Ministerial visit reinforces Newcastle’s status as Smart City of the Year

Ministerial visit reinforces Newcastle’s status as Smart City of the Year


Photo: Professor John Fitzgerald, Head of the School of Computing at Newcastle University introducing Margot James, Minister for the Digital and Creative Industries to First Friday attendees at The Core.

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, enjoyed a preview tour of Newcastle’s highly anticipated Catalyst Building on Friday 5 July, during her visit to the city.

Set to open in Spring 2020, Catalyst will be home to the National Innovation Centres of Data and Ageing, reinforcing Newcastle’s reputation and status as Smart City of the Year. It will sit in the heart of Newcastle Helix – a 24-acre, £350 million innovation district in the centre of Newcastle, a joint venture between Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University.

Spread over five floors, the Catalyst Building will feature market research rooms, a data visualisation suite, large-scale prototyping facilities, a dementia friendly meeting room, TED style theatre and exhibition space and café. It will also offer on-site support to facilitate networking and collaboration.

Whilst on site at Helix, the Minister also met with local businesses during the First Friday networking session held in The Core.

Margo James, Minister for the Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “I was delighted to visit Helix which will play a key role in maintaining Newcastle’s reputation as a leading UK smart city and to meet representatives who are supporting this work.

“The collaborative use of data and digital across industry, academia and the public sector is helping to support innovation across the Northern Powerhouse, and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are using the power of technology to change people’s lives. I look forward to seeing this work progress.”

Jennifer Hartley, Director, Invest Newcastle said: “The Digital Leaders Smart City of the Year Award is testament to the City’s reputation for innovation in smart, clean and digital technologies. We were thrilled to be able to host Margot James on Helix and discuss how assets and initiatives on site aim to help people live better for longer.”

Professor Jane Robinson, Dean of Engagement and Place, Newcastle University, said: “Newcastle University is proud that Helix is supporting the rapid growth of the digital and creative sector in the North East. We are linking academic expertise and industry to apply technological developments to make a real difference to people’s lives locally and across the globe.”

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