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Innovation Powerhouse opens doors in Leeds

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Dr Chris Ruston, Senior Technologist, Connected Places Catapult Beata Szoboszlai, Academic Engagement Director, Connected Places Catapult Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, University of Leeds Mark Westwood, Chief Technology Officer, Connected Places Catapult Dr Erik Thomasson, Research and Innovation Development Manager, University of Leeds Dr Martin Stow, Chairman and Nexus Director

The Connected Places Catapult, an elite innovation centre set up by the Government’s Innovate UK agency, has opened an office at the University of Leeds new Nexus Hub. The Catapult specialises in bringing together businesses, universities, local authorities and investors to commercialise and exploit innovation for the good of people living in the UK.

The Connected Places Catapult will help Leeds and the Yorkshire region access a £1.5 trillion global market opportunity to develop smart cities and transport technologies, such as self-driving cars. The region’s world leading tech businesses and Local Authorities will also benefit from links to the Catapult’s London, Milton Keynes and Glasgow offices.

Previously the Connected Places Catapult has spearheaded the Digital Infrastructure and Innovation strand of the £700 million Belfast Region City Deal and was responsible for the first public demonstration of a driverless vehicle in the UK, trailblazing a £435million investment in the technology.

The University of Leeds Nexus, where the Catapult will be based, is a hub for the local innovation community which enables businesses from all sectors to connect with the expertise, talent and facilities at the University. The office opening follows the signing of a partnership between the two organisations in 2018.

The Connected Places Catapult’s Chief Technology Officer, Mark Westwood said:
“We are extremely excited to bring our world leading organisation to Leeds. Our vision is for the UK to lead the world in creating cities, towns and places which thrive on their ability to connect people to resources, opportunities, ideas and each other. Where the smooth flow of people, goods, transportation and services, drives economic success, productivity and wellbeing.

“We are here in Leeds to make new market opportunities for businesses and forge closer links between the University and industry. We will also help to ensure the social and environmental benefits of new technologies are fully felt in the region and help create transport networks and strategies fit for the future.”

The Connected Places Catapult is part of an elite network of nine not-for-profit technology and innovation centres, established and overseen by the UK’s innovation agency Innovate UK, which focuses on areas of technology where it is felt the UK can have a global impact.