CGI (NYSE: GIB) (TSX: GIB.A), one of the largest independent IT and business consulting services firms in the world, and Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland have agreed a partnership to support their joint vision of an improved stakeholder experience for those involved in higher education, whilst growing the Scottish digital economy by investing in a skilled workforce.
The partnership will see CGI leverage its globally-recognised IT and business advisory services expertise, whilst utilising the latest digital technology to bring Edinburgh Napier University’s highly-regarded research capabilities to areas such as improving health and security outcomes for society.
Edinburgh Napier has also joined CGI’s Sustainability Exploration and Environmental Data Science (SEEDS) programme, a new research programme in partnership with academia and the United Nations.
Through SEEDS, the organisations jointly launched a digital twin centre of excellence where five pilot projects have been initiated and the first phases already delivered, including the rehabilitation of stroke survivors so they are able to live as independently as possible. Through this project, technologies are being used to better tailor recovery approaches for individual sufferers by computationally progressing therapy techniques, allowing students to conduct experiments and creating scenarios in a simulated environment.
Lindsay McGranaghan, Senior Vice President, Scotland and Northern Ireland at CGI, said: “We are thrilled to have signed this agreement with Edinburgh Napier University, and are also very pleased that they have joined CGI’s SEEDS programme. As a recognised global provider of IT and business consulting services, we are looking forward to bringing our unique expertise to the university, and to support their vision for a new, sustainable, far-reaching digital stakeholder experience.
Edinburgh Napier University is one of the universities in Scotland with which CGI already has a Graduate Apprenticeship Programme. This sees apprentices study towards a BSc Honours in IT Management for Business, while also developing their career working on real-life projects at CGI, with a paid starting salary.
“This new partnership is a natural extension of our already excellent relationship,” continued CGI’s McGranaghan. “The university not only supports our Graduate Programme but also collaborates with us on other ground-breaking initiatives. These can now be enhanced to involve other educational establishments who share our values of investing in new, innovative, and proactive intellectual property.”
Professor Nick Antonopoulos, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Director of Research at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “I am delighted to welcome the development of a strategic partnership between CGI and Edinburgh Napier University. Our partnership will aim to strengthen the University’s ability to digitise important services for staff and students. It will also create opportunities for collaborative research and the joint development of IP in the fields of health, wellbeing and sustainability. I am also excited to announce that, as part of this partnership, CGI and Edinburgh Napier University are launching a joint Centre of Excellence in Digital Twins with a particular focus on developing AI, together with advanced technology tools and solutions to support sustainability in the environment, businesses and broader society.”
Future ambitions for the partnership include creating sustainability exemplars to improve stakeholder experiences, such as CGI DataTwin360 – a digital twinning technology incorporating augmented reality which streams real-time data and provides carbon accounting that will deliver insights for Edinburgh Napier University. This will help the university better understand and reduce the carbon footprint of its hosting platforms. The two organisations will work closely together as part of an ecosystem delivering new experiences. This will include testing the application of augmented reality to wayfinding around the facilities. CGI is also assisting with developing a future focussed digital campus for students, employees and visitors following a digital maturity assessment earlier this year.
CGI and Edinburgh Napier University will also explore the potential of a significant step change in digital transformation in a university setting, using emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, collaboration toolsets and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The partnership will evolve on a business case by business case basis, with the potential to extend it to other partners such as public sector bodies, colleges and universities.