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Connected city

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Connected city

We have regional, national, European and global connections. To keep us ahead £1.3 billion will be invested in our networks by 2015.

Easy access to 400 million people across Europe

90% of UK consumers are within four hours travel time

High Speed 2 rail  – London in less than 45 minutes 

50 airlines serving more than 140 routes worldwide


Multi-sector strengths

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Multi-sector strengths

Our talented people use their skills and expertise across a range of key sectors.

60% of the UK’s automotive R&D from the region

More BPFS companies than Zurich, Manchester and Edinburgh

23,700 people in architecture and engineering

500 medical technology companies, more than any other UK region


Space to breathe

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Space to breathe

Birmingham was voted best UK city outside of London for quality of life (Mercer Quality of Living 2012).


With more than 600 parks and open spaces and Sutton Park as one of the largest urban parks in Europe there is always space to breathe

Slow down. Explore more miles of canal than Venice

Secure future - 10 Local Nature Reserves and 156 designated nature conservation sites


World class city of culture

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World class city of culture

Indoors, outdoors, participate, watch or find space and quiet to get away from it all. You will always be able to relax and unwind.

Birmingham was ranked among the New York Times’ top 20 international destinations to visit.

Explore cuisine from more than 27 countries and dine in more Michelin star restaurants than any other English city outside London

More than 500,000 works of art in one square mile


High quality workforce

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High quality workforce

Our large talent pool is highly ranked now. It will stay that way.

4.3 million people of working age within an hour of the city

Over 300,000 students and 100,000 graduates within an hour’s drive of the city

A digital hub - for example 21% of the UK's games industry workforce is here

Nearly 1 million people speak a second language


Growth engine

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Growth engine

Our £94 billion regional economy will grow 20% by 2020

Innovative economic zones generating £1.5bn and 50,000 new jobs

Home to 75,000 companies, 1,190 of which are international

Our population will grow to 1.17million by 2018 (ONS)

Birmingham New Street helps move nearly 25million passengers annually

Europe's youngest city, with under 25's nearly 40% of our population


Bold regeneration

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Bold regeneration

We are investing £18 billion by 2026 in a bold 21st Century regeneration plan.

£1.3 billion will be invested in road, rail and air networks by 2015

£25 million is going in to the Digital Media Academy and £188 million on the new Library of Birmingham

£600 million redevelopment of New Street Station is underway

Aston academics scoop award to design app to improve children’s eating habits and maths skills

  • British Psychological Society gives award for developing new app
  • Parents, children and teachers will be involved in the design and testing of the app
  • The app will include games with vegetables
  • The Maths Mastery method will be used to teach basic arithmetic

Academics at Aston University have won a grant to design an app aimed at boosting children’s consumption of vegetables – as well as their maths skills.

The team is being led by Claire Farrow at Aston University and includes psychologists Jason Thomas, Emma Haycraft and Helen Coulthard and Jo Lumsden, a reader in human computer interaction.

The team has been awarded nearly £11,000 by the British Psychological Society to develop the app, which will be tested by three to seven-year-olds, their parents, teachers and nursery staff before being made available for free download.

The academics, who, in collaboration with Loughborough and De Montfort Universities, have already developed other apps to help families resolve fussy eating, intend to build on their previous research which has showed that playing games with vegetables can help encourage children to try and taste these foods.

Dr Claire Farrow, said:

“Together, we have a wealth of experience about the principles behind behaviour change around eating habits. We’re really excited about developing this new app as it will enable us to bring our research into homes, schools and nurseries through an innovative, fun and accessible platform.”

Carl Senior, chair of The British Psychological Society’s Education & Public Engagement Board, said:

“The quality of applications that we considered was astounding but Claire Farrow's application stood above the rest insofar as it exemplified effective public engagement. The maths app is an excellent example of how psychology can be used to make a real difference in children’s lives.”

Dr Farrow explained that less than one in 10 children in the UK eat the recommended levels of fruits and vegetables with low consumption associated with poor dietary variety, feeding problems and the later development of eating disorders. Greater consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with better cognitive performance in children and the prevention of chronic illnesses in adulthood. She said:

“Psychological research shows that many young children reject new foods on sight and they need to be shown unfamiliar foods up to 15 times before they will be confident to taste and eventually like those foods. This can be disheartening, expensive, and time consuming for families,”

The new app – which has a working title of Vegetable Maths Masters – will enable parents, teachers and childcare staff to play games with children that boost their exposure to vegetables. The app will use a range of psychological methods, including rewards, that are proven to increase interest in new foods and eagerness to try them.

The app will also incorporate ideas from the Maths Mastery method of teaching basic mathematical concepts through visual learning. This method is popular in East Asian countries and a recent trial has found it more effective in developing maths skills in younger children than the traditional methods taught in the UK.

Claire added:

“The UK government has recently committed £41m on promoting Maths Mastery in our schools,”
“Our new app is therefore very timely. It will combine visual exposure to healthy foods with visual maths-based skills, making it useful for educators and also parents who want to use this new method of teaching mathematics.”

Claire and Dr Lilit Hakobyan will run focus groups with parents of children aged between three and seven, pre-school teachers and nursery staff to help them to design and refine the functionality of the app.

Claire added:

“We want to ensure that the users of the app are at the very heart of its development,”
“The focus groups will help us to ensure that the app is acceptable and engaging; we want to be sure that parents and children will find it helpful to support maths and healthy eating.”

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