The so-called Salford Innovation Triangle – comprising MediaCityUK, Salford Royal Hospital and the University of Salford – is about to become that little bit sharper.
In partnership with MediaCity-housed HOST (the Home of Skills and Technology), the university has won an award from the Higher Education Innovation Fund to establish the first Unity Centre of Excellence on Campus in the north-west.
Offering expert training in Unity – a platform for interactive, real-time 3D content – it’s hoped that the tie-up between academia and industry will see immersive technology skills, jobs and business innovation support attracted to the area.
The new centre will be based at HOST, an innovation hub offering five floors of labs, R&D and prototyping environments, specialist support and affordable workspace.
As part of the collaboration, three of the university’s academic staff – from the fields of interactive media, computer sciences, and psychology – will be taught to become Unity-certified professional instructors. The partnership will also help 300 students qualify as Unity professional programmers or artists, and provide nine graduate-led immersive technology start-ups with dedicated business incubation support.
From the archive: In April 2020, a month into the pandemic, we reported on how the University of Salford was steering a global effort to help radiographers caring for coronavirus patients on the frontline
Alongside this, HOST will operate its Unity in Industry Academy, providing commercial CPD to businesses in the region.
HOST and the University of Salford are already collaborating on offering Unity in Industry Skills Bootcamps for Skills City, led by Maker Space director, Dr Maria Stukoff.
“This unique partnership clearly demonstrates how we are addressing the sector skills gaps head-on and creating industry qualified pathways for our talent to step confidently into future careers,” said Dr Stukoff, of the new venture.
“It is a true testament of our local strategy to advocate digital and technical education, and establishing the region as a global immersive and interactive hub.”
MediaCityUK is currently home to 250 creative and digital businesses, and projected to double in size by the end of the decade.