Seven Midlands universities officially joined forces yesterday in a pioneering new partnership to provide a powerful economic resource for the Midlands Engine, after new Prime Minister Theresa May reiterated her support for the initiative.
Midlands Enterprise Universities will see Birmingham City University, Coventry University, De Montfort University Leicester, University of Derby, University of Lincoln, Nottingham Trent University and the University of Wolverhampton collaborate to support jobs and wealth creation in the region.
The consortium formally launched at Birmingham City University’s Curzon building this morning in front of a room of key business leaders, academics and local authority members.
The partnership brings the institutions together to create a unique pool of skills, research, expertise and facilities, which will be made available to businesses and local authorities to create jobs, boost economic growth and plug skills gaps across the East and West Midlands.
Prime Minister Theresa May, who is in Birmingham this week for the Conservative Party Conference, has already pledged her support for the Midlands Engine, setting her sights on maximising the benefits of the region’s location at the heart of the country.
Midlands Enterprise Universities will use its knowledge and expertise to support businesses and sectors key to the region’s growth, including manufacturing engineering and transport technologies; creative and digital design; food and drink manufacturing; health and life sciences; and energy and low carbon technologies.
Professor Cliff Allan, Vice-Chancellor of Birmingham City University, said: “Despite changes at the top, our government has made it abundantly clear just how important it believes the Midlands is to driving forward economic growth in this country.
“Business, skills and innovation will be at the heart of this, so it is important that universities seize the opportunity to play their part in shaping the future of this region, its students and its workforce.
“Bringing together these seven institutions can only strengthen the links between the east and west of our region and ensure we maximise the potential that we have”.
Professor Kathryn Mitchell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby added: “The University of Derby is looking forward to contributing to Midlands Engine productivity and to supporting and stimulating innovation in the Midlands’ supply chains. We are proud to be a part of Midlands Enterprise Universities, which will bring together institutions like ours to increase productivity, and create wealth and job opportunities across the region”.
The Universities collectively contribute more than £3 billion to the region’s economy and already work with many major organisations such as Rolls Royce, Jaguar Land Rover, PepsiCo, UNIPART and the BBC.
They are working closely with their supply chain companies and also deliver focused support to many local small and medium sized businesses.
The consortium is also working with the Midlands Engine to develop collective plans to improve the region’s economy. These include how to develop integrated routes for developing talent in the manufacturing and engineering sector, as well as how to provide a full package of business support to smaller organisations and start-ups with growth potential.