Sunderland University to be part of £20million coding institute

Professor Alastair Irons, head of the Department of Computing, Engineering and Technology at the University of Sunderland.
Professor Alastair Irons, head of the Department of Computing, Engineering and Technology at the University of Sunderland.

Sunderland University will be part of a new £20million Institute of Coding which has been announced by the Prime Minister.

Sunderland alongside Newcastle and Northumbria universities will benefit from £2million of the budget and bring together the three universities with industry partners including Accenture, Sage, P&G and Nissan.

The next generation of digital specialists will be created through the new Institute of Coding, a consortium of universities, businesses and industry experts, set up to tackle the UK’s digital skills gap.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum 2018 in Davos, the Prime Minister outlined how the institute will create new degree level courses to equip people of all ages with the digital skills they need.

The consortium includes industry giants such as IBM, Cisco, BT and Microsoft, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), 25 UK universities, and professional bodies such as the British Computer Society and CREST.

The 25 universities involved, led by the University of Bath, range from sector leaders in business and computer science (UCL and Newcastle University) to experts in arts and design (University of the Arts) to specialists in widening participation and outreach (Open University and Birkbeck College).

Professor Alastair Irons, Academic Dean for the Faculty of Computer Science at Sunderland University, said: “We are delighted to be part of the successful consortium for the Institute of Coding and look forward to working with the group nationally and partner universities in the North East to deliver the objectives of the project.

“The Institute of Coding provides a real opportunity to address the digital skills gap and utilise the expertise in the University sector to work with employers, to ensure a flow of highly skilled digital graduates for business and industry.”

Newcastle University’s Professor Aad van Moorsel, who will co-lead the North East arm of the Institute, said: “The computing industry is crying out for more computer scientists equipped with the right skills for the future.

“Through the new Institute, we will be able to involve industry much more closely, through apprenticeships and teaching, and help fill the digital skills gap we currently face.

“The North East’s digital sector is one of the fastest growing in the country.

“Together with our world-leading experts in academia and industry we are well-placed to play a key role in this exciting new project.”

The award follows a nationwide competition, run by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), to improve the way universities train people for digital careers.

The government’s £20 million investment will be matched by a further £20 million from industry, including in-kind contributions such as training and equipment.