“Our vision is for a Scotland where innovation is an intrinsic part of our culture, our society and our economy. This project will allow academia and businesses to work together to drive innovation. It also enables Scotland to raise the profile of its digital assets across Europe, helping to attract both inward talent and investment while connecting Scotland’s businesses to experts and potential collaborators.” – Innovation Minister Ivan McKee, speaking at the opening ceremony.
Europe’s strategic challenges
With an annual budget of €100 million to drive Europe’s digital transformation, EIT Digital invests to accelerate the market uptake of research-based digital technologies focusing on Europe’s strategic, societal challenges: Digital Industry, Digital Finance, Digital Cities, Digital Wellbeing and Digital Tech. EIT Digital Chief Executive Officer Willem Jonker told an audience of around 100 at the Satellite opening that the challenge was to create a “digital single market” in connecting technology, educational institutions and finance.
Welcoming EIT Digital to his new home in the recently opened Bayes Centre, Senior Vice-Principal Professor Charlie Jeffery said it was right that the first Satellite should be in Scotland and in Edinburgh in particular.
“You’ll be right next door to the country’s leading grouping of Informatics experts and you’ll share space with other Scotland-wide organisations driving innovation, such as Data Lab, also based in Bayes, and Interface, just across the road, the Wayra startup accelerator programme and many more that are part of a thriving innovation ecosystem.” – Senior Vice-Principal Charlie Jeffery
First in UK
EIT Digital is one of eight Innovation Communities of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. It has 10 Co-Location Centres across Europe, including one in London, and the Scottish satellite is the first to be opened in the UK. The EIT Digital Academy breeds entrepreneurial digital talent focused on innovation through a blended Education Strategy that includes a Master School, Doctoral School and Professional School. The Edinburgh Satellite intends to host a new Doctoral Training Centre, with a focus on Fintech, and Cyber Security via a new programme supported by the Scottish Government’s Cyber Resilience Unit and ScotlandIS, plus other areas of national strategic importance.
The doctoral students will be supported by universities across Scotland, with the first expected to start at the University of Edinburgh later in 2019. In anticipation of EIT Digital’s launch in Scotland there has been increased interest in the EIT Digital annual funding round, and it is expected that the Satellite office will stimulate growth in the quantity and quality of collaborative research projects. All projects funded by EIT Digital must be collaborations between at least two countries and must involve an industrial partner. The University of Edinburgh has been a member of EIT Digital for the six years it has had a presence in the UK, and the relationship has grown and deepened throughout that time. Edinburgh Innovations funds the University’s membership of EIT Digital and is meeting the costs of the office space in the Bayes Centre, which will host three full-time EIT Digital staff. EI has also helped throughout with relationship management, such as connecting with industrial partners for the Doctoral Training Centre and negotiations between the University and other stakeholders.