What creative and technological skills are needed in the future, and how can UEA equip its students and staff? 

Norwich Research Park

Launched in 1992, Norwich Research Park is home to a wealth of world class research. Alongside UEA, its membership includes Earlham Institute, Quadram Institute, John Innes Centre, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and The Sainsbury Laboratory. As a concentration of globally renowned expertise, it is uniquely placed to address 21st century challenges and innovate to help make a better future.

Innovative cultural partnerships for our communities and region

Since 2020, many of our cultural organisations have found exciting new audiences, sometimes international, sometimes hard-to-reach groups, and many who are happy to have found new creative engagement.

In 2021, UEA joined cultural innovators and leaders in our region as a member of the New Anglia Culture Board. The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership works with businesses, local authority partners and education institutions to drive growth and enterprise in Norfolk and Suffolk. The partnership is transforming the economy by securing funds from government to help businesses grow, through the delivery of ambitious programmes to ensure that businesses have the funding, support, skills, and infrastructure needed to flourish and ensuring that the voice of the local business community is heard.


Innovating in virtual worlds

Harnessing technology, UEA innovates in research and how we share it. We investigate the possibilities of Virtual Reality (VR), and its ability to shape our experiences in education, health, science and the humanities. Embraced across disciplines, VR allows us to think without borders, whether it's geography, environmental sciences, creative writing or psychology.

As VR increasingly enters our homes and workplaces, in gaming and in simulations, UEA researchers have found a myriad of applications. From UEA surgeons understanding the molecular structure of a body to creating the UEA Virtual Open Day, giving visitors a virtual campus tour from anywhere in the world. Engineering students now work on rapid prototyping without having to build material models. Through simulations, they run new car designs and can speed up any process. 

In partnership with leading-edge VR experts like Immersive Studios, East Anglia and its creative industry and economies has an exciting future with virtualisation at its heart.

Woman in Psychology Lab
Psychology Student in UEA’s Virtual Reality Suite.

Innovative making - 3D printing for medicine and more

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UEA used 3D printing to create ventilator parts, masks and other critical medical equipment. Professor Aram Saeed, in the School of Pharmacy, and Professor Ben Garrod, in the School of Biological Sciences, mobilised a team that joined forces with many local groups including Sync Norwich, Hot Source, Norfolk Developers, Norfolk Network and TechEast – forming the network of software skills and design expertise needed to make these crucial items.

Looking ahead, researchers in the Norwich Business School recently predicted future trends and perspectives on 3D printing for biopharmaceutical manufacture and research. 

Our School of Computing uses 3D printing to generate 3D physical models, for use in applications such as surgical planning. They are also creating 3D replicas of delicate cultural heritage artefacts, including intricate Cantonese chess pieces to explore how these objects are understood and conserved.

3D printing face coverings visors in UEA lab
3D-Printing being used by UEA researchers as an innovative tool for surgical planning.

Innovations in Artificial Intelligence

Our research looks beyond human understanding to the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to augment and even replace human problem-solving, tasks and activities across a range of industrial, intellectual and social applications.

UEA researchers are at the forefront of this rapidly developing field. Norwich Business School leads the way with insights into the impacts, challenges and opportunities of AI. They have also set an ambitious AI research agenda for business and management, government, the public sector, science and technology.

An exciting collaboration between Norwich Medical School and the School of Computing is investigating the role of AI in everyday settings, and its potential benefits in domestic care. Their work will develop kitchens designed to make the everyday task of preparing food safer for people with dementia. Our researchers call this design the ‘Dementia Assistive Smart Kitchen’, an innovation bringing comfort to many through the creative application of technology.

Student Programming Robots
UEA’s School of Computing Sciences offers innovative new interdisciplinary courses such as its BSC Computing and Creative Technologies.

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