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Major tech boost as Ayrshire named Innovation Region

Ayrshire has been named as a ‘5G Innovation Region’ after beating off stiff competition from across the UK to secure £3.8 million of UK Government

The area is just one of two in Scotland to be successful in the bidding process that will see regions transformed with new cutting-edge 5G and advanced wireless technologies.

The three Ayrshire Councils teamed up with partners University West of Scotland, Ayrshire College, The Scotland 5G Centre and National Manufacturing Institute Scotland to deliver their joint bid to the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT).

After being confirmed as one of ten ‘5G Innovation Regions’ in the UK, the team will use the funding to build on technologies at three of the key strategic Ayrshire Growth Deal sites with The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) Innovation hub located in HALO (Kilmarnock) serving as the catalyst for 5G innovation where testing can happen in a 5G private network environment.

The other three sites are:

Digital Processing Manufacturing Centre (DPMC) at i3 Enterprise Area in Irvine
Aerospace Innovation Hub Prestwick International Airport
Ayrshire Innovation Park, Moorfield, Kilmarnock

The enhanced 5G and wireless coverage will make these key strategic sites even more productive and desirable to investment – helping provide significant economic benefits.

Councillor Marie Burns, Leader of North Ayrshire Council and chair of the Ayrshire Economic Joint Committee, said: “This is fantastic news for Ayrshire and a real coup for the area. There were dozens of applicants for this funding so it is testament to our bid and the work we are doing that we were successful.

“We have been working collaboratively with partners for a number of years and digital innovation is very much at the heart of what we do.

“This initiative will bring startups, industry, and academia together with sustainability and Net Zero at its core.

“Strategic partnerships with The Scotland 5G Centre, National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, University of the West of Scotland, Ayrshire College, and other key institutions underscore our initiative.”

DSIT are awarding over £36 million to regions across the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The successful 5G Innovation Regions will lead on delivering the Government’s vision for communities across the UK to take full advantage of the transformative effect that advanced wireless connectivity and digital technologies can provide – part of our wider ambition to drive telecoms innovation.

Minister of Data and Digital Infrastructure Sir John Whittingdale said:
“We’re channelling millions into local areas to unlock the potential of cutting-edge 5G wireless and digital technologies which will reshape our public services, drive economic growth and boost innovation. This new fund will give local areas from across the country the opportunity to be at the forefront of Britain’s world-leading 5G revolution.

“For instance, by using 5G for farming and creating science parks, we’re not just helping local communities, but also encouraging new ideas all over the UK. This is more than just linking smartphones. It’s about using powerful digital connections to transform various sectors in the economy and the public sector throughout the entire country.”

University of the West of Scotland Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor James Miller said: “As a placemaking university with a firm commitment to our communities, the University of the West of Scotland welcomes today’s announcement, and is looking forward to continuing its role in aligning regional economic partnerships with innovation, resulting in a big win for Ayrshire.”

The Scotland 5G Centre opened their S5GC Innovation Hub at HALO Kilmarnock in March 2022.

Luca Campanalonga, Technical Business Development Manager at The Scotland 5G Centre said: “This is a unique opportunity for the manufacturing industry across Ayrshire region, and we are delighted to be part of this consortium, supporting with the engagement of key stakeholder to encourage Ayrshire businesses to explore 5G and advanced wireless technologies that address key industry challenges using HALO as the regional strategic innovation testbed.”

Ayrshire College Principal and Chief Executive, Angela Cox, said:
“We are absolutely delighted that the consortium has been successful in securing this opportunity for the Ayrshire Region. As a committed regional partner, we are excited about the innovative practice that this will enable for our industry partners, local communities, and our students.”

The Ayrshire 5G team hope to confirm a network provider in the coming weeks.

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