Businesses across Wales are to benefit from access to the latest computing technology, expert advice and training, through a new £44m High-Performance Computing Institute (HPC) announced today.
HPC Wales will focus on driving innovation and business growth in key high-value industrial sectors. The project is being co-funded with £10m from the Department for Business’s Strategic Investment Fund (SIF), which targets support on particular markets and technologies where the UK has proven strengths and competitive potential.
Chancellor Alistair Darling announced in today’s Pre Budget Report that the total SIF is being increased from £750m to £950m to encourage strong and sustainable economic growth across the UK.
HPC Wales will provide businesses with access to state-of-the-art facilities, as well as offering consultancy services and tailored training packages to enhance workforce skills. It will seek to stimulate business growth by encouraging companies to share knowledge and collaborate on product development, and by supporting new start-ups with vital advice and guidance.
Welsh Secretary, Peter Hain said:
“This is a world-class facility to build a world class Wales. By giving companies in Wales improved access to the latest technologies and training we can ensure that Welsh businesses are able to compete on a global stage alongside other world-leading innovators.
“It’s important we do everything we can to equip industries with the solutions and real help they need to aid recovery and long-term growth. This means creating the right conditions for enterprise and maintaining the UK’s position as one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business.
“The Strategic Investment Fund has proved instrumental in providing targeted support to those industries that are crucial to our economic revival. I’m delighted businesses in Wales will reap the benefits the HPC will bring and will further develop Wales’ reputation for innovation in business support.”
HPC Wales will be delivered through the Universities of Swansea and Cardiff, which will provide the technology and skills base to support research and development projects.
The project is expected to create more than 400 new jobs across the digital, low-carbon, health, bio-science, engineering and advanced manufacturing sectors. The majority of these will be in highly-skilled technical and scientific fields, including image processing, animation, 3D visualisation, data mining and simulations.
It’s anticipated that Welsh academia’s strong track record in attracting investors and establishing university spin-outs will play an important role in driving this employment growth, through the expansion of existing enterprises and the creation of new ventures.