A closing message from Professor John Clark


Thursday the 30 September 2021 marked Pitch-In’s final official day!

The collaboration that started 1 April 2018 has worked its course to enhance IoT collaboration between the Universities of Sheffield, Newcastle, Oxford and Cambridge and over 100 external stakeholders. Our external impact has been even greater than originally envisaged. We have worked to deliver over 70 mini-projects with collaboration a major element of the great majority.

Our activities have been diverse, from internships with commercial mentoring, sponsoring and developing engagement events in our regional communities, building demonstration projects with local companies, and engagement at trade fairs, through to investigation of means for regional data sharing, support for developing and promoting technical datasets (e.g. for battery management research and innovation), IT strategy development, engagement in COVID-19 response, and the development and delivery of IoT training materials (for executive management and also implementation involving machine learning). We have demonstrated the benefits of IoT in industrial, commercial, local governmental, and national agency settings (e.g. the NHS) but we have also sought to develop underpinning technologies, e.g., techniques to monetise IP component usage in digital systems.

But it hasn’t just been about the technology; Pitch-In has highlighted hitherto unaddressed issues, e.g. how to co-create IoT systems with vulnerable end-users. This issue is likely to assume increased importance for health and wellbeing aspects of HMG’s “build back better” agenda, e.g. digital support for mental health services and support for assisted living for the elderly .

Our target deployment sectors were Manufacturing, Smart Cities, Energy, and Health and Wellbeing with a cross-cutting theme of Managing the Introduction of IoT. Our target was to advance innovation in IoT in line with the Industrial Strategy (as recorded in the Green Paper). However, expertise and resources have found ready deployment further afield, e.g. in urban green spaces and rural and parkland settings. We have had significant impacts in many areas and in many cases have secured follow on sponsorship.

As we sign off from Pitch-in, we look to build on the resources, infrastructures and relationships we have created, supported and developed.

We believe that IoT has much to offer for addressing many contemporary issues and initiatives, e.g. build back better, net-zero carbon and electricity, active buildings, COP26, e-assisted health and well-being, MadeSmarter, evolving and complex supply chains etc. As a result of Pitch-In we are better-placed to engage in these opportunities.

I would like to thank all involved in Pitch-In: Siemens who prompted our engagement in the first place and supported us throughout, individuals who provided strategic advice, collaborators on our individual mini-projects, attendees at our supported local engagement events, the administrative and management teams that supported a rather complex project, and those who have simply taken an interest in our work.

On behalf of Pitch-In, I would like to wish you great success in innovating in IoT going forward. The world needs it.

We would like to express particular thanks to Research England – sponsors of the Pitch-in Award under the Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) programme. Research England’s sponsorship has made the extensive achievements of Pitch-In possible.

Professor John Clark is the Pitch-In project lead. He is a Professor of Computer and Information Security at the University of Sheffield and leads the Security of Advanced Systems Research Group.

Programme thanks

We thank the following for their help in initiating, and guiding the Pitch-In project. We indicate individuals in place at the end of the project. Previous contributors are indicated in parenthesis (also…).

Research England

Sponsors of the Pitch in Award under the Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) programme. Research England’s sponsorship has made the extensive achievements of Pitch-In possible.

Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) – Chair

Dick Whittington. We would like to express particular thanks to Dick for his management and guidance of our Strategic Advisory Board and also for his general support throughout.

Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) – Further External Members

David Moss (Siemens)
Pippa Sharma (BEIS) (also Louis Barton)
Andy Curtis (KTN – Digital)
Barry Hodgson (Deputy Director of the National Innovation Centre for Data, Newcastle University)

Management Board (also attending Strategic Advisory Board)

Principal Investigator: John A Clark
Consortium Programme Manager – Sarah Cullen (also Andrew Darby (for programme initiation) and Geraint Jones)
Operations Manager – Sheffield: Stephen Potter/Sarah Cullen (also Geraint Jones)
Operations Manager – Cambridge: Kate Price-Thomas (also Chris Wilkinson and Chris Pearson) with support from Elizabeth Tofaris.
Operations Manager – Oxford: Andy Gilchrist
Operations Manager – Newcastle: David Scott (also Graeme Young)
Partnerships and Regional Engagement Representative – Sheffield: Chris Baker

Theme Leads

Theme Lead in Manufacturing – Alexandra Brintrup, Cambridge.
Theme Lead in Health and Wellbeing – Luc de Witte, Sheffield.
Theme Lead in Energy – Malcolm McCulloch, Oxford.
Theme Lead in Smart Cities – Philip James, Newcastle.
Theme Lead in Managing the Introduction of IoT – Jonathan Linton, Sheffield.

Pitch-In Administration and Support

Elizabeth Hancox: Pitch-In Administration, Sheffield
Rosie Hakes – Pitch-In Communications Officer (also Debbie Froggatt), Sheffield
Lucy Harper: Independent Consultant

We would like to thank the finance and contracts teams at each site.

We would like to thank the following Sheffield staff for consortium-wide co-ordination and advice at various times during the Pitch-In project:

Christine Hill
Cat Hartley
Alison Atkin
Helen Worsfold
Jonny McQuillin
Joanne Hardy
Andrew J Cattermole
Sarah Loxley