New digital opportunities for students and researchers through Siemens partnership

A new partnership between our University and Siemens is being launched to accelerate digitalisation, boost digital skills, and promote technology and knowledge exchange to meet the needs of increasingly-digitalised industry.

Our University and Siemens have collaborated to set up The ‘MindSphere Lounge’ in our Diamond building.

This will be a space for students, academics, industry partners and Siemens experts to access an innovative Internet of Things (IoT) platform, MindSphere, to harness the value of the data produced from the University and the various projects connected to the cloud-based platform.

It then makes this data available to improve teaching and research collaborations between academics and industry partners, to uncover new business models and create commercial opportunities through digitalisation.

The creation of the MindSphere Lounge will give students access to innovative digital technology, helping to boost skills and collaboration.

The agreement marks the first collaboration for a new UK-wide digitalisation network to link universities with the IoT. It comes as the widespread adoption of digitalisation, the technology behind Industry 4.0 or the ‘4th Industrial Revolution’ (such as that being tested at the University of Sheffield’s Factory 2050) is seen as crucial to UK competitiveness and productivity.

The launch of the MindSphere Innovation Network, starting in Sheffield, will allow universities to translate their research into real world impact by harnessing the power of digitalisation. The aim is to help develop the skills needed for the future, build the UK’s world class capabilities in data science across universities, enable the development of new business models and create opportunities to grow new start-up businesses locally.

The project will act as a living lab to help equip graduates with the skills they will need in an increasingly digitalised industry.

Our University's President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett said: “This pioneering strategic partnership between Siemens and the University of Sheffield marks a significant milestone in our commitment to innovative technologies and progressive partnership with business. The digital revolution is transforming all parts of society, including industry, so it is vital that students and academics grasp the potential for data to fundamentally change the way we approach problems and opportunities.

"Just as business moves towards 'Industry 4.0', we are matching this with 'Education 4.0' in which students, academics and business come together in a shared digital environment to solve problems and boost productivity. So this exciting collaboration with Siemens is not only a UK-first, but a vital step in demonstrating how universities and companies connect students and business with the local and global bid to drive productivity and build the skills of the future."

Our Director of Library Services Professor Anne Horn said: "We are delighted to be part of the University’s exciting new partnership with Siemens and the MindSphere Lounge. The MindSphere Lounge offers engaging opportunities for students and researchers to study and work immersed in a digital environment, as well we extend their knowledge and skills through workshops addressing data literacy, computational skills, visualisation techniques and more."

Teams from Siemens will be based on campus to help projects and engage communities by enabling Sheffield and other universities to become hubs for collaborating with local businesses.

How will it work?

MindSphere will enable the University to harness data from a number of projects across sectors including manufacturing, water and energy. These projects are examples of how MINe helps universities overcome the barriers associated with translating their research into real world impact. For example, MindSphere de-risks as a platform as it is scalable and secure and the partnership between Siemens and universities ensures developed products are supported over the long term, which can sometimes be a concern for a company looking to purchase a development from a university.

Juergen Maier, CEO, Siemens UK, who has led the Government’s Industrial Digitalisation Review, said: “Using digital technologies to transform business operations is key for the UK to drive competitiveness, improve national productivity and take advantage of the commercial opportunities offered by an increasingly digitalised industry.”

“We believe this innovative network heralds a new eco-system enabled by MindSphere, which will provide a vital new model for collaboration between institutions, departments and other key stakeholders to universities,” said Juergen Maier.

More about the project