Imperial West hosts new European centre for ICT Innovation


London at night

A new Centre for ICT innovation has opened at Imperial West in White City, it was announced on Thursday.

The EIT ICT Labs UK centre is one of the first initiatives to be established at Imperial West, the College’s new 25 acre research and translation campus. Known as the London Node, it seeks to bridge the gap between research and the commercial delivery of innovative products and services.

This new Node will allow us to establish a focus for ICT innovation in the UK with a European scope.

– Paul Jenkins

Director of the London Node

The new London Node will help to foster excellence in education, research and innovation across the UK’s digital ecosystem by providing access to European funding and facilitating links between academic researchers and businesses. Alongside Imperial the founding partners of the London Node are BT, IBM, Institute for Sustainability, Intel, University College London, the University of Edinburgh, and Vodafone.

The centre joins six others in the EIT ICT Labs network, with Nodes located in Berlin, Eindhoven, Helsinki, Paris, Stockholm and Trento, bringing together global ICT companies and research centres as well as leading European universities.

Paul Jenkins, Head of Strategic Programmes at British Telecom, is the Director of the London Node. He said:

“This new Node will allow us to establish a focus for ICT innovation in the UK with a European scope. I look forward to working alongside the Node partners, EIT ICT Labs and our European partners, as well as the existing innovation ecosystem, as part of this important project”  

The project sits within Imperial’s Digital Economy Lab – the College’s portal for research, teaching and engagement relating to digital technologies.

Q&A with Richard Foulsham, Programme Coordinator for EIT ICT Labs

Richard Foulsham, Programme CoordinatorWhat is the idea behind the London Node?

Europe has a strong research base when it comes to digital technology and ICT, but we tend to struggle with translating this research into commercial products and services. We need to be able to compete with the kind of commercial success that countries such as the United States are achieving. The idea behind the London Node is to partner with other European countries to try to address this so called ‘innovation gap’ by fostering excellence, talent and entrepreneurship across all parts of the UK digital community.

What will the London Node be doing to tackle this?

One way in which we are addressing this problem is by providing a framework for researchers and businesses to work together in a way that they may not have historically done - opening doors to potential collaborations and commercial opportunities. This might be done by helping start-up IT companies obtain investment from venture capitalists, or by linking up existing businesses with experts whose research can help them grow and develop their products. We’ll also be helping researchers to access funding for innovation and commercialisation initiatives, boosting the innovation output of the UK.

The Node is one of the first organisations to take up residence at Imperial West – is this positioning important?

Imperial West is set to house a major translational hub, which will bring together researchers, businesses and higher education partners to support innovation on an unprecedented scale in London. This long-term vision makes Imperial West a natural place for EIT ICT Labs to take root. Even at this early stage, Imperial West has a thriving digital community and we hope that this will provide us with scope to pursue opportunities for collaboration as this community develops.

How will Imperial be contributing to the project?

As well as being the lead partner of the consortium that forms the London node, Imperial College is housing the Node and it will benefit greatly from this proximity to Imperial’s leading digital expertise. The Digital City Exchange is a key example of complimentary research programmes already taking place within the College’s Digital Economy Lab initiative. Imperial College Business School, with its unique insight into the way that science, technology and business intersect, will also prove a valuable resource for the London Node as the project moves forward.


Deborah Evanson

Deborah Evanson
Communications Division

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