News - 25 September 2020

D2N2 allocates £800,000 to University’s 5G ‘smart campus’ project

Nottingham Trent University’s plan to create a new ‘smart technologies’ digital infrastructure at its Clifton Campus is to benefit from D2N2 funding.

The Local Enterprise Partnership for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, and Nottinghamshire will invest £800,000 from its Local Growth Fund allocation towards the university’s Smart Wireless Innovation Facility (SWIFt) project.

With a total cost of £1.6m, the project will involve the direct implementation of new 5G connectivity and other network technologies’ connectivity and infrastructure, leading to the creation of over 50 jobs and research opportunities for innovative companies.

The Local Growth Fund enables D2N2 to invest in projects that benefit the local area and economy, supporting greater numbers of jobs, homes, and learners.

The funding injection will allow the university to introduce innovative technology onto the campus to turn the site into a smart and sustainable ‘living laboratory’ for businesses, academics, and policymakers.

The SWIFt project could see the development of a range of innovations on campus, such as intelligent wayfinding and virtual assistants, smart parking and building controls, greater sustainability in catering and enhanced learning for students.

It will also examine the application of 5G and other smart technologies in industry, logistics and agriculture and explore how to create ‘Smart Places’ for the future.

Digital Catapult

The project also partners with the Digital Catapult, the UK’s leading advanced digital technology innovation centre, tasked with accelerating the adoption of new and emerging technologies to drive regional, national, and international growth for UK businesses across the economy.

Digital Catapult designs and delivers specialised innovation programmes that drive UK leadership and economic growth.

The Smart Wireless Innovation Facility, which will be based inside the university’s engineering facility, is expected to be completed by summer 2021.

The scheme is just the latest investment D2N2 has made with Nottingham Trent University and follows the Medical Technology Innovation Facility (MTIF) and Allied Health Care Provision facility operated by the University in Mansfield which between them represent almost £10.3m from the Local Growth Fund.

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Smart Wireless Innovation Facility (SWIFt)

D2N2 Interim Chair David Williams said: “As we recover from the economic hit of Coronavirus, 5G will be a vital stimulus for our businesses and communities and the work that will be carried out at the Smarter Wireless Innovation Facility will have a huge impact on our efforts to rebuild.”

“This project is just the latest in a long line of investments D2N2 has made with Nottingham Trent University to improve the lives of local people and help shape our region bringing more jobs, more homes, and more learners.”

Professor Nigel Wright, NTU’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) said: “This exciting project will not only establish a state-of-the-art facility on our Clifton Campus but also support local and national businesses to develop new products to establish a leading position in new markets.  The total funding of £1.6m will bring benefits for new businesses and employment as our economy recovers from the lockdown.”

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said: “We are determined to level up every region of the country by investing in improving local infrastructure, boosting economic growth and delivering jobs and homes for communities.”

“This investment through our Local Growth Fund will help to make Nottingham Trent University’s campus a smart and sustainable space, creating new jobs and delivering important research opportunities for businesses.”

Dritan Kaleshi, Head of 5G technology and 5G Fellow at Digital Catapult commented: “The cutting edge technologies that SWIFt will provide are going to be of huge benefit to the academic community as well as local businesses and entrepreneurs, furthering the ability of organisations across the East Midlands to test, explore, and create innovative and transformative products and services powered by 5G and IoT.”

“Digital Catapult is one of the UK’s leading technical authorities on 5G, and we’re using our significant expertise in designing and building these important facilities to help create the advanced digital infrastructure the UK needs for continued innovation and growth.”

Councillor David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council and D2N2 Board member said: “This is exciting news for Nottingham Trent University and we look forward to seeing the plans being implemented on the Clifton Campus.”

“Digital innovation is critical to help our economy recover from the Covid pandemic, and this project will provide a real boost for Nottingham. We’ve been at the forefront of digital infrastructure delivery, with some of the best fibre connectivity, and have many businesses in the sector.”

“This smart city campus concept with the 5G technology can build on that Nottingham strength, and support both businesses and residents locally.”

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