Experts at the University of Birmingham are forging global research partnerships which are transforming business, delegates to CBI Annual Conference discovered today.

Delegates at the London conference heard how the University is revolutionising business in 10 ways through collaborations with industry and business partners in Britain and beyond.

Speakers from the University – including Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Softley; Professor Ian Thomson, from Birmingham Business School and Professor Anne Green from City-REDI – joined Alison McGregor, HSBC’s CEO for Scotland, and Juergen Maier, Chief Executive of Siemens UK, to outline how Birmingham’s partnerships are transforming business by:

  1. Transforming perceptions – the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME) is working with policy influencers to revolutionise how ethnic minority businesses’ £32 billion contribution to UK plc is viewed.
  2. Revolutionising UK rail – Birmingham is leading a £92 million research programme to transform UK rail infrastructure and systems.
  3. Leading the world in clinical trials and healthcare systems – our world-class clinical trials capability is helping to bring lifesaving medicines and techniques to market. We’re also building a new Life Sciences Park to further drive innovation.
  4. Accelerating innovation in cold chain systems – Birmingham Energy Institute is bringing together research and industry to develop the energy technologies of the future; working with national companies to create greener, more efficient transportation and storage.
  5. Reducing business risk with quantum technology – from sensing buried infrastructure on large-scale construction projects to providing precise timing for financial market transactions through the Quantum Technology Hub.
  6. Making air travel greener – working with Rolls-Royce, our High Temperature Research Centre is developing components for the aero engines of the future.
  7. Developing products for extreme environments – our Extreme Robotics lab is working with government and industry to create smarter, safer ways of working in the nuclear industry and other extreme environments.
  8. Transforming productivity in the future workforce – working with business to get the most out of the degree apprenticeship levy and create a productive and innovative workforce.
  9. Shaping the future for creative industries – Birmingham is working with private, public and policy organisations to create new relationships between the creative industries and the Higher Education sector.
  10. Transforming responsible business practice – the University has teamed up with Lloyds Banking Group to establish a £2.5 million research centre.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer Professor Tim Softley said: “Universities have a key role to play in shaping Britain’s business future – nationally and globally – with the national Industrial Strategy calling for more research and innovation to drive productivity growth and for high-value, high income jobs requiring different skills and expertise.”

This has been emphasised by Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood’s comments on the University’s innovative vision: “The University of Birmingham is transforming business through world-class research and purposeful industry partnerships. We're making exciting breakthroughs across a number of sectors, including medicine and engineering, energy and social science - continually pioneering the way businesses can utilise research to unlock value and resources.”

The University hosted a special lunch at the Conference, which it is sponsoring as Networking Partner. Alison McGregor joined the gathering to mark the strategic partnership between the University and HSBC, which is building its new UK Head Office in Birmingham. The partnership has covered research and development, skills education - including curriculum enhancements and employability and graduate recruitment activities, and collaborative profile raising initiatives.

This year’s CBI Annual Conference has considered two key drivers of change – globalisation and automation - enabled by lightning speed advancements in technology. Speakers have explored how the UK can seize new opportunities in order to stay ahead of the curve and ensure that no one is left behind in this whirlwind of change.

For more information or interviews , please contact Tony Moran, Interim Head of Communications, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or +44 (0)782 783 2312. For out-of-hours enquiries, please call +44 (0) 7789 921 165.
Notes to Editors

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries. Founded in 1900, the University of Birmingham was England’s first civic university, where students from all religions and backgrounds were accepted on an equal basis.
  • Professor Ian Thomson, Professor Anne Green and Professor Tim Softley are available for interviews.
  • Professor Thomson’s areas of expertise include: Responsible business, corporate accountability and transparency; and ethical and sustainable decision making. 
  • Professor Green’s areas of expertise include: Labour markets – local, regional, national and international; workforce skills – gaps, trends and opportunities; employment change; inclusive growth; migration and commuting; urban and regional development.