Life-Changing Technologies

With the growth of our global population the demand for products, infrastructure, and services also increases, creating a growing burden on our planet’s resources and geopolitical relations. To answer this challenge we must alter the world’s approach to manufacturing, engineering, and healthcare.

Sustainable Manufacturing

Industrial products are vital to life as we know it, from cars and aeroplanes to food and its packaging. But to meet the nation's 2050 net-zero target, we must revolutionise the manufacturing technologies and processes enabling industries to accelerate decarbonisation.

Our long-term and sustained commitment to supporting original fundamental research has a track record of success in this area, translating into significant strategic areas of innovation, making a difference to commerce and industry in our city, the West Midlands region and across the UK - fitting, as Birmingham is known as an industrial heartland worldwide.

Long-standing collaborations with multi-national partners, such as Rolls-Royce plc, have led to commercial, production and environmental benefits from scientific research in casting, materials and manufacturing and our Sustainable Manufacturing Research Group in partnership with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) is focussed on sustainable and decarbonising processes, including data-driven predictive manufacturing, digital twins, cyber-physical embedded systems, and industrial internet of things.

Critical Materials

The world's supply of rare earth, platinum group metals, and other strategically important materials is under increasing pressure as global demand rises. 

The Birmingham Centre for Strategic Elements & Critical Materials is developing new science to address challenges posed by supply constraints, recycling processes to enable the recovery of critical materials from end-of-life products, mining wastes and even road dust and ways to reuse components containing strategic and critical elements; leveraging our expertise in science, economics and law to answer these challenges and secure these rare materials from the most promising energy-efficient technologies, essential for a sustainable future. 

The UK's first full-scale remanufacturing facility for rare earth magnets will be located at Tyseley Energy Park, supporting the development of a Green Energy and Innovation Quarter in East Birmingham.

Medical Technology and Data

Advances in medicine mean we are living longer than ever, alongside our survival chances following devastating, life-changing events. However, these successes lead to significant challenges. We've extended life expectations, but there is no commensurate improvement in the quality of life to match the longer life span, and there is an increasing demand to deliver new technologies that allow us to diagnose and treat patients more rapidly.

From laboratory through to clinical trials, our interdisciplinary researchers are advancing bone structures and tissue regeneration, finding new methods of detecting brain injuries and cancers earlyimproving anti-scarring dressings and developing innovative, bespoke prosthetic devices.

Through our research, we will aid healing and make a difference to patients with debilitating conditions to ensure people can live longer healthier and happier lives. 

Quantum Technology

We are developing quantum sensing and timing to reveal what remains hidden: beneath the groundin the sky and within the human body and brain. By applying those discoveries, we can create novel solutions to age-old problems, from dementia to public infrastructure.

For instance, street works cost the UK economy billions of pounds each year, and these costs only increase when holes are dug in the wrong places due to difficulty ascertaining the position of underground assets.

Engineers and physicists at the UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing are developing quantum gravity sensors that enable fast, accurate measurements and images, helping reduce transport and civil engineering operational costs. In 2022, our experts located an object hidden below ground using quantum technology, a world-first for a quantum gravity gradiometer outside laboratory conditions.

Our Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing has had over 200 collaborative projects with industry projects valued at approximately £160 million with over 25 patent applications and an ecosystem of over 85 industrial partners.

The decarbonisation of manufacturing is a significant global energy challenge and one which we will need to address if we are to meet our 2050 net-zero goals. The opportunities and potential impact of this partnership are immense and it is fitting that this initiative launches in the Midlands, a region recognised worldwide for its industrial heritage.

Professor Stephen Jarvis

Professor Stephen Jarvis

Provost and Vice-Principal

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