£210 million AI and Quantum Computing centre for Liverpool City Region

9th June 2021

A £210m Artificial Intelligence and quantum computing centre is to be created, following investment from IBM and the Government.

The Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation will be based at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Daresbury Laboratory in the Liverpool City Region, creating 60 new jobs.

It’s being set up to support UK businesses and the public sector by reducing the risk of exploring and adopting innovative new digital technologies. It intends to do this by “breaking down practical barriers to innovation such as access to infrastructure or digital skills gaps within their organisation.”

“Artificial intelligence and quantum computing have the potential to revolutionise everything from the way we travel to the way we shop,” said Science Minister Amanda Solloway.

“They are exactly the kind of fields I want the UK to be leading in, and this new centre in the North West is a big step towards that.”

The Government will invest £172m over 5 years through UK Research and Innovation, with an additional £38m coming from IBM. The research is part of IBM’s global Discovery Accelerator initiative, which seeks to accelerate discovery and innovation based on a convergence of advanced technologies by establishing research centres, fostering and enabling collaborative communities, and advancing skills and economic growth in large-scale programs.

HNCDI is set to help organisations in 4 key stages of digital adoption:

  • Providing accessible training and application-focused skills, equipping staff to take full advantage of digital technologies.
  • Exploring and discovering the technologies businesses need to succeed.
  • Turning ideas into practical digital solutions for industry.
  • Identifying and preparing for emerging technologies needed to futureproof the UK economy.

“HNCDI will enable the UK to develop the skills, knowledge and technical capability required to adopt emerging digital technologies, seeding the UK with new ideas and innovative solutions,” explained Professor Mark Thomson, Executive Chair of STFC Hartree Centre.

“The programme has transformative potential to generate long-term GVA for the economy by embedding AI solutions across UK industry. We are applying knowledge from the UK’s strong fundamental research base to develop tools and techniques that address identified industry and public sector needs, improving economic and societal outcomes.”

STFC Hartree Centre will join the IBM Quantum Network, which currently works with more than 150 organisations, including BP and a number of start-ups. They get access to IBM’s premium quantum computers and development tools via the IBM Hybrid Cloud to significantly broaden the scope of problems than can be addressed.

“The world is facing grand challenges which demand a different approach towards science in computing, including AI and quantum computing, to engage a broad community across industry, government, and academia to accelerate discovery in science and business,” added Dario Gil, Senior Vice President and Director, IBM Research.

“This partnership establishes our first Discovery Accelerator in Europe driven by our two UK-based IBM Research locations in Hursley and Daresbury as they contribute to our global mission of building discovery-driven communities around the world.”

IBM has been collaborating with STFC Hartree Centre since 2013.

For more information on Sci-Tech Daresbury click HERE.

9th June 2021