which is a joint project between the University of Suffolk and technology and telecommunications firm, BT.

The DigiTech Centre is supported by £6.4m from New Anglia LEP’s Growth Deal with Government.

It will provide cutting-edge digital skills for people looking to pursue careers in information and communications technology.

Specialist high tech laboratories form the heart of the new centre and it will be used jointly by University staff, students and businesses at Adastral Park and across the region.

Professor Mohammad Dastbaz, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Suffolk said, “In a rapidly developing technological age, we want the DigiTech Centre to be a state of the art ‘solution centre’ for SMEs and other businesses as well as research and knowledge transfer hub.  The Centre will have state of the art specialist laboratories in AI, Data Science, Network Security and Cyber range and will make Suffolk a recognised destination for industry-focused ICT and Digital Creative study programmes and an internationally recognised destination for continuous professional development in digital technologies. This new initiative will play an important role in our region and nationally and we are pleased that students at the University will benefit from the partnership with BT and state-of-the-art facilities.”

Adastral Park is BT’s global Research and Development centre and has played a pivotal role in telecommunications research, such as the commercialisation of single-mode optical fibre, and the recent development of the world’s first quantum networks.

Lisa Perkins, Adastral Park and research realisation director at BT, said:  “This is a major milestone for us at Adastral Park as this new centre will help supply a rich pipeline of new technology talent, which will not only be of huge benefit to BT, but also the entire region.”

C-J Green, Chair of New Anglia LEP, said, “This is a stunning facility and one which will help supply the skilled workforce demanded by our fast-growing and high-value digital tech sector. Ipswich is recognised as having a vibrant digital creative hub and students at the DigiTech Centre will have the opportunity to become part of the Adastral Park community. This investment will nurture skills, create jobs and increase growth and productivity in a sector that underpins the Norfolk & Suffolk economy.”

The DigiTech Centre has several facilities which span both the University’s Waterfront campus in Ipswich and BT’s Adastral Park. Adastral Park is home to BT’s Applied Innovation Labs and a cluster of over 100 other high-tech digital and technology companies, Innovation Martlesham.

Nicky Daniels, Head of Innovation Martlesham said, “The University of Suffolk and Innovation Martlesham have a strong relationship and the DigiTech Centre is a fantastic addition, making available cutting-edge digital skill programmes for our companies, who are very active in the information and communications sector.”

To find out more about the DigiTech Centre please visit www.uos.ac.uk/digitech

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