The Digital Economy Research Centre at Swansea University has recently announced a pivotal cross-Channel Partnership with the French Research Institute for Computer Science and Automation (Inria), based in Grenoble, to promote science and innovation excellence in human-centric technologies.
The Digital Economy Research Centre supports research centred on the novel design and use of digital technologies for an innovative, healthy economy and inclusive society.
The partnership will accelerate development of digital technology research committed to social and economic transformation. It will create research exchange opportunities, sharing of skills and knowledge, and access to advanced research facilities in Swansea and Grenoble.
Supported by the UK Science and Innovation Network and Department for International Trade, the Partnership works to rapidly transfer technological innovations to industry across a range of sectors, including agriculture – a key national research priority both sides of the Channel.
Isabelle Hurley, Head of Department for International Trade at the British Embassy in Lyon said: “To celebrate our mutual alliance, a joint “Tech for Good” event will take place at the British Embassy in Paris, February 2020. Harnessing technology for good will be the main theme to celebrate R&D optimisation and business partnerships based on mutual prosperity, featuring keynote speakers who are at the forefront of a better world, and celebrating how technology is used to drive social change.”
A collaboration stemming from the Partnership has already demonstrated its powerful potential by producing an exciting prototype for smallholder farmers: an Agriculture Cobot tool for field-task organisation and control. The novel system uses sound as a means of communication to enhance human trust in farm machine systems, and to enrich human interaction with machines in shared farm work processes.
Alan Dix, Director at Swansea’s Computational Foundry said: “This partnership brings together our technical synergies, shared vision and goals, which have been evident in our meetings together. Both sides are dedicated to research that transforms the lives of people, productivity of industry and enriches the environment in our respective nations and beyond.”
The Tech for Good event in Paris will help position Wales as a leader in socially transformative technology. Jay Doyle, Research and Business Engagement Officer at the Digital Economy Research Centre said: “Our work with Inria is underscored by a shared commitment to go beyond the thrill of scientific discovery, to take a human and societal-perspective approach to the development of technologies that will positively influence thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of lives over the coming years. That is our pledge, and we are delighted to have such strong support from our UK and French governments to escalate our joint efforts is wonderful.