The University of Salford (@SalfordUni) and HOST (@HOSTSalford), the Home of Skills & Technology, have won a bid to establish the first ‘Unity Centre of Excellence on Campus’ in the region, which will be aimed at bringing immersive technology skills, jobs and business innovation support to the area.
The partnership was successful in being awarded a Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) for the project, which will offer expert training in Unity, the world’s leading platform for creating and operating interactive, real-time 3D (RT3D) content.
This first-of-its-kind university and industry collaboration will develop professional-level technical and creative skills, innovation and technology transfer partnerships associated with the Unity platform.
The national Unity Centre of Excellence (COE), based at HOST, will support the university with upskilling 3 faculty teaching staff in the disciplines of interactive media, computer sciences, and psychology to become Unity certified professional instructors; qualify 300 students as Unity professional programmers or artists; and provide 9 graduate led immersive technology start-ups with dedicated business incubation support from HOST.
Alongside this, HOST will operate its Unity in Industry Academy providing commercial continuing professional development (CPD) to businesses in the region, generating a return on investment to support the Unity COE on Campus operation.
HOST is already working with the University of Salford to deliver the Unity in Industry Skills Bootcamps for Skills City, led by former Sony PlayStation@First ‘imagineer,’ and Maker Space Director, Dr Maria Stukoff, who is supporting the development of its esports and XR immersive community.
MediaCityUK is set to double in size by 2030 and as part of the Salford Innovation Triangle, it sits alongside the University of Salford and the Salford Royal Foundation Trust with an ambition to not only become a key tech hub in the North West, but a destination for innovation, attracting investment from across the UK and beyond.
Mo Isap, CEO of IN4 Group, operator of HOST, said:
“This unique blueprint for the Unity Centre of Excellence on Campus with the University of Salford encompasses the vision for the Salford Innovation Triangle, with partners working together across industries to create growth opportunities that have the potential to make a real social and economic impact on the region. The University of Salford is leading the way, and we are actively working with universities in other regions to support them with achieving a similar status to become part of the UK Unity Centre of Excellence network.”
Dr Maria Stukoff said:
“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. 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.”