£1.2 million funding announced for AI and Data Analysis project to boost local economy

Friday, 20 September 2019

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Oxford Brookes University will receive a share of £20 million from the UK government to help stimulate growth in the local economy, it has been announced today (Friday 20 September).

The investment will see the launch of twenty University Enterprise Zones (UEZs) throughout the UK, which will strengthen collaborative ties between universities and businesses and help small businesses and start-ups to succeed by providing access to space for them to grow, as well as specialist facilities and expertise.

UEZs are specific geographical areas where universities and business work together to increase local growth and innovation.

Oxford Brookes University’s project, the Artificial Intelligence and Data Analysis (AIDA) Incubator, aims to help companies in professional service sectors maximise the value they can gain from the use of these emerging techniques. The AIDA Incubator will target start-ups, scale-ups and established companies to maximise productivity, margins, growth and turnover.

Today’s funding will not only help local scientists take their ideas from lab to market – but will also support an enterprise hub at Oxford Brookes University. Providing space for local businesses to forge crucial partnerships, the UEZs will create jobs, drive local growth and provide SMEs with a vital steppingstone to succeed.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore MP

Professor Nigel Crook, Associate Dean Research and Knowledge Exchange in the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment at Oxford Brookes University, said: “The project calls on our broad expertise across technology and social sciences. It will strengthen the Oxfordshire region’s claims to be one of the world’s leading clusters of AI and Data Tech companies, with researchers developing products and services for the professional services.

“The AIDA Incubator will help companies including, but not limited to, lawyers, human resources, insurance, planners and creative sectors and we will provide them with consultancy, training and contract research.”

The AIDA Incubator is part of Oxford Brookes University’s Ethical AI Institute, a world-class team of AI Researchers, Data Analysts, social scientists and business researchers.

Nigel Tipple, Chief Executive of OxLEP said: “We are delighted to hear that Oxford Brookes University are to receive this funding and it is an announcement that directly aligns with the ambition for the recently launched Oxfordshire Local Industrial Strategy.

“Alongside our many key partners, we have created a highly-ambitious strategy for Oxfordshire to place us at the forefront of a future, globally-facing UK economy, positioning the county as one of the world’s top three ‘innovation ecosystems’ by 2040, led by Oxfordshire’s global strengths in science and technology.

“No other part of the UK has the breadth and depth of assets, knowledge capability, skills and business capacity, which also makes Oxfordshire a leading location for investment, as well as having the genuine ability to attract the world’s most talented people."

Funding for the UEZs has been announced and delivered by Research England, part of UK Research and Innovation.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, and Oxford has a thriving ecosystem of local businesses and entrepreneurs whose creativity and determination help underpin the UK’s position as a leading innovator.

“Alongside this, many of Oxford’s research community are right on the precipice of turning ground-breaking ideas into real products and services which could change the lives not just of people in the local community, but people around the world.

“Today’s funding will not only help local scientists take their ideas from lab to market – but will also support an enterprise hub at Oxford Brookes University. Providing space for local businesses to forge crucial partnerships, the UEZs will create jobs, drive local growth and provide SMEs with a vital steppingstone to succeed.”