The creation of the UK’s first National Robotarium is one step closer following a significant milestone today.
The business case for the centre was approved by the Edinburgh and South East of Scotland City Region Deal Joint Committee at a hearing on 17th December.
The multi-million-pound innovation hub, which is due to be built at Heriot-Watt University in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, will be the UK’s leading centre for robotics and autonomous systems.
Cutting-edge robotics research, support for business creation and growth, as well as a focus on data skills, will secure the centre’s place as a leading centre of innovation in the UK.
The new Robotarium plans to build on some of the groundbreaking robotics research already showcased by Heriot-Watt University, which is helping to pioneer manufacturing, healthcare, offshore energy and marine science.
Scheduled to open in 2021, the new hub is a key component of the Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) theme of the City Region Deal that aims to establish the region as the data capital of Europe.
Professor Richard Williams, principal and vice-chancellor of Heriot-Watt University, commented: “I’m delighted to have confirmation of our ambitious plan to develop the UK’s first National Robotarium.
“Its work will be a critical part of establishing Edinburgh as a hub for digital transformation, and assuring its global reputation for innovation. We are looking forward to connecting our universities, business and community partners so Scotland will be at the forefront of developing the future digital economy to serve society’s needs.”
As part of the City Region Deal, the UK and Scottish Government’s plan to invest £300 million each over the next 15 years, with other partners committing to an additional £700 million as part of the investment.
The £1.3 billion investment is expected to generate more than £5 billion worth of Gross Value Added (GVA) over the Deal’s lifespan.
In September, both universities announced a major initiative to tackle the growing digital skills gap across South East Scotland. Plans laid out by the two institutions could help further develop Edinburgh and the surrounding region as a European Data hub.
Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh University will help drive the provision of data science teaching for students across the region and support schools and colleges to provide digital skills training and teaching.