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Tech with a conscience

An English university has attracted £100M in public and private investment to fund an institute that will advance ‘tech for better futures’ research.

The University of Bristol will establish the Bristol Digital Futures Institute (BDFI) using the £29 million awarded by the Research England UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (RPIF), along with an additional £71 million, which has been match-funded through philanthropic money and the support of 27 partners, including Airbus and Aardman. It will be a collaborative venture involving engineers, social scientists, tech giants, community partners and local government. These multi-disciplinary experts will work together to develop ‘transformational technologies’ that can benefit society and help support what Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Bristol, calls the creation of ‘tech with a conscience’.

“So many of the research  solutions to contemporary global challenges are now discovered through creative collisions at the interface of traditional academic disciplines,” said Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol. “The new Bristol Digital Futures Institute will apply this multidisciplinary paradigm to exploration of our rapidly evolving digital world. We are creating a unique research ecosystem where world-class engineers, computer scientists, social and behavioural scientists, psychologists and legal scholars can work shoulder to shoulder with our partners from industry, social enterprises and civic organisations exploring the opportunities and challenges posed by new digital technologies.”

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