​Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to commit £6m to virtual reality complex and business park redevelopment

The Digital Innovation Factory at the University of Liverpool and Project Olympus at Atlantic Park Business Park could bring roughly 600 jobs to the area.

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Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will invest nearly £6m in two major investment projects in Merseyside, with the aim of creating around 600 jobs and adding approximately £85m to the local economy.

Roughly £5m will be assigned to  the new Digital Innovation Factory (DIF) on the University of Liverpool campus, which will serve as a centre of excellence for virtual reality technologies. Partnering businesses with academia, the state-of-the-art facility is forecast to create 400 jobs over the next decade, with a projected boost of £44.5m to the local economy.

The DIF will support research, development and innovation advances in growth areas, including high-performance computing, big data analytics, robotics, artificial intelligence and modelling, simulation and visualisation (MSV).

Professor Ken Badcock, executive pro-vice-chancellor for science and engineering at the University of Liverpool said of the DIF: “The new Digital Innovation Factory is a really exciting venture, combining our world-class strengths in computer science, robotics and engineering with state-of-the-art facilities. It will enable us to work even more closely with local industry in sectors where the city region has competitive advantage to increase the commercialisation of research and development activity.”

The Combined Authority, meanwhile, has also allocated more than £750,000 to Project Olympus, a 105,000 square feet distribution and logistics facility on a 1.6 hectare brownfield site within the Atlantic Park Business Park in Sefton. The site could provide a further 200 jobs. 

Liverpool’s metro mayor, Steve Rotheram, said that both projects reflected Combined Authourity’s aim to “create the conditions for our economy to thrive and benefit”. He added: “Devolution gives us the opportunity to deliver real benefits for our residents, which is why we are supporting these schemes which should, collectively, deliver more jobs and boost our economy.”

Rohan Banerjee is a Special Projects Writer at the New Statesman. He co-hosts the No Country For Brown Men podcast.