Festival celebrates digital enterprise and innovation


Leeds Digital Festival returns this year with more than 240 events designed to celebrate and explore the city's leading role in digital enterprise and innovation.

Established in 2016, the festival is an open, collaborative collection of digital culture that showcases Leeds’ tech eco-system to a national and international audience.

As part of this year’s festival, the University of Leeds is launching its new digital learning space, HELIX.  

HELIX, located in the EC Stoner building on campus, enables students to create cutting edge content by collaborating on innovative entrepreneurial projects.

They can use state-of-the-art equipment such as the only Omnideck in the UK – which allows unrestricted motion inside VR environments – and have access to immersive technology, prototyping equipment and multimedia studios.  

Leeds is a thriving hub of innovation and digital culture. At Nexus, we are passionate about bringing together the brightest minds from business, technology and academia.

Gareth Scargill, Nexus Director

Professor Jo-Anne Murray, Pro Vice-Chancellor: Digital Transformation, said: “Our digital transformation strategy is opening up a new world of research-led educational possibilities. 

“We are using digital technologies and approaches to enhance our students’ learning and experience, improve our infrastructure and tackle global challenges.

“One example of this is HELIX – our brand-new digital learning space for students, staff and the local community – which we are excited to launch this year. 

“We are proud to be an executive sponsor of this year’s Leeds Digital Festival. This partnership allows us to share our research expertise with a bigger audience and connect with a wider community of digital innovation experts.”

Gareth Scargill, Nexus Director, said: “Leeds is a thriving hub of innovation and digital culture. At Nexus, we are passionate about bringing together the brightest minds from business, technology and academia. Leeds Digital Festival offers the perfect platform to do this, bringing together innovators from across the city and region.” 

Selected University of Leeds Events  

Blueprint for a Digital Campus: Explore, Drop-in, Do

Join us at HELIX, our new digitally-enabled space to explore the world of interactive technologies at Leeds. From virtual reality to data science, podcasting and more, find out how the University is bringing a digital campus to life.  
Demonstrations will include:  

  • Virtual Bee-ality: education and engagement with insects in VR. The demonstration is built on the Gravity Sketch platform that allows users to employ a range of interactive and creative tools. Learners are guided through a series of rooms that offer an opportunity to engage with 3D, fully textured insect models based on scans of real insect specimens.  
  • Neuro Brain Mapping.  In this workshop participants will learn about how advances in neurotechnology are revolutionising our ability to understand the brain. You’ll get to see how your brain activity changes as you perform different actions and in the process, you will contribute to science, as the data you generate will be used to help advance neuroscience research taking place at the University.  

Building a Data Factory

Data is the lifeblood of all organisations and without effective curation and access to data, businesses struggle to manage day to day tasks – let alone implement strategic transformation.  

Monica Jones, Chief Data Officer and Robert Moores, Senior Project Manager at the University of Leeds, share how the Regulatory Reporting Project is using the cloud-based Azure Data Factory service to deliver the HESA student return – a key statutory requirement for the University. The session will include an overview of the solution, the constraints that have impacted the solution architecture and the capabilities and skills needed from the project team as well as sharing best practice and lessons learned.  

The presentation will conclude with how the data factory will become embedded in the University’s enterprise data solution as it matures over time.  

Selected Nexus Events 

Nexus, the Univiersity’s state-of-the-art innovation community, is also running events across the festival this year. 

International Health Innovators

As the world population increases and people live longer, we need to embrace more innovative ways of diagnosing, treating and administering health and social care.  
Nexus and Propel@YH are brining innovative healthcare startups together, from across the globe, to share their solutions on how to solve real world challenges in HealthTech, MedTech and FemTech.  

Speakers include: 

Nexus Connect

Connect with Nexus members, academic researchers and business leaders from across the region.  

Speakers include:  

  • Robert Gunn, Chief Executive Office, LC AuxeTec.  
    • LC AuxeTec developed the world’s first material that is resistant to high impact applications at the molecular level.  
  • Thomas Ims, Business Developer, Smart Crowding.  
    • Smart Crowding is a Norwegian company, and SaaS system, that supports hospitals and trusts with enhanced operational leadership, patient flow management and resource planning.  
  • Henry Dunne, Co-Founder & CEO Micro Needle Solutions (MNS).
    • MNS specialise in vaccine patches – a painless, self-administrative, and thermally stable alternative to needle-administered therapeutics.  
  • Jeremy Warhurst, Director of Discovery, Focus Facilitation.
    • Focus Facilitation enable safe-take-off for projects, programmes, initiatives and startups.  
  • Margaret Korosec, Dean of Online and Digital Education, University of Leeds, and Kerr Hunter, Community Development Manager, HELIX, University of Leeds.  

For the full line up of events taking place across the festival, please visit the Leeds Digital Festival website. 

Further information 

For media enquires please contact Rebecca Hurrey in the University of Leeds press office via r.hurrey@leeds.ac.uk 

Picture credit: Phil Faulks, Digital Education Service.