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Meet the Sponsor: Newcastle University

Digital Union are proud to introduce Newcastle University as a Sponsor of DU! Newcastle University is a world-leading university, advancing knowledge, providing creative solutions, and solving global problems.

Find out more about the University and how they work with local businesses and the community...

We’re thrilled to have Newcastle University on board as a Sponsor! What was your motivation for joining Digital Union?

We are open to conversations with businesses of all sizes, especially those in the digital, creative and technological sectors, as to how we may work together, and hope through Digital Union we can connect with more companies to do so, and support the sector to continue to thrive.

This may include collaborative working in which businesses can benefit from Newcastle University research and support, access to University facilities, or placements or graduate jobs for our students.


The University has done a lot of work to promote and facilitate innovation in the North East, including the launch of the Arrow Project. What is the Arrow Project, and how can businesses get involved?

The Arrow project offers FREE access to Newcastle University academic and research expertise for North East based SMEs, working in specific sectors including creative digital and technology.

Whether it’s research into new products, processes or services the Arrow project matches academics, innovators with North East SMEs, charities and CICs to speed up innovation. Find out more at


The National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD) will move into its new home The Catalyst at Newcastle Helix soon. What has been Newcastle University’s role in NICD? And how can businesses work with them?

The global economy is undergoing a data-driven revolution. Exponential growth in the volume of personal and professional data is raising huge new opportunities and challenges for organisations and individuals. Properly processed and analysed, data can lead to radical innovations, enabling significant value creation.

Building on our world-leading research and teaching programme around data, Newcastle University was delighted to be awarded the National Innovation Centre for Data by UK Government. Although NICD is powered by Newcastle University, it’s important that we think of, and describe it, as a national asset.

NICD runs flexible rolling programme of collaborative projects with the team providing the leadership and continuity for projects and partnerships. The key is that NICD helps companies to develop new skills and insights. The result is to increase productivity by optimising existing operations, and to grow by launching new data-driven products and services.

As well as teams co-locating with NICD, as either project partners or tenants, there will be a busy programme of events at The Catalyst including workshops, hacks and networking.


What is Newcastle University doing to tackle the ‘Skills Gap’ issue?

Newcastle University has been working with businesses to embrace new ways employees and employers can access learning, especially in key areas where skills gaps have been identified. We have launched three new Degree Apprenticeship programmes in Power Engineering, and in Digital Technology with specialisms in Data Analytics or Cyber Security, with a third specialism in Software Engineering being planned for next year. Businesses can upskill employees, equipping them with digital skills needed in the workplace, and enabling them to tackle to challenges of today’s increasingly digitised world.

Organisations can also upskill their staff with CPDs which include access to modules on Newcastle University degrees, or creating completely bespoke CPDs to respond to the organisation’s specific needs. An example of this is the newly launched Health Informatics CPD for healthcare professionals, sessions to prepare medical and healthcare staff for the digital future of the NHS.


What is the vision for the future? How do you see Newcastle University growing as a hub for innovation, research and business?

There are a few different aspects to our vision for the future.

The on-going development of Newcastle Helix as a place where businesses, large and small, come together with researchers and innovators is key. 2020 will see more companies moving onto the site which opens up more opportunities for collaboration and innovation.

Similar to Helix is the General Hospital site that we bought earlier this year. The proposal is for a mixed-use development covering the 29 acre site incorporating elderly care, research facilities and a zone for housing and business development.

We’d like to grow our work with business in every way possible but one particularly exciting opportunity is a KTP.

A KTP – Knowledge Transfer Partnership – enables a business to work with the University to bring in new skills and the latest academic thinking to deliver a specific, strategic innovation project. Once a project is agreed and approved, the University will help to recruit a suitable graduate, known as an Associate. They are employed by the University but work at the company for the duration, creating a strong, direct link between the academic and commercial worlds.

But the overarching message is that we want to find ways to work with as many businesses as possible across the region.


To find out more about working with Newcastle University see

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