From Quantum technologies to Metaverse experiences

At the recent CAN DO Innovation Summit curated by Glasgow City of Science and Innovation (GCOSI), Innovate UK were invited to host a panel – Glasgow, a city transformed by innovation – with some of the leaders of the Innovation Accelerator funded projects in Glasgow.

Posted on: 07/12/2023
Panel members at the CAN DO Innovation Summit, Glasgow, 2023.

Transformative innovation

Led by Innovate UK on behalf of UKRI, the £100 million Innovation Accelerator is providing a boost across 3 city regions including Glasgow to grow jobs, skills, and the economy. The funding for the Glasgow City Region will help Glasgow realise its ambition to be Scotland’s economic powerhouse and one of the most important centres of research, development, and innovation in the UK.

Chaired by Kezia Williamson, Head of Place at Innovate UK KTN, the panel was made up of Dean Cook, Director of Place and Levelling Up at Innovate UK, Prof Neil McDonnell, Professor of Philosophy and XR Technology at University of Glasgow, Trish Quinn, Strategic Innovation Director at FinTech Scotland, Stephen Fitzpatrick, Director of NMIS Digital Factory and Dr Graeme Malcom OBE, CEO and Founder of M Squared Lasers Ltd.

A diverse but transformative range of projects, from Quantum technologies to Metaverse experiences, sustainable manufacturing to regulatory frameworks, the one key thread linking all these projects together was the convergence of disparate clusters to work together and the convergence around big data. Each of the panel members talked enthusiastically about the opportunities the programme offered for collaboration, sharing of intelligence and resources, with future ambitions to explore further collaborative investment.

The importance of place

Professor Neil McDonnell from University of Glasgow, who recently launched their Museums in the Metaverse programme with funding from the Innovation Accelerator programme, highlighted the benefits of programmes such as these:

It is essential to have Government funding to de-risk these early-stage R&D projects. Levelling up has provided us with the opportunity to develop capacity, purchase equipment and develop partnerships, essential elements that formulate the ground roots of our project.

Dr Graeme Malcolm talked about the importance of place:

Glasgow has such an established heritage of engineering excellence, innovation skills and exporting prowess and the Innovation Accelerator programme brings all of these elements together and builds on them for success.

Working collaboratively

Trish Quinn shared her thoughts on how the collaborative element of the project will be instrumental to the success of the Glasgow Innovation Accelerator projects. Trish said: “At Fintech Scotland we are well connected into the UK Financial Services and Fintech communities. The purpose of our project is to drive innovation and simplify compliance in the world of Financial Regulation and how we use technology to help address this,  a challenge every project will face in its evolution. We are keen to work with the other Glasgow projects to share our knowledge and connections as we will all be facing similar challenges on our journey.”

Stephen Fitzpatrick highlighted that previous R&D projects and funding calls can be focussed on the technical delivery and can become siloed. Stephen celebrated the element of co-creation the Innovation Accelerator programme offered NMIS:

The bringing together of academia, industry, investors, standards bodies and the public sector to tackle the bigger system level challenges.

Next steps

Dean Cook concluded: “This is a pilot programme.  We are on a journey together and are already planning the legacy. What is really exciting is that through co-creation, we have been able to enable some truly innovative R&D and create testbeds for the future. The next stage of the journey will explore regional level co-investment, which will be successful if the partners and projects work collaboratively, and Innovate UK will play a pivotal role in making this happen.”

Read more about the ambitions of the Innovation Accelerators programme.

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Kezia Williamson

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Kezia Williamson

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