Construction work is about to start on a £30m supercomputing centre at Sci-Tech Daresbury.

The new centre is part of the £210m Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation (HNCDI), comprising £172m in Government funding via UK Research and Innovation and a £38m in-kind contribution from IBM.

The planning and preparatory work of the new start-of-the-art 33,000 sq ft supercomputing centre is now complete and building work is imminent.

Several of the key partners in the project used the 60th anniversary of the Daresbury Laboratory on Thursday (July 14th) to take part in a photoshoot to mark the milestone.

The Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation  is bringing together world-leading expertise with innovative artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing technology, giving the public and private sectors access to cutting-edge computing that will aid breakthroughs in discovery and innovation.

The joint programme between the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and IBM, will expand to include 60 additional scientists, to join the 130 existing staff within the Hartree Centre, which is part of STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory at Sci-Tech Daresbury.

The new supercomputing centre will build on the ground-breaking research carried out at Daresbury Laboratory since 1962, which has helped in the creation of new cancer therapies, cleaner fuel and energy.

Paul Vernon, head of STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory said: “Every day there’s incredible research happening right here which has the potential to improve our lives. We remain today as committed as we have ever been to supporting excellent research and providing access to world-class research facilities and expertise to solve real world challenges.

“Celebrating our 60th anniversary of an immensely proud moment for all of us here at Daresbury Laboratory.  I would like to thank all who have contributed to its growth, many of whom have dedicated their entire careers to Daresbury. I look forward with great anticipation to our next 60 years, celebrating the continued successes of the facility, made possible thanks to the dedicated staff both now and in the future.”

Liverpool City Region reveals innovation powerhouse ambition

Home to some of the UK’s most advanced technologies in computing, data science and artificial intelligence (AI), the Hartree Centre is one of the UK’s only supercomputing centres dedicated to industry applications.

Businesses can access specialist expertise and supercomputers that are normally only available to academia and large-scale industry, reducing the time and cost of developing new products.

STFC’s Kate Royse, director of the Hartree Centre, said: “Here at the Hartree Centre we are fully committed to providing an environment where UK science and businesses of all sizes can be at the very forefront of global research and development in the very latest digital technologies, such as AI and quantum computing.

“Providing access to these technologies and support enables businesses to reduce risk, increase productivity and achieve success, to the benefit of our economy, both here in the North West and nationally.”

Today, the rapidly expanding campus is home to more than 150 technology companies, ranging from pioneering high-tech start-ups to major international firms such as IBM Research, Hitachi Hi-Tech Europe and Croda.

John Downes, Chief Executive Officer of Langtree and director of Sci-Tech Daresbury, said: “I would like to congratulate Daresbury Laboratory on 60 years of trailblazing and inspirational science and innovation. The ground-breaking work undertaken with the SRS set a benchmark for what can be achieved on our campus, and I’m very proud that companies based at Sci-Tech Daresbury keep that legacy alive today by delivering pioneering work in a range of industries in order to improve the world around us while creating tangible economic benefits for the Liverpool City Region.”