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Brunel's new Institute of Digital Futures to boost digital research and innovation


Brunel University London’s strengths in digital research and innovation – including artificial intelligence, data science, autonomous systems, smart technologies and more – are being boosted by the establishment this month of its Institute of Digital Futures.

The new Institute builds on the business engagement and entrepreneurship successes of the Brunel Digital Science and Technology Hub, which have seen Brunel’s digital experts partner with key business players in the international digital sector, including being the only academic partner of the O2 Innovation Lab.

Evolving from and extending the Digital Hub’s work, the Institute will sit alongside the three other Research Institutes, each of which brings together research expertise from across Brunel’s Colleges to collaboratively tackle global challenges to the world’s economy and society. The Institute of Digital Futures’ research and innovation will be aligned with the grand challenges of the UK’s Industrial Strategy – particularly the Future of Mobility and Artificial Intelligence and Data.

Under the leadership of the institute director Prof Abdul Sadka, an internationally recognised visual media processing researcher, the Institute aims to drive and facilitate interdisciplinary, challenge-led research to establish Brunel as an internationally leading multidisciplinary centre of excellence for research and innovation in:

  • artificial intelligence and autonomous systems
  • data analytics in networked environments
  • Internet of Things and smart technologies for digital societies
  • software, cyber security, gaming and digital health technologies
  • ethical artificial intelligence practices and ergonomics.

“With digital research being of increasing significance to our ever more connected society – even more so as we respond to the technological challenges of a post-Covid economy – Brunel has much to offer existing and new business partners, employers and research collaborators,” said Prof Sadka.

“Facilitating and supporting this research through the Institute of Digital Futures will enable the University to be ready to respond to research calls from national and international funding bodies, and even more able to engage in research with businesses large and small across the UK and beyond.”

The Institute’s priorities also include providing more training opportunities to business partners in digital specialisms such as data analytics and cyber security, and supporting the University’s involvement in the West London Institute of Technology by engaging with key regional employers.

The establishment of the Institute is part of the Brunel 2030 Research Strategy and Strategic Plan, which commits the University to delivering impactful research focused on areas in which academic rigour can be integrated with the needs of governments, industry, business, the NHS and the not-for-profit sector.

“The Institute of Digital Futures is a welcome and exciting development at a time of unprecedented change and significant opportunities,” said Prof Rebecca Lingwood, Brunel’s Provost and lead for the Research Strategy.

“Prof Sadka and our digital experts across engineering, computer science, business, social and medical sciences and many other disciplines will enable our partners to bridge the gap between research and industry, resulting in substantial practical improvements for the UK and elsewhere. Together we will deliver impactful research that enhances the global citizen’s quality of life.”

The Institute will benefit from a high-profile advisory board consisting of eminent digital leaders from industry, academia and the third sector who will help steer the Institute’s strategy while ensuring the relevance of its research and innovation activities and their alignment with societal needs and priorities.

The Institute will be officially launched at a virtual event on 29 October, to which businesses, employers and research funders will be invited.

Reported by:

Joe Buchanunn, Media Relations
+44 (0)1895 268821