A Manchester partnership has launched ‘thingQbator’, a community-driven innovation lab to foster digital talent.
The project is the work of Cisco, Manchester Metropolitan University, and The Foundation for Digital Creativity. It aims to allow students from all backgrounds and degree courses to get hands-on with technology and turn IoT ideas into working prototypes.
Students in the first cohort of thingQbator Manchester came together to explore solutions for urban challenges. Groups used field trials across the city to collect and innovate with data. Individual project goals included reducing social isolation, improving air quality, app development with an ethical carbon footprint and wearables to highlight the interrelationship between urban planning and smart cities.
Maria Hernandez, Head of Innovation, Cisco UK & Ireland said: “Manchester is a hub of innovation with an important role to play in driving digitisation in the UK. We’re excited to be continuing our collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University as it cultivates the business ideas and entrepreneurs of the future. thingQbator quite literally helps to bring the biggest and brightest ideas to life in IoT prototypes.”
Paul Bason, Director of Innovation at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “This partnership with Cisco and the Foundation for Digital Creativity is important in developing new opportunities for students working with new technologies. We see that working more closely with business and creating project-based learning across discipline boundaries will be an important aspect of university teaching for the future.
“At Manchester Met, we are intending to grow our capacity in this area through our £35m investment in the School of Digital Arts (SODA) – this new school is due to open in 2021 and will teach the next generation of technologists and content producers.”
Dr Andrew Robinson, Co-Founder of Foundation for Digital Creativity, said: “This is a great opportunity in our mission to democratise IoT; a chance to empower a diverse background of people to improve the world through connected, digital technology.”