NTU to create Smart Wireless Innovation Facility as part of ‘smart campus’ project

Nottingham Trent University’s Clifton Campus will see the implementation of new 5G connectivity and infrastructure as part of a new ‘smart campus’ project.

As well as a new state-of-the-art ‘Smart Wireless Innovation Facility’ (SWIFt) the project will include a range of smart technologies embedded and connected on the campus.

The smart campus project, which will also feature other network technologies, could include intelligent wayfinding, virtual assistants, smart parking and building controls, greater sustainability in catering and enhanced learning for students.

The smart campus will become a ‘living lab’ for researchers, businesses and policymakers and showcase and demonstrate how these technologies can be translated into everyday life.

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

It has been announced that D2N2, the Local Enterprise Partnership for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, and Nottinghamshire will invest £800,000 towards the £1.6m project from its Local Growth Fund allocation.

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

The project partners with the Digital Catapult, the UK’s leading advanced digital technology innovation centre, which accelerates 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.

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.”

The scheme is the latest investment D2N2 has made with Nottingham Trent University and follows the Medical Technologies 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.

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.”

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.”

Councillor David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, 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.”

Work on the Smart Wireless Innovation Facility, which will be based inside the university’s engineering facility, is due to be completed by Summer 2021.