Opportunity for Bradford as a UK leader in AI and data science innovation

In addition to enhancing our digital capabilities, the strategy makes the case for a unique opportunity for Bradford to combine our strengths to promote innovation, growth and inward investment.

There is an opportunity for Bradford to position itself as a leading centre for data research if we can join the dots and link our world class data science programmes to a developing skills base and our excellent University capability, to entrepreneurship and investment.

Employers in the UK and US tell us they struggle to find talent with data science skills - data capture, analytics, visualisation, AI, Machine learning, business analysts. We believe there are investor opportunities who are looking to support skills and innovation programmes in AI & Data science and AI innovation.

Bradford is strong in these areas, has a very young population, is leading in data programmes, can demonstrate studies that are globally recognised, has a forward thinking university, successful AI innovation programmes, a Health Tech sector and creative businesses.

We believe the ingredients are there to seize the opportunity of an explosion in demand for AI and data skills and programmes. AI innovators need data, skills and engagement in real world programmes to succeed. Bradford District can offer it all.

There is also a need to support our businesses to digitally transform with industry 5.0 technologies and the need to provide the platforms for start-ups and scale- ups to thrive. The University already support Knowledge Transfer Partnerships with small businesses. There are also many support agencies helping businesses to pivot such as our own Invest in Bradford Team and other agencies providing mentoring support such as UK Innovate Edge that provide a vital service.

We believe there are additional opportunities to develop our support ecosystem to achieve digital transformation and growth of businesses, where innovation has the opportunity to develop driven by collaboration, data sharing and innovation. Under Digital Economy Theme we make the case for the need for a more formal collaboration partnership between public, private and academia to drive innovation. This would form part of, and leverage from, a wider research landscape already in place across Bradford District providing a unique opportunity to ensure its success in driving economic growth and place development.

This collaboration will help transform the district, based on a reputation for high quality research with industrial impact and relevance, with the aim to attract millions of pounds of inward investment to the district, drive global businesses and create jobs, whilst helping develop highly qualified graduates and postgraduates.

Artificial Intelligence will soon become mainstream in much of the economy and action will be required to ensure every sector and region of the UK benefit from this transition. The key drivers of progress, discovery and strategic advantage in AI are access to people, skills, data, computational power and finance – all of which face huge global competition. Bradford District has an opportunity now to capitalise on its emerging strengths in data science and skills and turn innovation into growth sectors such as Circular and Green Economy, Health Tech and advanced manufacturing.