University of Birmingham celebrates partnerships with business

In recognition of the positive impact of the University of Birmingham’s partnerships with business Vice-Chancellor Professor David Eastwood hosted an evening reception at his private residence to celebrate the University of Birmingham’s successful business partnerships and emphasise the University’s crucial role in supporting business growth in the region.

The evening attracted over 140 senior business executives and entrepreneurial academics and provided informal networking to make new introductions, build on existing partnerships, and highlight the successes of working together.

The event was also an opportunity for the University to demonstrate its translational research strengths. Research themes included transport technologies, medicine, sustainable energy and food security.

Vice-Chancellor Professor David Eastwood

In his opening address, Professor David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor and Principal highlighted some of the considerable successes of the past year including the new £60m High Temperature Research Centre which strengthens its collaboration with Rolls Royce. Also, in April this year, the University of Birmingham launched a new report, by Oxford Economics, outlining its economic impact on the City of Birmingham and West Midlands region.

The report calculated and explored the major economic impact of the University as an educator, employer, research leader and international gateway. It also demonstrated the University’s pivotal role in leading economic growth, creating sustainable jobs and driving innovation. For example, the University generated £1.072 billion of spending in the West Midlands economy in the 2011-12 academic year. This represented a 38% increase since the 2005-06 study.

Commenting on the importance of collaboration between the University and Industry, Professor Eastwood said It is extraordinary what can be achieved when academic colleagues in this University work together with industrial partners and other key stakeholders… we are absolutely committed to making our research expertise available to benefit business."

Mike Wright, Executive Director with JLR also spoke about the company’s long standing collaboration with the University. He said “Jaguar Land Rover has enjoyed a very positive and beneficial relationship with the University of Birmingham for more than 20 years. Our recent framework agreement for placing research projects with the University demonstrates our future commitment to the University of Birmingham and forms part of Jaguar Land Rover's initiative to support collaboration with a number of leading universities in the UK and abroad.”

In highlighting the University’s support for SME’s, Greg Hall of Fusion Innovation Ltd spoke of his experience of working with the University.

"The supporting relationship with the University has been and still is an integral and pivotal part in the development of Fusion Innovations both as a company and also the commercial realisation of its step change technological innovations. Currently culminating in 3 projects one which is a £1m project of 3 West Midland SME’s and the University into the future low carbon adaptive tyre. Fusion now has offices within the Universities supported Birmingham Research Park’s Bizz Inn centre.”

Guests also had the opportunity to speak with this year’s winners of its Enterprising Birmingham Innovation Competition which celebrates the development of academic research expertise into viable business opportunities. This is one of the examples of how the University is nurturing the development of new business ideas.

The University of Birmingham is embracing its role in supporting the regional and national economy. Having established offices in China, Brazil and India, the University continues to enhance its reputation as an engaged University internationally, working with global industry players.

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