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Greater Birmingham is an undoubted centre of innovation in the advanced engineering industry. In particular, the city’s universities offer world-class research capabilities in a variety of fields and the wider Midlands region provides an epicentre of automotive innovation.
The University of Birmingham is a key founding partner in the development of the £40 million Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) at Ansty Park near Coventry. Its goal is simple: to become a world-class global research facility. The university also specialises in advanced materials, castings technology, low-carbon vehicles, new fuels, engine testing, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering, computational engineering and is home to the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre. Continually developing pioneering activities, the university has acquired brand new multi-fuel dynamometers enabling them to test hydrogen fuel cell cars around their campus.
Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education at the University of Birmingham is Europe’s largest rail research group with a number of test rig facilities and leading expertise in:
Birmingham City University have heavy engine dynamometers and environmental technologies whilst their knowledge-based engineering helps companies build the right strategies for optimum usage of equipment and technologies to drive business requirements. They also specialise in environmental technology, heavy fuel engine testing and recycled materials.
Aston University’s centres of excellence focus on Power Engineering and Power Electronics Group, and the Photonics Research Group. The Power Engineering and Power Electronics Group is an expanding research group that undertakes research into both theoretical and practical aspects of power electronics and its impact on electrical power networks, ranging from the analysis and management of hierarchical complex networks such as a power electronic system, through to hands-on industrial experience in distribution and transmission networks. The group has extensive links to industry and undertakes undergraduate teaching (primarily foundation degree) to major Power Utilities.
Coventry University has a world-renowned design studio and specialisms in intelligent transport systems, metrology, aerodynamics, electrical systems, manufacturing problem solving and low-carbon vehicle technology.
The University of Warwick is home to a world acclaimed business school and Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) – the latter specialising in mechanical and electrical engineering, new materials, 3D X-ray analysis and design walls, hybrid vehicles, joining technologies, manufacturing low-carbon technologies and battery technology. It also boasts one of Europe’s only measurement tools for volatile chemicals from interior trim as well as electronics and engine test beds.
Located at the University of Warwick, £92 million will be invested in the National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC) and research activities over a 15-year commitment between Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors European Technical Centre, WMG/University of Warwick and an expanding network of supplier companies.
The NAIC will focus on the long-term multi-disciplinary challenges outlined by the UK Automotive Council, such as electric vehicles (including energy storage and e-drives), carbon reduction (including hybrids, light-weighting and composites), smart and connected cars that include on-vehicle competence, driver assist technology and cyber security for connected vehicles. The NAIC will create a unique resource that fosters collaboration, cohesion and cross fertilisation of knowledge and that will provide a platform for greater involvement in EU-wide research programmes. The anticipated date of completion is autumn 2016.
Supporting the £1 billion industry and government commitment to the development of low carbon propulsion systems, the University of Warwick is to host the central hub of the newly created Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). The central hub, together with a national Spoke structure, will provide the UK automotive industry with resources and facilities to develop advanced propulsion systems and supply chains.
The APC will incorporate over 30,000 people in the UK engaged in the research, development and production of vehicle powertrains, as the industry transitions to a low-carbon future for all modes of transportation. The APC will help forge partnerships between entrepreneurs and the industry, helping to bridge the gap between concepts and commercialisation, enabling projects that provide profitable growth to contribute to the UK’s prosperity.
Science City Research Alliance is a strategic union between the University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick focussing capabilities in Advanced Materials and Energy Futures at these two leading universities, specialising in low-carbon technologies.
The University of Wolverhampton is continually growing its base in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and the Faculty of Engineering’s specialties include applied research and knowledge transfer, pervasive computing, computer simulation for engineering, materials engineering, rapid manufacturing and metal forming.
The University also benefits from two direct metal laser sintering machines, one of the few machines in the UK capable of manufacturing titanium parts used by the aerospace, motor sport and other premium engineering sectors.