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The DIGIT Deal Roundup Column | March 2021

David Paul

,

deal roundup

March 2021 was a busy month for business in Scotland, with deals and investment from firms like Cyan, Skyrora, LumiraDx and Cumulus Oncology.

Funding and Investment

Swipii

Swipii deal roundup

Glasgow-based tech startup Swipii has launched its first-ever crowdfund as it seeks to quadruple its business network to help power the Shop Local recovery last month.

Hosted by Crowdcube, the firm is seeking £750,000 to accelerate expansion plans and extend the number of local businesses they work with, to support high streets across the country as they start to reopen.

Investors can invest from as little as £10.02 and Swipii say they will donate £5 to Social Bite for every investment of £250 or more, to help fund their mission of ending homelessness through social enterprise cafes.

Since launching the app in 2018, Swipii says it has helped 100 businesses, predominantly in Scotland, to “increase customer engagement and spend,” while also saving shoppers money.

Commenting on their previous work, the firm said its personalised offers have “seen participating businesses increase customer spend by 16%”.

The company is currently working with British BIDs to roll out the service to hundreds more businesses across the country as lockdown begins to ease.

Commenting on the funding round, Louis Schena, Swipii co-founder and CEO said: “Local independent businesses form the backbone of our economy.

“The unfortunate truth is they are decades behind online businesses and big corporations when it comes to the technology they have and as a result are at a significant disadvantage. Covid has widened this disadvantage and our mission is to level the playing field as markets open up!

“This crowdfund will allow us to ramp up our expansion plans and give investors the opportunity to back local and become part of our growth journey.”

You can read the full article here.


Continulus

deal roundup

It was a strong month for online video learning platform Continulus, which secured £500,000 in funding from a consortium of UK investors.

Launched by an A&E doctor, the Glasgow-headquartered firm provides best learning practice to medical professionals and boasts users in 89 countries.

The firm films courses and conferences from around the world, making them available to view online for users, and delivers fortnightly webinars for health practitioners working in acute and critical care specialities.

Continulus said the funding boost will be used to strengthen its management team and enhance the company’s tech capacity to further support global expansion.

Commenting on the investment, Continulus Founder and Chief Executive Dr Eoghan Colgan, said: “With existing users in 89 countries and growing, our long-term aim is to become one of the leading global healthcare education providers and to form a worldwide network that can be used to address global healthcare challenges.

“This investment represents a major step forward in fulfilling our ambitions.”

He added: “Both the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change are important factors in our growth since Continulus gives all our users online access to conferences, lectures and events at which, previously, professionals would have had to be physically present.”

Graham McDonald, former Head of Global Private Equity at Aberdeen Standard Investments who led the investment consortium, said: “It is exciting to be shortening the knowledge translation gap from high-impact evidence-based research to frontline practice by bringing together the leading researchers and subject experts onto one platform, with Continulus facilitating this global network.”

Continulus already has global partnerships with a range of medical bodies, including the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses.

The company recently entered a marketing partnership with EB Medicine, an education provider for doctors with 65,000 members in emergency medicine in the USA.

Dr Colgan, who continues to work in the A&E at Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary, added: “Our partnerships are an endorsement of the work we are doing in acute and critical care specialities where we will be providing a package of lectures, multi-camera tutorials and podcasts by the world’s most authoritative experts.”

You can read the full article here.


ClinSpec Diagnostics

ClinSpec deal roundup

Glasgow-based liquid biopsies developer for early detection of cancer, ClinSpec Diagnostics, reached its £3.5m investment target after a second major funding round in March.

The Strathclyde University spinout has secured £1.1m in investment from Norcliffe Capital Limited, the University of Strathclyde, Eos Advisory and the founders.

It gained its first-round investment (£2.4m) in 2020, led by Mercia’s EIS Funds with Scottish Enterprise, profit with purpose investor SIS Ventures, as well as Eos Advisory and the University of Strathclyde. The firm says it can now use the funds to help develop new technologies.

ClinSpec Dx’s liquid biopsy blood test is fast, inexpensive, and easy to carry out, using tech based on the research of Dr Matthew Baker. Through a combination of infra-red light and artificial intelligence, its ‘drop, dry, detect’ technology provides results in minutes.

Mark Hegarty, CEO at ClinSpec Dx, commented: “Achieving the £3.5m target enables us to accelerate our plans. We will shortly complete our move into new lab and office facilities and increase staffing to 15, bringing forward key operational and commercial appointments.

“Our two clinical studies on detection of brain cancer have been successful and papers are in draft for publication over the next six months.

“This, plus the development of our multi-cancer platform covering the most common cancers, will form the bedrock for Series A investment in 2022, with the target of commercial launch in 2024.

“We are also delighted to have further strengthened our leadership team by the appointment of Prof David Onions of Norcliffe Capital to the Board of Directors.”

ClinSpec Dx has raised £5.1 million to date, including a first-round of seed funding in 2019. The firm has also gained grant funding from the Higgs EDGE Special Award, and from Innovate UK through the precision medicine accelerator fund.

You can read the full article here.


Cumulus Oncology and LDC

deal roundup

Edinburgh-based pharmaceutical firm Cumulus Oncology has entered into a strategic partnership with Germany’s Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC), based in Dortmund.

The collaboration agreement enables EOS backed Cumulus and LDC to boost the discovery and development of novel oncology therapies.

Both organisations will target assets in the oncology area for collaboration and potential future company co-creation while allowing “wider access to funding partners and other global collaboration partners”. LDC also has alliances in place with AstraZeneca, Bayer, and Merck.

Commenting on the collaboration, Alan Wise, Chairman and Co-Founder of Cumulus, said: “This strategic partnership with one of the leading drug discovery centres in Europe provides a unique opportunity for Cumulus Oncology to fuel its pipeline of next-generation novel oncology assets.”

Clare Wareing, CEO and Co-Founder of Cumulus, said: “We are very much looking forward to working with our colleagues at LDC to the mutual benefit of both our organisations and ultimately to the benefit of the cancer research community, in particular the patients dealing with a cancer diagnosis.”

Bert Klebl, CEO and chief science officer of LDC, said: “We anticipate that joining forces with Cumulus Oncology will leverage early-stage novel oncology approaches from our research networks, turning these early-stage assets into true innovations in cancer research and therapies.”

This new partnership is the next in a series of successes for the firm over the last year. Cumulus secured a £1.7 million investment round led by Eos Advisory last July and in September founded its first spin-out, Modulus Oncology, alongside the University of Sheffield.

The firm said the funding would enable it to take advantage of what it described as “significant market opportunities in Europe”.

You can read the full article here.


Scottish EDGE

deal roundup

The Scottish EDGE funding programme has received a record 305 applications to join its latest round, an increase of 24%.

The 17th round of EDGE in May will see the applicants competing for direct cash funding, along with training and support from several partner organisations.

In addition, female co-founders represented 57% of applications for the current round.

CEO of Scottish EDGE Evelyn McDonald said: “We’re encouraged to see so many applications, particularly after such a challenging time for the business ecosystem in Scotland. With almost half of this round’s applications coming from pre-trading business, we’re seeing that familiar trend of innovation born amidst crisis.

“Job losses and lack of employment have encouraged many to make the entrepreneurial leap, including a disproportionate amount of women, and what we’re also seeing across the applications are companies positioned to address many of the issues that have been thrown up by the pandemic.”

Launched in 2013, Scottish EDGE has awarded over £16 million in grants and loans while supporting over 420 companies.

The social enterprise is supported by the Hunter Foundation, Royal Bank of Scotland, the Scottish Government, and Scottish Enterprise.

Companies who have won grants and loans in previous EDGE rounds include Guy & Beard, which repurposes shipping containers as barbershops in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and Start-up Drinks Lab, which helps drink brands innovate from development to branding or “concept to shelf”.

You can read the full article here.


Cyan Forensics

deal roundup

Scottish technology firm Cyan Forensics received more than £5 million in funding for its software that helps find and block digital content from paedophiles and terrorists.

The Edinburgh-headquartered company held an investment round, led by Par Equity, alongside existing investors Mercia, Triple Point, SIS Ventures, Scottish Enterprise and the MacLeod Family Trust.

The new round of funding brings the total support date for the company to £8m, all of which will accelerate Cyan’s plan for global growth over the next two years.

Company chief executive Ian Stevenson said: “Our technology is already making a significant impact within counter-terror and child sexual abuse investigations in the UK, and we’re excited to build on this momentum in mainland Europe and the US.

“We’ve built a great network of partners to support our ambitious growth plans, and our team will double in size during each of the next two years to support this growth.

Paul Munn, managing partner at Par Equity, said: “The funding will help Cyan scale up, strengthen their position in global markets and build out further applications for the contraband filter technology in social media, cloud and other online use cases.

“As an active seed to Series A investor, backing the best technology companies in the North of the UK, Cyan is in the sweet spot for us, and we’re excited about what the future holds.”


Orbex and Skyrora

Scottish Space Firms deal roundup

Two Scottish space firms received £8.5 million from the European Space Agency (ESA) to boost the production of space technologies.

Funding will be split between the two firms, with £6 million going to orbital launch services company Orbex and £2.5 million to Edinburgh-based Skyrora. Both companies will begin launch services for the ESA in 2022.

The Scottish space firms are gaining the fund through the ESA’s Boost! initiative, which provides co-funding, project guidance and access to testing facilities to entrepreneurs from EU member states who are developing new space-based tech.

Orbex received the largest Boost! award so far to support the development of their Prime launch vehicle which will send small satellites into orbit from its Space Hub Sutherland in 2023.

The Prime rocket is being built in Orbex’s Forres design and manufacturing site which currently employs 40 people and is looking to expand further to cater to the growing market for UK launch.

Skyrora said it intends to use the funding to complete the development of its Skyrora XL launch vehicle which will carry small satellites into orbit. The firm says this will trigger “onward job creation” across the UK’s space, manufacturing and engineering sectors.

The funding will also enable Skyrora and Orbex to benefit from ESA’s facilities, technical teams and business networks.

Commenting on the award, Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “The UK’s space industry is thriving and we have bold ambitions to be Europe’s leading destination for small satellite launches, developing world-class commercial spaceflight capability up and down the country.

“Today’s funding for two of our most innovative space businesses is not only a step forward for UK spaceflight, but it will also help to create highly skilled jobs and local opportunities as we build back better from the pandemic.”

Ian Annett, Deputy CEO of the UK Space Agency, said: “This funding is great news for the UK space sector and will ensure companies such as Orbex and Skyrora really are at the forefront of the European space industry.

“This support to our thriving space sector, alongside our flexible regulations and strong international agreements, means the UK is well placed to benefit from the new commercial opportunities UK launch will bring.”

You can read the full article here.


Flex Marine Power, Impact Recycling and SPRCOE

deal roundup

The UK Government has chosen three Scottish sustainable tech firms to share part of a £27 million investment package for several UK projects.

Scotland’s projects are among 19 from across the UK which have received government funding as part of its Sustainable Innovation Fund (SIF), which is delivered by Innovate UK.

Totalling £200m, the fund helps to boost companies recovering from the coronavirus pandemic and ensures that innovative ideas led by such firms are not lost. It is also aimed at supporting the UK’s goals to cut carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050.

Westminster’s latest funding forms part of a wider £750m package of grants and loans announced last April, which sits alongside the £500m Future Fund that provides match-funding to private investors.

The Scottish Government announced in January this year that it would be releasing a major £1.1 billion funding package to support jobs and skills in Scotland and to help the country’s economy recover post-Covid, as well as £1 million in funding, also announced in January, being made available to stimulate innovation in public transport tech solutions in Scotland.

Scottish firms included in the latest funding split include Glasgow-based Flex Marine Power, which has been awarded £1.86m to develop its 50kW SwimmerTurbine tidal turbine. The firm hopes to support UK ambitions to harness the country’s ‘abundant’ tidal resource for power generation and make it more commercially feasible.

Two Linlithgow-based businesses were also awarded part of the funding – medical waste specialist Impact Recycling got £2.98m, while recycled content verification firm SPRCOE received £752,876.

Commenting on the funding, UK Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Reaching our net-zero goal will mean harnessing the innovation and creativity of entrepreneurs across the country, which is why I am thrilled to see Innovate UK backing these excellent projects across the UK.

“It is precisely this kind of ingenuity which will help us to build back greener from the pandemic.”

Simon Edmonds, deputy executive chair and chief business officer at Innovate UK said: “UK innovators have risen to the challenge of the pandemic to come up with big, bold ideas to help the economy roar back in a sustainable way.

“By supporting enterprise and academia all over the country, Innovate UK is backing not only business but our net-zero goals.”

You can read the full article here.


LumiraDx

deal roundup

Life sciences firm LumiraDx will lead the development of the hub and has announced a £78 million investment in its current Scottish operations.

Supported by a £15 million grant from Scottish Enterprise, the posts will be located at sites across Stirling, Inverness and a new facility currently under construction at Eurocentral, near Glasgow.

LumiraDx has over 1,200 global employees with operations in Scotland, England, the USA, most European countries, Japan, South Africa and Latin America.

The firm currently has five sites across Scotland with a total of 579 employees.

LumiraDx, whose rapid antigen test for coronavirus is currently being used by the NHS, said the new jobs will scale up manufacturing, as well as the development of a range of other tests.

A total of 510 new posts will be generated over the next three years as a result of the investment. Long-term, the firm is hopeful this could rise to more than 750 new posts.

Up to 80% of the healthcare products manufactured by the firm will be for the export market, including the USA, Europe, and Japan.

LumiraDx Chief Executive Ron Zwanziger said: “Implementing reliable Covid-19 diagnostic testing programs, that provide rapid results with minimum false negatives, is critical to safely reopening the economy.

“We are pleased to contribute to Scotland’s health and economic growth, now and beyond the pandemic.

“We are also delighted to be increasing our footprint in Scotland and expanding the country’s life sciences industry. Next-generation point of care testing technology can help to transform healthcare systems.

“It’s an exciting undertaking, and we know to do this quickly and to do it well we need the right infrastructure in place and access to incredible talent to drive this development. Scotland has both. We are proud to be investing in the country, and its communities and grateful to Scottish Enterprise for their support through this grant.”

You can read the full article here.


The Digital Xtra Fund

Digital Xtra Fund

Last month, the Digital Xtra Fund, a Scottish digital skills charity for young people, opened funding applications for this year’s grants programme.

A total of £75,000 is being offered to extracurricular digital technologies activities across Scotland. Organisations, including UK-registered companies, charities, chartered bodies, local authorities, schools, colleges, or universities, can apply for grants from a minimum of £500 to a maximum of £5,000.

The grants programme is open to schools and organisations that encourage young people to learn digital skills and ultimately pursue a career in tech. Supported activities must be delivered between 1 July 2021 and 30 June 2022 and delivered entirely in Scotland. Activities must also focus on engaging young people aged 16 and under.

This year, the grants programme will also include at least two grants focused specifically on cybersecurity skills funded by the Scottish Government under the cyber resilience strategy.

Applications are open until 14:00 on 22 April 2021.

Digital Xtra Fund Partnerships & Development Manager Kraig Brown said: “2020 was a year like no other. The impact of lockdown, homeschooling and the mass-adoption of online services at an unprecedented rate highlighted how integral digital technology has become in our daily lives.

“It is an essential tool, and we must teach all young people how to effectively and safely use this tool or they risk being left behind.

“The ability to get online or use certain programmes and apps is important, however, will these skills be enough? It is imperative we teach young people to also understand and create with technology, not simply use it.

“We must focus on activities and lessons which teach them skills such as computational thinking, the design process, resilience and, perhaps most importantly, we need to do this in a fun and exciting way to inspire their creativity as well.

“The ability to tailor extracurricular activities makes them an ideal medium to engage young people in tech as was highlighted in the 2020 Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review. Within the Education and Talent stream, the role of extracurricular activities was identified as a key element to widening the talent pipeline.”

You can read the full article here.


Deals and Partnerships

Stellium Datacenters

deal roundup

Stellium Datacenter’s latest internet exchange goes live as part of a £250,000 network expansion delivered by PlanNet21 UK and Agile Networks.

Indigenous technology services provider, PlanNet21 UK and its Juniper networking integration subsidiary, Agile Networks announced the completion of a network expansion project for Stellium Datacenters, the UK’s largest purpose-built data centre campus, located in Newcastle.

The project involves an investment by Stellium of £250,000 in its core datacentre network and sees the establishment of the Newcastle Internet Exchange (NCL-IX), a neutral, not-for-profit exchange offering internet speeds of up to 100 Gigabit to ISPs, content providers, social media companies and financial services organisations.

The service expansion adds high-quality connectivity to Stellium’s local, national, and global fibre networks and complements its existing cloud, co-location and data centre services.

Stellium boasts the UK’s only cable landing station for the new North Sea Connect cable. In bypassing London, Newcastle is effectively closer to New York than the capital is and serves as an effective aggregation point between the US, EMEA and the Nordics.

Commenting on the deal, Gerry Murray, chief communications officer with Stellium said: “The project enables a key part of our business strategy to turn Stellium into a major critical national infrastructure provider and data hub for the UK.

“We now have a 10 and 100 Gigabit capability in our core network for metro ethernet and ISP services and the upgrade of our upstream links to key network providers increases the availability of bandwidth to our clients.

“This has had a significant commercial benefit to us in the form of reduced transit and peering costs, which have fallen by almost 70%,” he said.


Embrace The Space

deal roundup

A guide to social media written during the Covid-19 lockdown is one of only two books by Scottish authors to make the 2021 Business Book Awards shortlist.

‘Embrace The Space – Inspirational Insight From A Decade Of Delivering Social Media Training’ is the debut effort from Largs-based Gary Ennis and Colin Kelly from Renfrewshire.

The title was released in August and has featured regularly in Amazon’s ‘Small Business Marketing’ top 10 ever since, grabbing the #1 Best-Seller spot on more than one occasion.

Commenting on the book’s unexpected recognition, Ennis said: “There were close to 300 books in the running and Colin and I were watching the live stream just for fun. We were up against some well established authors from major publishers all over the UK so we thought there was no way they would put us forward. It is fantastic and we are delighted.”

‘Embrace The Space’ will compete against seven other books in the “Sales and Marketing Category” at the Business Book Awards finals which will take place in May, and is still a possible contender for the overall “Best Book” prize. Ennis said he hopes the book’s “down to earth, practical approach” will help it stand out, and help more business owners who read it.

“Officially this is a business book, but lots of the reviews we’ve had on Amazon say it doesn’t come across like a typical business book,” he said.

“We’ve deliberately written it in the style of our face to face social media training workshops. It’s conversational and tries to capture the interaction Colin and I always have when we are together in a busy room with the business owners who come to our training.”

With Covid-19 lockdown, that sort of interaction hasn’t been possible for the last 12 months and co-author Colin Kelly says the book includes sections aimed at helping those who’ve had to adapt because of the pandemic.

Kelly commented: “We didn’t finish writing the book until late summer and by then we had seen examples of businesses which had successfully become more digital and truly ‘embraced’ everything we’re talking about.

“Whatever sector you are in and whatever size you are, we think you’ll find something of value in here.”

Atholl Duncan’s ‘Leaders In Lockdown’ is the only other title, written by a Scot to make the shortlist. Both books share a common goal of helping businesses and their leaders to embrace change, improve their communications, and to get better at using digital tools and social media platforms, while not forgetting the personal human touch when doing business.


Highland Council and North

deal roundup

A new £400k project is set to transform schools, care homes, leisure centres and council offices into smart buildings across the Scottish Highlands was announced in March.

The project will be implemented by Highland Council and IoT provider, North.

By using Scotland’s National IoT network, IoT Scotland, along with smart sensors to collect data, the project will gain insights on council buildings including CO2 levels, temperature and humidity, ventilation, electricity consumption and light levels.

The data will be used by the council within its data analytics platform to reduce costs and carbon emissions, whilst improving the environment for young people, elderly care home residents, members of the local community, and council staff.

Serving a third of Scotland’s total land area, Highland Council is responsible for many remote buildings which can now be monitored from a centralised point across the IoT network – reducing unnecessary journeys and enabling better use of resources.

The Highland Council’s Chair of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee and Chair of the Council’s Climate Change Working Group, Trish Robertson, said: “We are delighted to be working with North on a Smart Building – Smart Cities project which has been procured with the assistance of funding from the European Rural Development Fund (ERDF).

“North has supplied us with a large number of monitoring devices which will allow us to monitor activity in our large estate, and inform decisions on how to manage our buildings in a more energy-efficient way. Alongside the hardware supplied, North has also been very proactive in supplying training and technical support to our project team.”

North is delivering the project across all Highland Council buildings, with the council able to self-install pre-configured IoT sensors to monitor and gather data on building and room usage. To do this, the company has supplied its data enablement platform to help the council and its partners model building use, identify issues and deliver a more comfortable environment whilst controlling costs.

Scottish Government Connectivity Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Across the Highlands, the Scottish Government-funded IoT Scotland network offers a range of cost-effective sensor solutions which has a massive impact on public service delivery in some of the remotest parts of Scotland.

“Through this unique partnership with Highland Council, this smart building project not only improves ongoing maintenance and helps monitor running costs. More importantly, this ensures council buildings and their services will be safe for people to use and access.

“Digital connectivity as critical national infrastructure plays a fundamental role in Scotland’s economic and social recovery post-Covid-19. By expanding this digital sensor network, we continue to protect people’s health at work, home or school, especially those who are most vulnerable.

“This is a great opportunity for Highland Council to embrace future-proofed Internet of Things (IoT) and data-driven technologies, and as we move towards becoming a carbon-neutral nation, applications like this will help reduce our carbon footprint, paving a way for Scotland to meet its green energy low carbon ambitions.

“As a direct result of better connectivity, I’m delighted to see the range of lasting benefits this project will bring to the Highlands and my thanks go to all our partners in making this happen.”

You can read the full article here.


Heriot-Watt and ASML

deal roundup

A new partnership between Heriot-Watt researchers and a major international supplier to the semiconductor industry could drive the advancement of new light source technologies.

The five-year collaboration with ASML will see research pioneered by Heriot-Watt’s Professor John Travers help create a direct route from lab to market for new laser technologies.

Heriot-Watt University said the partnership demonstrates its expertise in attracting industry collaborations and overseas investment into some of its cutting-edge academic research.

Hein Otto Folkerts, vice-president within Development and Engineering at ASML, said: “ASML has a long tradition of close partnerships with academia. Our collaboration with Professor Travers and Heriot-Watt University will complement ASML’s research agenda, supporting our technology roadmap.

“This group at Heriot-Watt is one of the leading groups in the world working on these kind of light sources and has a track record on innovations.”

David Richardson, Chief Entrepreneurial Executive at Heriot-Watt University, added: “The work of Professor Travers and his team is hugely important to the advancement of light source and sensor technology.

“Through collaborations of this type, Heriot-Watt University can create greater cohesion between academic disciplines, industry partners and the global community.”

The partnership has led to the creation of a new lab at Heriot-Watt that will accelerate the industrialisation of fundamental physics research.

You can read the full article here.


The Scotland 5G Centre

deal roundup

A new Scotland 5G Centre Innovation Hub based in Dundee will join the country’s £4-million national network, the Scotland 5G Centre has announced.

Innovation and growth in the games, virtual reality, and interactive entertainment sector will be supported through the centre, which will also co-develop solutions for diverse sectors such as healthcare and manufacturing.

The Dundee hub will also work in partnership to create new tools and services to combat cybercrime activities.

The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC), in partnership with Abertay University, Dundee City Council and infrastructure experts Scottish Futures Trust will establish the hub to accelerate innovation and investment in the city.

Scottish Connectivity Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Dundee has already established a dynamic technology-based economy and the Scottish Government’s investment of £4m through the S5GCConnect programme is providing the support to drive next-generation businesses in this sector. More widely, it will also create opportunities for the many SMEs across the city, including those in the services and public sectors.

“This 5G Innovation Hub will support job creation, investment and skills development in key sectors where Dundee already excels, and crucially, it will support innovation in healthcare and manufacturing.”

The launch is part of the S5GConnect programme, which aims to deliver a network of hubs to drive economic growth across Scotland, as part of the Scottish Government 2020/21 Programme for Government.

The Dundee hub will work with regional businesses and provide access to a 5G development platform, driving even more investment and interest to the area.

Experts from the Scotland 5G Centre will lead work in the new hub in collaboration with Abertay University’s Emergent Technology Centre and the InGAME R&D centre, with the physical site location due to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

CEO at The Scotland 5G Centre Paul Coffey said: “Dundee has a proud track record of partnership working with established tech networks to enable the city to flourish. The local team at the 5G innovation hub will support organisations, networks and communities to get involved in the acceleration of 5G deployment at an earlier stage.

“We will work closely with the city’s games industry to enable organisations to harness the many opportunities that 5G offers, such as truly simultaneous gameplay.”

You can read the full article here.


Creative Digital Initiative

deal roundup

Unveiled in March, the Creative Digital Initiative aims to help fine-tune digital capabilities across the creative sector in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The programme has been developed as part of a collaboration between Scotland’s enterprise agencies – which includes Scottish Enterprise and Business Gateway – Skills Development Scotland, Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government.

Aimed primarily toward small- and medium-sized firms, the programme will provide grants to help creative businesses improve their digital skills and capabilities.

Grant funding support will be offered to companies across Scotland via Scottish Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise, HIE and Digital Boost.

Workshops and mentoring programmes will also be available for cultural organisations and artists, the Scottish Government confirmed. This will see up to 20 creative businesses and cultural organisations

Commenting on the launch of the initiative, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we work and creative and cultural businesses in particular have shown great innovation over the last year, exploring new ways to reach out to and engage with people.

“This programme will provide support to small and medium-sized creative and cultural businesses to help them continue to build their digital capacity and provide the tools needed to respond to the limitations they currently face.”

Iain Munro, CEO of Creative Scotland, hailed the initiative as a positive step to help creative businesses weather the lasting impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “Imagination, inspiration, skill and expertise are vital constants at the heart of the work of Scotland’s creative community. Developing and utilising digital capabilities is now more important than ever to creative practices.

“The Creative Digital Initiative will support artists and creatives to engage with audiences and sustain creative development through digital platforms and channels, as the sector continues to adapt in the face of the ongoing challenges brought about by Covid-19.”

You can read the full article here.


The University of Edinburgh and the Hartree Centre

deal roundup

Two leading supercomputing facilities in the UK will collaborate on a new national computing competence centre as part of a Europe-wide network.

The University of Edinburgh’s Supercomputing Centre (EPCC) will work with the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Hartree Centre on the EuroCC@UK project, forming part of a wider network of more than 30 facilities funded by the European Commission.

According to the university, the EuroCC network aims to “advance supercomputing and AI research and innovation” across Europe, and “enhance connections” with industry, academia and the public sector.

It will run “collaborative programmes to facilitate the sharing of best practice, expertise and excellence in advanced computing”.

The UK centre will focus on improving the use and uptake of AI tech, high-performance computing and data analytics in industry and education.

Commenting on the collaboration, Professor Mark Parsons, Director of EPCC, said: “The UK has worked successfully with HPC centres across Europe for many years.

“Most recently this has been through the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe, where EPCC and the Hartree Centre have represented the UK for the past decade.

“The new network of National Competence Centres in HPC being established by the EuroCC project continues and grows this successful collaboration with our European counterparts and also the collaboration between EPCC and the Hartree Centre.”

Researchers will develop training, software support, and industry engagement programmes to aid businesses with knowledge and skills to deal with the vast amounts of data created as industries become more tech-focused.

The centre will also focus on helping small companies benefit from these technologies.

Alison Kennedy, Director of the Hartree Centre, said: “The National Competence Centre allows the UK to contribute to, and to learn from, international best practice in supporting the wider uptake of high-performance computing, high-performance data analytics and AI by industry and academia.

“With the increase in UK investment in computing e-infrastructure, the findings will enable the UK to better target our resources to make the most effective use of the new capacity for economic and societal benefit.”

You can read the full article here.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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