Cyber-Physical Infrastructure Consultation

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From the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology

Executive Summary

From collaborative swarms of drones packing our food, to interactive virtual representations of operational hospitals, cyber-physical systems and their increasing interconnection are transforming our world at an increasing rate1.

Our consultation last year explored the opportunities and challenges of a national Cyber-Physical Infrastructure, in which connected networks of such systems could provide a step change in the economic and social value of the individual applications.

A significant number of written responses from industry (including both developers and users), academia, the wider public sector and wider society, supplemented by extensive online and in-person dialogue has informed this response.

The strategic value and opportunities of Cyber-Physical Infrastructure were strongly endorsed by respondents, particularly highlighting: Innovation and productivity; Resilience; Climate change response; and Levelling up.

Responses highlighted opportunities across a range of sectors, recognising the breadth and cross-sectoral potential of Cyber-Physical Infrastructure. However, the opportunities within the following sectors were identified most prominently: Energy Systems and utilities; Infrastructure and Built Environment; Manufacturing; Natural Environment; Transport and Supply Chains; and Wellbeing, Health and Social Care. Two cross cutting areas of Research, Development and Innovation, and Net Zero were also strongly identified (see Section 5 for more detail).

There was also a strong call for government to help tackle a number of systemic challenges, through the supporting key enablers, namely: Security & resilience; Interoperability; Recognised value propositions; Frameworks, guidance and standardisation; and Skills (see Section 6 for more detail).

This consultation response sets our vision to enable greater innovation in the UK through a Cyber Physical Infrastructure (see Section 4) and the key next steps that we and wider public sectors partners will continue to take in collaboration with industry, academia and wider society to realise this, including:

• Launching a grant competition to fund one or more organisations working together to develop and host a Cyber-Physical Infrastructure ecosystem accelerating capability

• Continued UKRI funding of a breadth of cyber-physical research, development and innovation including: o £3m to develop a multi-disciplinary UK digital twinning research community

o Additional funding for digital twinning research to support and improve the operation and resilience of the UK energy grid

o A suite of Catapult-led Cyber-Physical Infrastructure projects

o Up to £20m for a research hub in digital twinning for decarbonisation and improved integration of the UK’s transport systemo £7.5 million in cyber security research with partners including the National Cyber Security Centre

o A Turing Research and Innovation Cluster (TRIC) in Digital Twins

• Department for Transport investing in digital twins for transport

• Department for Business and Trade continuing to lead delivery of the National Digital Twin Programme