Lord Prior of Brampton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, visited the University of Birmingham on Monday 24 July to learn more about the innovative industrial research and education taking place at the College of Engineering and Physical Science.

Lord Prior met Professor Clive Roberts, Director of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education. Professor Roberts highlighted Birmingham’s long tradition of partnership with the rail industry on research and education, from the 1970s to its leadership role in the recently announced £92m UK Railway and Research Innovation Network. Lord Prior then got hands-on experience of the centre’s technology, including a high-tech rail safety simulator.

Lord Brior of Brampton using a train simulator at the Birmingham Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education

Lord Prior also visited the University’s Microwave Integrated Systems Laboratory (MISL), for a demonstration of the novel SIMITAR airborne radar system on the roof of the Gisbert Kapp building.

Lord Prior of Brampton with Professor Andy Schofield and mebers of the University of Birmingham SIMITAR project on the roof of Gisbert Kapp

The proof of concept project, led Dr Mike Antoniou, Senior Lecturer at the School of Engineering’s Department of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering,  is a multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) towed radar array, allowing persistent surveillance to be conducted from a wide range of mannered and unmanned air platforms.

Phase 1 of the project was funded through the prestigious Centre for Defence Enterprise's Themed Call on Persistent Surveillance from Air. The University of Birmingham was the only University to proceed to Phase 2 funding in this call.

After his visit, Lord Prior joined Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark, who was visiting the University for a keynote speech on the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Mr Clark took the opportunity to launch the first phase of a £246 million Government investment into battery technology to ensure the UK leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of electric batteries.