University launches new offer to help businesses harness emerging digital technologies

 A new business-focussed digital innovation offer has been launched by the University of Liverpool to unlock the competitive advantage that emerging technologies can deliver.

The world-leading Russell group institution has designed the service with an ‘industry-first’ approach, to move with the pace and agility which commercial research and development demands.

Staffed by experienced ex-industry executives and world-leading academics, the new service offers frictionless access to cutting-edge technology and laboratory equipment. This removes the barriers to emergent R&D equipment that SMEs would be unable to afford, and which larger corporates may be hesitant to invest in.

The integrated offer complements this with dedicated strategic and technical support to help businesses define and implement industry 4.0 innovation projects which strategically align with their individual commercial objectives.

The industry-facing team will provide guidance to help businesses use technology to accelerate product development, reduce costs and improve productivity, and will facilitate flexible access to the University of Liverpool’s state of the art labs and technology.

It will also provide a ‘one front door’ service for private and public sector organisations to collaborate on research & development projects with world-leading academics in the fields of computer and data science, AI and robotics, and materials chemistry.

The service is led by the commercial teams behind the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) and the Materials Innovation Factory – two of the University’s most successful hubs of industry-academic collaboration.

The offer will be complemented by the launch of the new Digital Innovation Facility (DIF), next year. Based in Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter, DIF is a £12.7million investment co-funded by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, which will provide a new home for world-leading academic research dedicated to maximising the real world impact of emerging technologies.

The Combined Authority funding comes from the Local Growth Fund, which is awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and invested through the Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund.

The digital innovation offer has been launched to make it easy for businesses from any sector to benefit from the University of Liverpool’s world-leading digital innovation resources, expertise and research.

Dr Andrew Levers, Executive Director, Institute of Digital Engineering and Autonomous Systems at the University of Liverpool, said: “The huge disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need for business to be able to adapt and innovate. Digital transformation has a major role to play in building that resilience and helping businesses gain a competitive advantage through smarter, faster and more precise ways of working.

“We want to ensure the ground-breaking research into emerging technologies happening across the University of Liverpool has a meaningful and beneficial commercial impact.

“Our dedicated team, the majority of whom are from industry backgrounds, understand the pace businesses need to work at. They are backed by world class academic minds and the state-of-the-art equipment and facilities to help businesses define and implement projects to capitalise on new technology, reduce costs and improve productivity, no matter what sector they work in.”

The University of Liverpool has a proven track record of helping businesses to transform, and compete by demystifying and accelerating digital innovation.

The VEC has assisted large companies, including Sellafield and Bentley Motors, and hundreds of SMEs and start-ups to explore and adopt new digital technologies for a decade.

The Materials Innovation Factory, established in 2017 through a collaboration between the University of Liverpool and Unilever, and backed by UK government investment,  provides industry with open access to one of the highest-concentrations of materials science robotics, automation technologies, and data-driven AI and machine learning .

For more information on the University of Liverpool’s digital innovation offer, please visit