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Royal Holloway highlighted in Science and Innovation Audit

  • Date06 October 2017

Innovation South, a consortium of world-class research and innovation in digital technologies that includes Royal Holloway, University of London, is the backbone of UK’s digital economy according to a new government sponsored Science and Innovation Audit (SIA).

Innovation South comprises more than 100 businesses, universities, and local enterprise partnerships covering eight counties across southern England, with a total economic output of £225.3 billion, accounting for 13.7 per cent of UK’s economic output.

machine learning


The audit report just released by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), is one of eight science and innovation audits across the UK designed to help inform government’s investment decisions based on established areas of regional strengths that may stimulate productivity economic growth. It presents evidence to illustrate that the Innovation South area is at the forefront of advances in digital innovations across a wide range of industrial sectors that can transform and improve our daily lives – from augmented reality devices which help train surgeons doing knee replacements to robotic submarines that are helping to combat global warming; from driverless shuttle buses to some of the fastest growing creative digital communities.

Royal Holloway’s expertise across a number of enabling technologies are highlighted in the report, including:

Cyber security – the protection of data from theft, damage or disruption and arguably, the single largest challenge for the world’s growing digital economy. The Information Security Group at Royal Holloway is a GCHQ/EPSRC recognised Academic Centre of Excellence for Cyber Security Research and home to one of only two UK, National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), supported Centres for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security (CDT). In the UK, three of the fourteen universities now recognised by Government as Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research are in Innovation South and Royal Holloway was among the first of these to be recognised.

Big data analytics – the process of collecting, organising, analysing, visualising and optimising large, complex and dispersed data. The Innovation South region has a rich mix of private sector/academic capabilities in Big Data, and Royal Holloway’s specialisms in machine learning - with British Gas among its partners is a particular strength.

Quantum Technology: The pursuit of quantum technologies is a national priority and universities including Royal Holloway are stepping up to the challenge, among key collaborators in the Quantum Technology Hubs. Royal Holloway is currently developing the UK Centre for superconducting and hybrid quantum systems following a £2.7 million research council grant, enabling the installation of a world-leading electron beam-lithography system on the Egham campus to enhance research capabilities.

Professor Paul Hogg, Vice Principal and Dean of Science and Enterprise at Royal Holloway is a strategic steering group member representing Higher Education on the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, which strengthens ties between higher education, businesses and local government, ensuring research and growth opportunities flow from universities to community for the benefit of all in the area.

Professor Hogg said,

“This report highlights that Innovation South is a powerhouse of world class research and innovation in digital enabling technologies with an outstanding track record for turning research into commercial products. We are delighted that Royal Holloway’s world-leading research and innovation strengths feature among the major  contributions to the region and the UK economy that are helping to drive future growth, and create collaborations and jobs.”

Dr Mike Short CBE, Vice President Telefonica, Europe and Chairman of the Innovation South Strategic Steering Group said: “The Science and Innovation Audits are very important to uncover underlying sector strengths in our huge region, and to identify opportunities for better collaboration and sustainable growth across the UK.

“Now that our Audit is complete, our primary focus is on following up with pragmatic steps to progress our partnership and implement the recommendations of the Audit. We are confident that with the great support we have had from Industry, Universities, and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP), we can build on the Audit to maximise opportunities for our region in the future.”

Business Minister Lord Prior added,  “The Science and Innovation Audits highlight the innovative strengths in regions across the UK and the significant growth and investment opportunities they present. Together with our record investment of an additional £4.7 billion for research and development to 2020/21, we are working closely with regional businesses and partners to ensure the ambitions set out in these reports are delivered to maintain our status as a science powerhouse.”

Driving the success of Innovation South

SIA demonstrates that Innovation South stands out in the UK for its expertise across a range of digital enabling technologies, including 5G, Cyber security, Big Data, Photonics and Quantum. The region’s strengths in digital enabling technologies, are commercially applied across four sectors, which include Connected Digital (systems and software development of services and products, including, for example, creative digital media, Smart Cities), Marine and Maritime, Bioscience and Advanced Engineering. The result is a high growth, high value and a highly successful knowledge-based regional economy, with outstanding potential for further innovation and growth – if all assets are successfully integrated.

Innovation South is a national asset, attracting many global corporations to locate their UK and European headquarters. The economic area has the largest share of foreign direct investment projects in the UK, outside of London, with a robust export performance supported by strong links to London and international markets via Channel Tunnel in Kent, Heathrow, Gatwick and Southampton airports, as well as the Port of Southampton. The audit recommends that sustaining the success of Innovation South, and driving its innovation-led productivity even further, is critical to the success of the UK’s digital economy and the nation’s competiveness in global markets.

The SIA report from Innovation South can be downloaded online here 

The research expertise highlighted in the report and attributed to Royal Holloway links to a wide portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses and PhD opportunites in the Faculty of Science  - find out more on our Study here section.

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