Industry Engagement 

Opportunities for industry to engage with the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education.

The work of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education is focused on generating research and researchers that will impact on the future of railways and deliver high quality education that develop a cadre of students who have the talent and capabilities to lead the rail industry in the future. Strong links between the many parts of the rail industry and the BCRRE are essential to delivering this vision and to ensure the relevance and value for money of the investment made in our research and education programmes.

Please find below a summary of how industrial partners and BCRRE can work together, including an indication of the financial and in kind commitment involved:

Opportunities for industry to engage with the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education
 Scenario % of IEA RTS projected renewables capacity by 2050  % of IEA 2DS projected renewables capacity by 2050
Indicative Input

Shaping and Delivering Education

Membership of BCRRE’s overseeing Industrial
Advisory Group (IAG)

Time commitment and expenses if required

  • Review and advise BCCRE on its strategic direction and growth plans to ensure future skills and research needs are met
  • Typically 2 meetings each year

Act in the role of reviewer for specific courses

Time commitment and expenses if required

  • Review and advise on course material, ensuring content is relevant and current

Deliver guest lectures within BCRRE courses

Time commitment and costs and expenses may be covered if required

  • Raise the profile of your company for the purposes of attracting talent and educating students
  • Engage with students during discussions/Q&A sessions

Student Development for Employability
& Staff Development

Sponsor undergraduates and MSc/MRes
students through their degrees with a view to
offering full time graduate employment

Fund bursaries for time at University (£2k - £6k pa) and paid work during vacations and years in industry

  • Select and develop promising students to work for your business in the future
  • Provide rapid and structured development opportunities to the student that match the business needs of your business
  • Develop company loyalty and ethos within the student while they are being educated
  • Tie in clauses may be written into contracts as appropriate

Employ students for a year in industry (usually
taken after year 2 or 3 on UG courses).  The student spends a minimum of 45 weeks placed in your business





Student salary (typically £16k to £20k)

Mentoring from individuals in your business

  • Rapid development of student capabilities and responsibility levels while contributing to your business
  • The student compiles reports and collects evidence of experience. Your business makes a contribution to the University’s assessment
  • Provides a 12-month mutual interview and selection process for potential graduate employment

Employ students for summer placements. 
Selection via the “Respect” scheme and railway placement recruitment activities



Vacation salary costs (£16-£20k pro rata)

  • Development of student capabilities while contributing to your business
  • Summer vacation work valued for industrial modules and experience to give informed choice
  • A “no commitments” on the job mutual selection process for a potential year out and/or graduate employment

Set and help review a final year student project.
Can be used to explore solutions for a technical challenge identified within your company

Typically £200-£500 per project to cover consumables etc. Staff time input

  • Develop a student by getting them to investigate a particular engineering concept, problem or issue that is important to your business
  • Projects run between October and May during the academic year and are set usually in preceding March – May
  • Results may vary depending on student capability and no guarantee can be given for the outcome of a project, as its’ prime purpose is to develop and demonstrate a student’s learning and engineering skills

Deliver lectures showcasing your company’s projects and achievements during seminar series such as the Civil Engineering Beale seminar series during autumn term or the BCRRE seminar series during Autumn and Spring terms


Expenses + (potentially) sponsorship of catering (to maximise audience)

  • Raise the profile of your company for the purposes of attracting talent and educating students
  • Engage with students during discussions/Q&A sessions/ pre-seminar buffet

Sponsor undergraduate laboratory or design


Typically between £0.5k and £3k. Input of  expert staff time

  • Develop a high profile for your company across a whole year group of students
  • Observe students in action and have a guiding input to their learning

Civil Engineering Constructionarium sponsorship. 
The constructionarium is an intensive 6 day residential exercise that takes place annually
at CITB in Norfolk

Financial sponsorship of up to £15,000 +


  • Benefit from high profile intense working contact with high-calibre students, many of whom look for jobs with sponsoring companies
  • Contribute to rapid student development during intense and challenging output based learning project exercises

Student society event(s). e.g. sponsoring student society balls or hosting site visits to your company’s projects


Expenses + catering (maximise audience)

  • Raises profile of company to target audience
  • Opportunity for informal interviews


Support employees or students ona BCRRE’s masters programme

Student fee and, if appropriate, a stipend

  • Can attend PT or FT and build up qualifications from PG Cert, PG Diploma to MSc
  • MRes with Industrial Studies offers flexible study and research with placement work to support graduate conversion from non-engineering degrees into railway industry
  • Your staff  can attend individual modules as CPD (Typically £1,140 per intensive one week assessed module)

Fund BCRRE to deliver a bespoke short course
to meet the requirements of your business

Course delivery cost – subject to quotation

  • We can deliver railway education course to meet your requirements

Research & Development


Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project for 6- 36 months to apply technology/knowledge available at the University into your business, using adedicated resource (KTP associate).The project must have a oduct or service

You steer the proposal process and there’s no requirement for academic results (although it helps to justify academic input). The KTP associate can be a graduate with any number of years of experience

The KTP associate is an employee of the University but spends almost all of their time at your company site. They cannot previously have been  employed by the company but can be offered a job on completion of the KTP

Typically £20k-£25k pa for SMEs (i.e. one third funding) or £30k-£35k pa for larger companies (i.e. one half funding)


  • A high quality full time graduate working on your company’s KTP project
  • Cost includes 10% academic time, access to university resources and a budget for travel and equipment and specialist training/ conference attendance
  • Includes a management (steering) group which ensures progress throughout project
  • At least 75% of time is expected to be spent at the your company site, making this an industrially-practical option
  • A KTP is business outcome focussed; you decide what, ultimately, is to be achieved and this guides the academic input this throughout the KTP project
  • KTPs are often an effective mechanism to enhance business networking through the University’s extensive contacts with Industry
  • Proposal process can take some months and involves developing a clear project outline and business case
  • Typical timeframes from first meeting with KTP advisor and commencing activity can be 6 months

Support a PhD where a postgraduate student works exclusively on a particular subject for 3 years 

A minimum of £7k per year for 4 years

  • A PhD is largely a self-governing project, so direction can change according to results, industrial preference, etc
  • Approximately 20% of student’s time is expected to be spent at the company site, for sponsored projects
  • There are a number of essential academic requirements to meet the PhD criteria which may dilute focus on the industrially-relevant work
  • PhDs can start any time in the year
  • There are Research Council grant schemes that may help support funding of PhDs focussed on industrial research

Collaborative research - work in partnership with BCRRE to propose and carry out research either just
with BCRRE or with multiple partners

Costs depend on scope of research

  • Potential to obtain additional/leveraged funding through, for instance, research councils, industry bodies, club membership of projects