Smart & Connected Innovation On-Ramp Programme: Building long term relationships between industry and academic stakeholders in African Big Data.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

The exploration activities will build on prior participation by the audience at a workshop in June 2016 in South Africa which identified the top level programme challenges for HPC, Big Data & Cloud services. In July 2016, those attendees who expressed a desire to play an active role in the development of the on-ramp use cases (hereafter known as SCIOP "partners") were further engaged. SCIOP will therefore focus on two main activities:

1) A two-day integration exploration workshop with academic & industry SCIOP partners in South Africa will develop & integrate the research & training activities that SCIOP must undertake beyond the exploration phase of delivery into a series of on-ramp use cases. These use cases will particularly target SMMEs (typically up to 50 employees) as this is where the greatest opportunity exists for capability improvement through training & research in data science.

This workshop will be facilitated by Principal Investigator, Dr Anna Scaife at UoM with support from Project Partner Axillium Research who will generate the detailed scope and activities needed to launch a wider SCIOP engagement in 2017.

2) A full report, written over 4 weeks following the workshop, will summarise the workshop outcomes & identify where innovation can be brought into SCIOP. Peer review of this report by the wider SCIOP stakeholder community will ensure that each use case maximises impact in the stated areas and is aligned to ODA guidance & UN Global Goals.

During the workshop and subsequent analysis SCIOP will assess and review each use case against fully detailed, planned objectives, responsibilities and measurable outcomes to meet defined outcomes set by the UN Global Goals for (4) Basic Education, (8) Decent Work & Economic Growth & (9) Industry Innovation & Infrastructure.

This exploration activity, to develop & evaluate the integration & operational aspects of the use cases, identifying touch points with existing SCIOP partners & establishing where wider research partners in both SA & UK are required, will be conducted in parallel to the development of a GCRF EOI.

Planned Impact

1. Who could potentially benefit from the proposed research over different timescales?

The exploration activity will ultimately seek to determine the On-ramp use cases which can have impact in Africa over 3 to 5 years, exploring the on-ramp target small-, micro- and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs) initially as it is seen generally by policy makers that businesses of up to 50 employees is where the greatest opportunity exists for companies that require capability improvement through training & research. In parallel University & National Institutes will play a lead role in translating STFC into tangible benefits through inter-African academic engagement with industry.

2. How might the potential beneficiaries benefit?

Core Use Cases have been developed by the work of Axillium Research & the British High Commission and identify the core objectives and tangible outcomes which will be developed through the exploration activity; these are summarised under three headings:

2.1: Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the skill base. The initial focus is to determine the actions needed to reach 3,000 research officers over 3 years across Africa universities.

2.2: Increased economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation; encourage the formalization and growth of SMMEs through the co-development of sponsored MSc and Doctoral Training Programmes. In the initial use case each SMME engagement is targeting a 3:1 ratio where 1 industrial supervisor will support the development of 3 MSc's of 2 year period, or 3 PhD's over a 4 year period. Secondary impact through knowledge transfer into new products and services will be a key opportunity.

2.3 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities to increase business capacity in the fields of Big Data, HPC and Cloud services. A central theme across the SCIOP partners is the engagement with education within HEI's, Tertiary Colleges and in all cases STEM subjects.

Here the level of user engagement & resulting impact is a core aspect of the exploration activity which is anticipated to be set by the pathways open to ODA funded activity under GCRF.

This work will identify where innovation can be brought into SCIOP scope & to meet matched in-kind input from industrial partners seeking to engage in proof-of-concept projects over the 3 to 5 year timescale.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description This project funded stakeholder meetings to examine different ways that academia and industry could work together in the big data area. The results were taken forward and presented at the South African Innovation Summit.
Exploitation Route The output specifically references examples of data science and innovation applied to the Defence sector (including the Dual Use Technology Exploitation (DUTE) Cluster), examples of data science and security applied to the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) sector, and an example of interoperability and standardisation efforts for IoT underpinning sectors such as Smart Cities and Intelligent Mobility. These sectors may be able to make use of the project findings.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)

URL https://www.axillium.com/2017/08/29/axillium-supports-african-innovators/
 
Description The findings from this project have been used to inform the innovation management strategy of the partner organisation, Axillium.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Financial Services, and Management Consultancy
Impact Types Economic

 
Description SCIOP 
Organisation African Ideas
PI Contribution I was the academic lead on an industrial-academic partnership to submit a proposal for STFC's GCRF call. The proposal was unsuccessful.
Collaborator Contribution The industry partners contributed matched funding (in-kind) for the proposal.
Impact This collaboration is multi-disciplinary with data science as focus.
Start Year 2016
 
Description SCIOP 
Organisation Axillium Research
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution I was the academic lead on an industrial-academic partnership to submit a proposal for STFC's GCRF call. The proposal was unsuccessful.
Collaborator Contribution The industry partners contributed matched funding (in-kind) for the proposal.
Impact This collaboration is multi-disciplinary with data science as focus.
Start Year 2016
 
Description SCIOP 
Organisation Space Commercial Services Holdings (Pty) Ltd
PI Contribution I was the academic lead on an industrial-academic partnership to submit a proposal for STFC's GCRF call. The proposal was unsuccessful.
Collaborator Contribution The industry partners contributed matched funding (in-kind) for the proposal.
Impact This collaboration is multi-disciplinary with data science as focus.
Start Year 2016
 
Description SCIOP 
Organisation V&A Waterfront group
PI Contribution I was the academic lead on an industrial-academic partnership to submit a proposal for STFC's GCRF call. The proposal was unsuccessful.
Collaborator Contribution The industry partners contributed matched funding (in-kind) for the proposal.
Impact This collaboration is multi-disciplinary with data science as focus.
Start Year 2016
 
Description SCIOP 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Workshops were held in South Africa to engage with the project partners, the FCO and local HE training providers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017