Digital twins need ‘£150m funding over 10 years’

There should be an interdisciplinary organisation to drive forward the adoption of digital twins in the UK, backed by £150m-plus of public sector investment over a 10-year cycle.

That’s the first of five key recommendations made by digital technology trade association TechUK in its recent report, Unlocking the value across the UK’s digital twin ecosystem.

TechUK proposes “10-year public investment of £150m-£200m focused on digital twin innovation, adoption and diffusion as part of a broader programme of investment that would enhance the UK’s research, skills, infrastructure and core engineering capabilities” coordinated by the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy and UK Research and Innovation.

The interdisciplinary coordinating organisation would bring diverse stakeholders together to support the “co-designing of inclusive, sector-level digital twin visions and adoption roadmaps”.

Common information requirements and capability gaps would need to be identified, incentives (via tax credits) provided for the “formation of multi-party agreements between diverse stakeholders and UK industry”, and guidance provided on how to develop and implement codes of conduct (around data use and risk, for example) via “supportive government frameworks”.

TechUK also proposes funding of £1.5m-£3m of funding for each digital twin demonstrator in the next four years. The demonstrator projects should highlight how value can be derived from digital twins and come from all sectors (net zero; built environment; public sector and public good; movement of people and goods; and productivity) with a minimum of two to three projects per sector.

The report notes that the demonstrators would enhance day-to-day operational decisions in the management, delivery and observation of public agencies and outsourced social services, with an emphasis on social housing, healthcare and childcare.

TechUK further recommends:

  • the development of an online digital twin procurement portal that would enable “generalist decision-makers to procure digital twins effectively;
  • the identification of the talent pipeline requirements and future demand for skills across the UK’s digital twin ecosystem; and
  • the short-term provision of £1.5m-£3m funding for a live strategic project to demonstrate how digital twins can enhance the UK’s leadership in delivering on net zero 2050 objectives.

The report concludes: “There is an incredible opportunity to use digital twins for good – and this report provides a reference point for those considering how digital twins can be adopted and why digital twins are critical to the UK’s future success.

“Looking to the future our hope is that this report will provide an accessible resource for a wide cross-section of society. People should feel empowered to build out their own adoption plans and roadmaps.

“In doing so, they will undoubtedly face hard questions – especially during the early phases of each unique digital twin journey. Yet those who do pose these critical questions and seek to provide answers will help to unlock value across the UK’s digital twin ecosystem, to the benefit of generations to come.”

Read the report:

The report should be read alongside the Centre for Digital Built Britain’s digital twin business case toolkit:

Image: 164104758 © Ekkasit919 |

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  1. That money would be better suited to trying to solve the first challenge that still isn’t a reality, obtaining the value promised in the 2011 report.(

    We still dont have this value because:
    1) Clients/Public sector owners still haven’t modernised their facility/asset, management teams. Most still work in an analogue way and still spend huge sums reserving their estate even though we have been given them digital asset registers using COBie for over 5 years.
    2) Clients/Public sector owners still haven’t got a grip on what they, and their facility/asset management teams want from the construction sector in terms of information
    3) Clients/Public sector owners still haven’t got their heads around the benefits of the 2011 that were promised if they make these cultural changes.

    Digital Twins will never make it off the ground unless the above is resolved….Unless…Clients/Public sector owners pay more yet again resurveying and collecting the information they need, that they didn’t get at handover to get these systems off the ground.
    Even the highways side if the business that has forms of digital twins now still have a painful process for collecting the data needed to connect the diverse systems that provide the data needed for Digital twins to work.

    We haven’t learnt from the whole “Lets push and develop BIM Level 3 and look towards BIM level 4” when the old description of BIM level 1 was still a dream for the 90%.

    Sorry for the rant, but where is our funding to get the original dream of 20% savings sorted? Because its still a dream.

  2. @John Ford – No one cares matey. CDBB et al are disappearing into the distance chasing shiny hub caps on Digital Twins and the like with jobs for the boys, leaving the majority of industry way behind in its wake. The original BIS BIM strategy was fundamentally flawed from the outset and I speak as a more than willing participant at the time. No strategy for communication and driving into industry, and no strategy for supporting the hundreds if not thousands of volunteers to help embed into industry either. We were used. But like I said, no one cares. They’ve moved on to more shiny things that suit their agenda rather than getting industry on board with some real help

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