University of Birmingham is making waves with industry partnerships

In recognition of the positive impact of University of Birmingham’s partnerships with business, Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, recently 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.

Now in its fifth year, the evening attracted 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 University has, for example, engaged over 600 high-growth SMEs in more than 1000 projects, partnered over 80 businesses in various KTP projects, and helped industry bid for approximately £20million collaborative funding since 2013. The University’s Business Club has also welcomed over 600 SME business members since its launch in late 2013 and Alta Innovations, The University’s technology transfer company, has a current portfolio of ca. 35 spinouts worth over £200m, having raised over £80m since 2010.

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In his opening address, Sir David highlighted the considerable achievements over the past year. Among these included the launch of the City-Region Economic and Development Institute. Known as City-REDI, the Institute is working in partnership with KPMG to construct a more detailed picture of the region’s economy than has ever been achieved. Doing so will identify where the greatest potential for economic growth lies and how to improve productivity and added-value in both the corporate and public sectors. In addition, Sir David spoke passionately about the University working with local NHS colleagues, the LEP and the City Council, in developing Birmingham as an international centre for the life sciences.
Commenting on the importance of collaboration between the University and Industry, Sir David said,

“Businesses and universities have a critical shared role in the development of skills and the fostering of innovation, and in working together to secure inward investment. Crucially for us, we received particular praise for our sustained engagement with employers. We place a high value on supporting our students to develop the broad range of skills demanded by employers”.

During the evening visitors were treated to an archive display of the Lunar Society of Birmingham; a group of the top intellectuals, scientists and industrialists in the country during the Industrial Revolution who met every month to discuss science, technology, and social advancement. The showcase demonstrated how the city of Birmingham has historically been a leader in knowledge exchange. A model of LIGO (The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) a large-scale physics experiment and observatory used to detect gravitational waves was also on display.

The networking reception also welcomed HSBC back to the City following an investment by the bank of £200 million to relocate a significant part of its operation from London. Speaking at the reception, Francesca McDonagh, Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management at HSBC said,

“As well as links to the city’s history we are excited about the vision for the city’s future. Being based in Birmingham is going to give the bank very many opportunities, not only more direct access to our customers but also to some of the best and diverse talent that the country has to offer. We’re very excited to work with the University to find, develop and nurture this talent”.

The University of Birmingham is open for business and continues to enhance its reputation as an engaged University internationally, working with global industry players. If you are interested in working with the University of Birmingham, contact our Business Engagement Team on +44 (0)121 414 8635.