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Industry News

Data centre to boost digital cluster

A new £30m centre to unleash the potential offered by big data will be launched at Science Central, in Newcastle, by Newcastle University. The National Institute for Smart Data Innovation (NISDI) was announced in George Osborne’s budget announcement and will bring together industry, the public sector and world-leading academics to develop the skills, ideas and resources needed to exploit opportunities offered by the explosion in digital data.

NISDI will enable businesses to extract value from smart data which will help to address specific challenges in areas including health, automotive and manufacturing.

Professor Paul Watson, Director of Newcastle University’s Digital Institute, explained: “As the volume of big data increases, organisations face real challenges in unlocking its value: the new Institute will help them to achieve this.

“Newcastle is already home to one of the fastest growing digital clusters in the country. By providing world-class facilities and expertise all under one roof, NISDI will act as a beacon for Smart Data innovation, accelerating innovation and helping the region, and the rest of the UK, to become global leaders in this increasingly important sector.”

Charlie Hoult, Chair of Dynamo, said: “This is great news for the region. Dynamo has always placed the region’s strengths in technology in a wider context and it’s testament to the strength and depth of support for innovation and collaboration that the Institute will provide a further platform to engage both nationally and internationally.

“The Institute will also be a beacon for the up-skilling needed for this IT revolution, if we are to succeed in areas such as smart cars, cybersecurity, government digitisation or cloud innovation.

“Our region needs to be at the forefront of this so NISDI is great for the region, great for the University and great for the future.”

Councillor Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “It is great news that Science Central will host a unique facility which brings together industry, the public sector and universities to create the skills, ideas and resources needed to exploit the commercial opportunities provided by Smart Data.

“It was identified in the North East devolution agreement as a priority for the region and this outcome is a testament to the partnership working that went into developing the proposal.

“Local people will benefit from the creation of over 1000 jobs in the city’s booming digital tech sector, helping them to develop the skills of the future. The institute will make a big contribution to the economic growth of the city and the wider region. It will have national and international significance, cementing Newcastle University’s role as the country’s leading centre for research in computing science."

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New hotel nears completion

The North East’s newest hotel is nearing completion: the Hilton Garden Inn Sunderland will open adjacent to Sunderland’s Stadium of Light later this spring. Designed by Gateshead-based architects, Redbox Design Group, the hotel will offer high-quality, good-value accommodation, with two wings housing 141 en-suite guest rooms – providing an ideal base for short break visitors and those attending the wide-ranging events programme at the Stadium too.

It will be the first Hilton Garden Inn property to launch in Northern England and the only one to date between Birmingham and Glasgow. 

“It is a real coup for us to be bringing the Hilton Garden Inn brand to such an exciting location just opposite the Stadium of Light,” said Kim Kelso, Hilton Garden Inn Sunderland’s General Manager.

“The new hotel will help to fill a gap in the market catering for the growing number of people coming to work and play in Sunderland.”

Each guest room in the new hotel will boast the brand’s signature bedding with fresh, white duvets and crisp linens, as well as a spacious and clutter-free work desk with an ergonomic desk chair, in-room mini fridge, individually controlled air conditioning, flat screen TV and access to complimentary WiFi.

Construction on the H-shaped property, which began in summer 2015, is being managed by professional service provider, Turner & Townsend and led by Tolent Construction Ltd.

Key contractors include Opus Building Services, based in Sunderland, Walker Modular, based in Yorkshire and Swandene Specialist Contract Interiors, based at Washington, Tyne and Wear. 

“We are delighted to have been involved in this project and have worked hard to reinvest in the local economy by utilising our own locally-based workforce and regional subcontractors as much as possible,” said John Wood, Tolent Chairman. 

The Hilton Garden Inn Sunderland, which is expected to launch in early May, is already accepting bookings and looking ahead to a busy first quarter.

“Once completed, we’re confident that the Hilton Garden Inn will make an ideal base for tourists exploring the sites of Sunderland and the surrounding area,” said Kim Kelso.  

“It will also offer an accommodation option for those attending events at the Stadium of Light, including football, weddings, corporate events and the performance by Beyonce in June.”

For more information about the Hilton Garden Inn Sunderland please visit or or email

About Hilton Garden Inn
Hilton Garden Inn is the award-recognized, peaceful and energizing hotel brand that continually strives to ensure today’s busy travellers are appreciated and have everything they need to be most productive on the road. Hilton Garden Inn offers the amenities and services for travellers to sleep deep, stay fit, eat well and work smart during their stay. Approachable and professional Team Members operating at more than 665 hotels around the world are committed to providing a welcoming and dependable hotel experience for every guest, every time which is reflected in the satisfaction promise to do whatever it takes to ensure every guest is satisfied, or they don’t pay. You can count on us. Guaranteed™. Hilton HHonors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels receive instant benefits, including an exclusive discount that can’t be found anywhere else, free standard Wi-Fi and digital amenities like digital check-in with room selection and Digital Key available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton HHonors app. Visit or for more information about our locations.

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US connections take flight

From Thursday 26 May, travellers to and from North East England will be able to connect with destinations across the United States by taking advantage of United’s seasonal nonstop flights between Newcastle and its New York hub, Newark Liberty International Airport.  United operates flights from New York / Newark to over 300 destinations throughout North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, including more than 100 served nonstop. 

The airline introduced seasonal service on the Newcastle-New York / Newark route last year. 

“We are excited to return to Newcastle this summer,” said Bob Schumacher, United’s Managing Director Sales – U.K. and Ireland. “Our flights offer business and leisure travellers convenient access to New York City as well as connections across the Americas. Through our New York hub, we can connect our customers directly to over 100 great destinations including Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles.” 

Flight Schedule

Flight UA75 will depart Newcastle daily except Wednesday at 9:10 a.m., arriving at New York/Newark at 11:55 a.m. the same day.  The return flight, UA74, will depart New York/Newark daily except Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., arriving in Newcastle at 7:30 a.m. the following day (all times local).  Flight times will be seven hours 45 minutes westbound and seven hours eastbound. 

The flights will be operated by Boeing 757-200 aircraft with a total of 169 seats – 16 flat-bed seats in United BusinessFirst and 153 in United Economy, including 45 Economy Plus seats with added legroom and increased personal space. 

“Preparations are well underway as we await the return of United Airlines and its direct service to New York and beyond.  An amazing amount of planning and preparation continues to go on behind the scenes to ensure everything is perfect for our passengers,” said David Laws, Chief Executive, Newcastle Airport.  

“Connectivity is vital for the region and as well as connecting the North East to New York, United Airlines’ Newark hub provides access to more than 300 destinations right across the Americas to a range of key cities, including Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orlando.  “I continue to call upon everyone in the North East to support the route and make sure that this direct service is the first choice for leisure passengers and businesses alike.” 

Onboard Products and Services

United BusinessFirst offers a superior business-class service.  The BusinessFirst seat reclines 180 degrees into a 6-foot, 4-inch lie-flat bed and features a personal on-demand entertainment system with a 15.4-inch touch-screen monitor.  BusinessFirst amenities include laptop power, USB ports, noise-reduction headsets, amenity kits featuring Soho House’s Cowshed skin-care products, duvet-style blankets and a multi-course meal with complimentary wines.

United Economy offers complimentary food, soft drinks, juices, beer and wine, tea, coffee and inflight entertainment.  Seats feature an adjustable headrest and a personal on-demand entertainment system. 

United Economy Plus offers up to five inches of extra legroom.  Located near the front of the Economy cabin, the seats give the added benefit of allowing a swifter exit from the plane upon arrival.

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