Manchester Digital Innovation Living Lab

Information doc: 

Paul Bason

Chatham Building, Cavendish St 

Manchester M15 6BR 




Manchester Metropolitan University is one of the largest and most popular universities in the UK, has over 35,000 students a turnover of £250m+ and is situated in the centre of the UK’s second commercial city which was also the cradle for the Industrial Revolution.

 Manchester has recently seen a significant proportion of BBC production located to the MediaCity development at Salford Quays and, combined with an already thriving digital media sector, is set to secure the city’s reputation as a one of Europe’s leading locations for media production.   A recent government strategy document for the technology sector says that: “The digital industries in Greater Manchester account for 7,300 businesses employing 45,77017 people and generating approximately £2 billion per annum of economic output.”

 In recent years the university has recognised the importance of this sector and formed a Digital Innovation project working across all faculties to bring a cohesive approach to new technologies.  This project has its home in a new Centre for Digital Innovation situated in an old engineering shed (“The Shed”) at the centre of the MMU campus and it is this location which will provide the focus for Living Lab activities

 The Shed is also home to the Innospace incubator with 100 start-up creative businesses and will also include academic research and teaching all under the same roof. This will add real value to the growing Living Labs ecosystem in Manchester, working with the Manchester Living Lab (led by the Manchester Digital Development Agency – MDDA – and the Manchester Digital Lab – MadLab), Future Everything and Think Lab. This application is specifically supported by the Manchester Living Lab (1st Wave) who are working with us to provide advice and support as we develop.

 Steve Jobs said that “Ideas don’t happen in the boardroom, they happen in corridors” and our aim is to create a space where lecturers and students, artists, scientists and entrepreneurs can all find inspiration for new ideas through a combination of the right environment and shared activities.

 For a large university such as MMU the most important capability is the diversity of our expertise and relationships.  Universities are often seen as “neutral territory” and in the last few years we have had a great deal of success in bringing together a range of different parties, both from business and the wider community, to work together on projects where otherwise they would have been seen to be in competition.

 By definition universities are always searching for new knowledge and this is our primary purpose which aligns perfectly with the aims of ENOLL.

Our particular areas of interest at this stage are:

  • Big data
  • Smart cities
  • App development
  • Future networks
  • Design and technology for an ageing population 
  • Digital imaging
  • UX
  • Co creation through new technologies and social structures
  • Social media
  • Digital manufacturing
  • Computer games development
  • New approaches to animation

Innovative business models and new partnerships (Manchester, UK, Europe, China)