UCL Centre for Digital Innovation


What we offer

This joint offering between UCL and AWS brings together the right resources for you to translate your idea, research, or MVP into a solution or service with high societal impact.

Expert help

The Faculty of Engineering Sciences' innovation and enterprise team will provide advice and support on innovation and commercialisation, in collaboration with AWS’s highly successful ‘working backwards’ approach to commercial innovation. They will support teams to seek further funding and investment.  

In collaboration with the Department of Computer Science and leveraging our student’s talent in specialised digital technologies and data science, the UCL IXN will facilitate creation of PoC (Proof of Concept) for agile triage of ideas. 

Working together, the UCL Advanced Research Computing team of over sixty research software engineers, data scientists, data stewards and infrastructure developers, and AWS’s Solution Architecture team, will be available to support projects through the creation of sustainable and reliable cloud-based data- and compute-intensive innovation infrastructures. 

Advice on information governance and data protection will also be available to successful projects. 

Cloud resources

The CDI benefits from a very generous allocation of donated cloud resource from AWS. Innovative ideas will have access to all the computational and data resources they need while they explore solutions.

Community and culture

One of the most challenging aspects of entrepreneurship is isolation. IDEALondon and the Centre for Digital Innovation will provide a rich, existing community of innovators and entrepreneurs, and physical space in the heart of London’s Shoreditch innovation cluster: the ‘silicon roundabout’. This community includes training and events, including specialised training on cloud for research and innovation provided by the AWS and ARC technology teams.

UCL CDI Management Team

  • Advice and guidance to project teams and applicants
  • Promote research showcases 
  • Delivery of Group training and educational events 
  • AWS solution architecture immersion days in specialist topics (e.g. Security, Machine Learning on AWS) 
  • Support development of case studies and marketing content
  • Organise centre events
  • Run innovation challenges
  • Support Hackathons

UCL CDI Experts Committee

  • Academic research advice and guidance
  • Evidence reviews for proposed projects 
  • Exploitation of research outputs 
  • Department of Computer Science partnerships 
  • Institute of Education Knowledge lab partnerships 
  • Institute of Healthcare Engineering partnerships 
  • UCLH Innovation Centre partnerships 
  • Subject Matter Expertise in Health IT and EdTech domains

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of UCL Centre for Digital Innovation, powered by AWS?

Our main purpose is to support the transition to the outside world of world-leading research that can enable digital transformations in healthcare and education, in a sustainable and scalable way. The AWS platforms support this purpose. 

Why are we working with a commercial company? Why AWS?

While UCL and its innovation ecosystem have expertise in distributed infrastructures and data systems, working with AWS will provide unprecedented access to digital technologies and expertise that will accelerate the transition pipeline. 

Until now, most AI-driven algorithms have been developed away from the environment in which they are designed to be deployed and some effort is required to move them into a production environment. 

To realise the potential of AI and digital technologies for healthcare and education and develop the right solutions, we believe the best approach is to create solutions working together on the ground with a leading technology company like AWS, with the users and customers that will use these innovations and the innovators and researchers that are building them. 

Is this a Centre open to all UCL departments and faculties?

Yes, the Centre is open to all UCL departments and faculties that have either a solution to a problem in healthcare or education or that have a challenge in those domains and is looking for a research-based solution supported by a digital platform and data system. 

Can organisations external to UCL engage?

Yes, external organisations can engage with the UCL Centre for Digital Innovation, if they fit the eligibility criteria and a collaboration with UCL research is identified, either as undergoing or as a prospective opportunity. 

I'm not sure whether my project qualifies - who do I speak to? 

The Management Team is available to meet and help you understand if your project qualifies. You can contact the Centre Director Graca Carvalho to have an initial conversation. The Management Team is also available on Friday’s afternoon at IDEALondon for in person meetings. 

What is the impact of working with the CDI on intellectual property of my project? 

The engagement with the CDI will not compromise the IP of your project. All activities will be conducted under confidential conditions. Should your project require further engagement and support to build, test or develop further research, a specific collaboration agreement will be put in place to cover all terms and conditions beforehand. 

How often do the calls for projects run, and how many projects get support per call?

Project teams can apply to the accelerator at any time. The call will remain open from the launch date, moving into responsive mode once the initial wave of applications is managed. Applications will be assessed on a regular basis by an Experts Committee from UCL and AWS. Advised by the Experts Committee, the Steering Committee will select the most promising projects to take part in the accelerator. The dates of upcoming Steering Committee and Experts Committee meetings will be published. New projects will start on a quarterly basis.