Produced alongside the UK’s National Digital Twin Programme, the techUK digital twins report aimed to increase understanding of the emerging technology, while exploring the principles of adoption in order to drive benefits across the economy, environment and society.
In the report, techUK describes a digital twin as:
“A relevant, virtual representation of the state and behaviour of something physical or non-physical with a functional output in the real-world.”
This definition was built on by making a series of recommendations for government and innovation bodies to level up innovation and investment in digital twins, as well as fully exploiting the UK’s budding expertise in this technology.
These steps, set out in TechUK’s study, were as follows:
- Digital twins should be seen as a means of dramatically enhancing the UK’s capacity to deliver on net zero 2050 objectives, addressing social inequality, and accelerating R&D-led growth.
- A 10-year staggered programme of public investment (£150 – £200 million) should be set up, focused on digital twin innovation, adoption, and diffusion, as part of a broader investment scheme that would also enhance research, skills, infrastructure and core engineering capabilities.
- Government should trigger digital twin adoption across the UK, by funding the development of an online digital twin procurement portal targeted at generalist decision-makers across industry, academia, and government.
Following these steps, according to the report, would lead to an enhanced delivery capacity in reaching the UK’s Net Zero objectives, reducing social inequalities, and accelerating R&D growth.
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“Digital twins have the potential to support the UK to deliver on Net Zero 2050 objectives, support the reduction of social inequalities and drive R&D-led growth,” said Susanne Baker, techUK associate director for climate, environment and sustainability.
“However, the lack of consensus around how digital twins can be leveraged and why digital twins can drive better outcomes – for our people, economy, society and planet – means that the full benefits of this technology are yet to be realised.
“This report aims to set out strategic recommendations for industry and Government as to how the UK’s digital twin ecosystem can progress and evolve long-term, so that we can see and support this technological innovation to its full capacity.”