Mayor Steve Rotheram visits Digital Innovation Facility

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, visited the Digital Innovation Facility (DIF) to hear about their achievements, experience some of the technologies they are developing and discuss opportunities to boost the city region’s digital and AI capabilities.

Supported by the University and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Local Growth Fund, the DIF provides a platform for the development and industrial application of next-generation digital technologies for industry and the public sector.

Since it opened more than 18 months ago, the DIF has supported more than 100 collaborations, attracted more than £5m investment and helped establish the UK’s first National Centre for Digital Heritage Research.  Through  programmes led by the VEC (Virtual Engineering Centre), co-located in the facility, hundreds of SMEs across the Liverpool City Region (LCR) have been able to access business innovation support.

The Mayor toured the facility and met with the team from the Digital Media Society Institute (DMSI) where he was given a demonstration of the Meta-Liverpool map – an exciting city scale digital asset and policy modelling tool. He also learnt about the work being undertaken in the Autonomous Chemistry lab, which is accelerating the use of autonomous robotics in chemistry.

Professor Andy Levers, Executive Director of the Institute of Digital Engineering and Autonomous Systems (IDEAS), said: “It was great to have the opportunity to update the Mayor on our work to date and discuss opportunities to build on this success, deepen our partnership and ensure the Liverpool City Region benefits from AI and digital.”

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Advances in science and technology are changing the way we see and interact with the world around us – and I want to utilise our region’s strengths to position us as a leader in these emerging technologies.

“With the right guardrails in place, AI has the potential to transform our area for the better, to create thousands of well-paid, highly skilled jobs and training opportunities, to revolutionise our public services and change our communities for the better.

“I’ve made no secret of my ambition to make our area one of the most successful, innovative city regions in the UK – and we are fortunate to be home to some of the greatest assets in research and innovation that will help to turn that vision into a reality.”

A Centre of Excellence in emerging digital technologies, the DIF is home to six state of the art laboratories across multiple technology areas including visualisation, robotics, artificial intelligence, data science, simulation and modelling.

IDEAS is the parent institute of the DIF and the VEC linking University areas of research together with expertise in supporting the adoption of new technologies alongside partners and external commercial businesses.