Forth Valley 5G hub to enhance major University project

Back to news

A flagship 5G innovation hub to be created in the Forth Valley will enhance a new multi-million-pound environmental monitoring project led by the University of Stirling and BT Group.

Announced today (17 September) by the Scotland 5G Centre and Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, the new hub is the first of a series to be rolled out across Scotland to drive economic growth. The S5GConnect Programme will deliver digital platforms to support job creation, skills programmes and innovation support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and research and development (R&D) activities.

The Forth Valley hub, to be located in Alloa, Clackmannanshire, will support a range of projects, including the new Forth-ERA environmental monitoring system, launched by the University and BT last week. Forth-ERA – powered by EE’s 5G network – will use sensors, satellite data and artificial intelligence to enable businesses and organisations across the region to make decisions based on real-time data.

Dr John Rogers, the University’s Executive Director of Research and Innovation Services, attended today’s announcement at Scotland’s 5G Centre, alongside Professor Andrew Tyler, of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, who is leading Forth-ERA.

Dr John Rogers
Dr John Rogers
Executive Director of Research and Innovation Services
The Forth Valley 5G hub will be a significant asset to regional businesses and communities, working in partnership with the University of Stirling’s researchers to deliver productivity that is both sustainable and inclusive.

Dr Rogers said: “Data has a critical role to play in driving innovation and regional economic growth. The Forth Valley 5G hub will be a significant asset to regional businesses and communities, working in partnership with the University of Stirling’s researchers to deliver productivity that is both sustainable and inclusive.

“The Forth Environment Resilience Array project, which the 5G hub will support, is an example of the game-changing role, cross-disciplinary approach to addressing critical economic challenges that increased connectivity such as this can facilitate.”

Paul Wheelhouse MSP said: “The 5G revolution presents a significant opportunity for Scotland in the years ahead, particularly as we look to build the economic recovery on the back of COVID-19. Now is the time to develop something special for Scotland, by establishing a framework on which we can enhance and widen digital connectivity in all parts of the country through next-generation technologies.

“The Forth Valley Hub will initially focus on the delivery of digital platforms that support job creation, skills programmes, and innovation support for SME and R&D activities. Its first project will aim to develop a green data recovery platform, which will create a digital twin to support Scotland’s net zero economy.

“Potential locations for additional hubs across Scotland are being reviewed, with plans for further rollout over the course of 2020 and 2021. A study conducted by Deloitte in 2019 found that harnessing enhanced 4G and 5G connectivity could increase Scotland’s GDP by more than £17 billion by 2035.”

Paul Coffey, CEO at The Scotland 5G Centre, said: “We are delighted to be launching the S5GConnect Programme today and to be able to start the process of offering businesses across Scotland the opportunity to get involved in the acceleration of 5G deployment. The role of the Scotland 5G Centre is to act as a catalyst for bringing together industry, academia and the public sector and this programme allows us to do that. We are excited to begin working with industry partners from a variety of sectors on this initiative.

“The first hub will be located in Alloa, Clackmannanshire serving the wider Forth Valley region, and builds on a partnership between Scotland’s International Environment Centre, which is part of the University of Stirling, and BT, the telecoms group.

“5G deployment has commenced, but the technology is still nascent – and some of the new use cases are still a few years away. The S5GConnect Hubs will play a key role in accelerating that process and making the potential of 5G a reality. They will think nationally, but act locally, bringing together global and national priorities with local expertise through the reach of existing regional centres and organisations.

“We are working in tandem with the national network of development agencies and enterprise accelerators to establish these facilities quickly. This is a hugely exciting development for Scotland and the wider UK 5G ecosystem and we look forward to announcing more hubs in the near future.”

The Scotland 5G Centre is the national centre for accelerating the deployment and adoption of 5G and realising its economic and societal potential for Scotland.