£1M UK National Centre for Digital Heritage established by the University of Liverpool

The Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) at the University of Liverpool has been awarded £1 million funding to establish the UK’s first National Centre for Digital Heritage Research.

The new Centre aims to make Liverpool a global leader in digital heritage research, preservation and enterprise, creating a digital heritage ecosystem and strategy for the Liverpool City Region.

Digital heritage is the use of digital technology to improve the understanding and preservation of cultural and natural heritage.

The new Centre will be located at VEC’s Sci-Tech Daresbury base in the Liverpool City Region. The Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology announced the project as one of a number of national projects funded under its World Class Laboratories Fund that aims to expand and upgrade the UK’s world class research infrastructure, including digital infrastructure.

The VEC’s Head of Digital Industrialisation, Dr Konstantin Vikhorev, said: “The new centre builds on the VEC’s 13-year history of leading Digital Transformation across many different industries and will provide access to cutting-edge facilities that will pioneer a new approach to preserving, promoting, and progressing cultural heritage through technologies such as AI, Blockchain and the Metaverse.”

The VEC’s Visualisation Lead Dr Simon Campion said: “The award equips the VEC to build on the legacy of the symposium to deliver impactful projects for many years to come, enabling us to support the digital preservation of the region’s priceless heritage assets and work with our heritage partners to:

  • Contribute to the creation of a more sustainable, inclusive, and innovative UK heritage ecosystem
  • Showcase heritage across Liverpool and beyond to wider networks (e.g., students, local business, industry leaders, heritage stakeholders)
  • Support collaborative projects to improve the heritage economy, preservation and engagement
  • Create immersive VR exhibitions

The award builds on the success of the first National Digital Heritage Symposium, hosted by the VEC and Co-Investigator Professor Elizabeth Maitland from the Management School, in partnership with St George’s Hall and Liverpool City Council last year, under the ERDF-funded LCR4.0 Holistic Project.

The project was developed in partnership with the Virtual Engineering Centre, the City of Liverpool Head of Heritage Preservation and Development, Alan Smith and Professor Elizabeth Maitland, Chair of International Business with the University of Liverpool’s Management School.

It is funded with a grant of £912,000 award as part of a £103 million investment by UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) to expand and upgrade the UK’s world class research infrastructure, including digital infrastructure.

Pictured above (L-R): Andrew Borland – VEC’s Head of Commercialisation; Elizabeth Maitland – University of Liverpool’s Management School’s Co-Investigator; Simon Campion – VEC’s Visualisation Lead; Konstantin Vikhorev – VEC’s Head of Digital Industrialisation and Principal Investigator; Alan Smith – Liverpool City Council’s Head of Heritage Preservation and Development

Liverpool Waterfront