UCL and AWS partner to launch digital innovation centre

Farma Darya

University College London (UCL) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are joining forces to launch a centre for digital innovation.

The centre, to be hosted at the IDEALondon technology hub, will help healthcare and education organisations to accelerate digital innovation and address global issues in the sectors.

It has sent out its first call for engagement via the Impact Accelerator, a programme offered by UCL and AWS which aims to boost startups by providing advice, education and funding initiatives.

Successful applicants to the UCL Centre for Digital Innovation (CDI) will be supported to build a product prototype or help design it for scalability if one already exists. AWS will also provide AWS credits of up to $500,000 (£370,000) per year to help fund development of prototypes and new solutions.

Healthcare and education organisations, research teams, startups and UCL’s technology spinouts are eligible to apply.


Projects should look to solve a global issue in health or education using cloud computing and have a real user and customer in mind. The aim is to produce evidence-based, commercially sustainable technological innovations.

UCL will draw on expertise from several faculties including medical sciences, IOE, engineering and life sciences, and experts from University College London Hospital (UCLH).

Successful applicants will be given access to training, education and technical support, including a resident AWS solutions architect, domain experts in health tech and ed tech, and immersion days on specialist topics.


AWS launched its first accelerator programme for UK-based digital healthcare startups in 2021. It recently announced 12 innovators who have been selected to take part in the programme.

Last year AWS announced plans to open an infrastructure region in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the first half of 2022. The expansion is part of AWS’s aims to build on its current 80 availability zones globally across 25 geographic regions.


UCL CDI director Graça Carvalho (UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences) said: “This ambitious collaboration brings together the strength of UCL and AWS to build trust within digital innovation, allowing hospitals, universities, patients, students, research teams and UCL spinouts to use cloud-based technology to compete on a global stage.”

John Davies, director, regional government, UK, worldwide public sector at AWS, said: “By bringing together UCL’s world renowned academic rigour with AWS’ cloud technologies and culture of innovation, we hope to provide healthcare and education organisations with a springboard to help them to address some of the toughest challenges facing society right now.”

UCL pro-vice-provost (AI), Professor Geraint Rees, said: “Innovative digital solutions to the world’s problems are best created in collaboration between academic and commercial organisations. The UCL CDI, powered by AWS, combines the best of both domains. We believe that this combined endeavour will lead us to solutions that are evidence based, commercially sustainable and focus on the needs of the world’s citizens.” 


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