Together, The Alan Turing Institute and its partners have invested more than £26m in digital twin research and innovation across a range of dynamic projects, including developing foundational theory and applications in the engineering, environmental and social sciences. This represents one of the largest and most exciting portfolios of academic digital twin research and innovation in the UK.
To build on this activity, we are now establishing a new Turing Research and Innovation Cluster in Digital Twins (TRIC: DT).
The power of open and reproducible digital twins
While digital twin technology has proven to be powerful in a range of areas, current digital twins are often highly bespoke, and their development and deployment to address real-world problems requires specialised expertise and computational infrastructure. This has created a barrier that can limit use. As with other powerful computational technologies, realising the potential of digital twins requires a robust, user-friendly implementation open to all.
The primary objective of the TRIC: DT will be to democratise access to digital twin technology by providing open and reproducible computational and social tools freely accessible to the UK research and innovation communities. This vision will be achieved by establishing knowledge exchange between a central Turing hub and a network of collaborators across the academic and private sectors.
Research and innovation activity will focus on solving significant societal challenges and generating tangible societal benefits in three interrelated areas:
- Environment and sustainability: predicting and mitigating the negative impacts of climate change.
- Infrastructure: enhancing the efficiency and resilience of critical infrastructure (e.g. energy).
- Health: improving human health and wellbeing.
These will be established in partnership with a small number of key university and industrial development partners. The purpose of these focus areas is to provide compelling case studies that illustrate the power of digital twins and act as exemplars to help support the evolution of a national digital twins research and innovation community.
As the national institute for data science and artificial intelligence, we are well-positioned to accept the challenge of developing the nation’s digital twins capability. The Turing will take a lead role in democratising digital twin technology, drawing on its broad, multidisciplinary academic expertise, to enable the widespread use for societal and economic benefit.
The organisational model – delivering expertise and leadership
The three focus areas will deliver a set of outstanding case study projects, enabling digital twins to move from a bespoke technology to a more easily adoptable industrial technology. The TRIC: DT will be organised to support this by ensuring a flow of information and shared expertise between the focus areas. The organisational model will include programme management and partnership development support. It will feature:
- A management board consisting of senior Turing leaders, senior partner representatives and trusted external advisors with responsibility for strategic decision-making, including commercialisation plans.
- A research and development team, jointly based at the Turing and its development partner organisations, which will focus on digital twins research and innovation and will consist of:
- Three co-directors (one for each research focus area – environment, infrastructure and health). Co-directors will be responsible for developing and delivering the research and innovation strategy for the TRIC: DT and will chair the TRIC: DT management board.
- A team of post-doctoral research assistants (PDRAs), which will be jointly based at the Turing and development partner organisations and funded according to an agreed funding model. PDRAs will also enable information exchange between the three focus areas, facilitated by a central impact hub.
A central impact hub
Additionally, a vibrant impact hub based at the Turing will deliver and demonstrate impact from the TRIC: DT research portfolio. The hub will consist of:
- A dedicated team of digital twins software engineers who will drive the toolchain development, including API development, testing and integration, working in partnership with the PDRAs.
- A team of dedicated research application managers (RAMs) and community managers (CMs), who will work with TRIC: DT researchers and external stakeholders to ensure that principles of good practice, reproducibility, interoperability, and open science are embedded in TRIC: DT research, and that technical advances are shared across challenge axes.
- An ethics advisor(s) who will ensure that all outputs and activities adhere to, promote and advance the highest ethical standards in digital twins research.
Update: Apollo Protocol Live Launch Event - Digital Twins
Click on the following link to find out more The Apollo Protocol and Launch Event.
To find out more, please contact [email protected].