We're seeking two senior leaders  

The Midlands Engine is seeking two inspirational, energetic, innovative and superbly-connected leaders to join our team working to make the Midlands known nationally and internationally as the best place in Britain to live, work, study and invest.

Our Chief Executive and Programme Director will play crucial roles in driving, delivering and communicating the Midlands Engine partnership’s programme of work, enabling it to achieve a high-level of positive recognition nationally and internationally and positioning it and its partner organisations to improve productivity, create jobs and drive economic growth.

More information on both posts is available here.

Deadline for applications is the 8th September.


Business Secretary aims to establish UK as world leader in battery technology as part of modern Industrial Strategy

Business Secretary Greg Clark came to the Midlands to launch a £246 million competition to put Britain at the forefront of next generation battery technology. 

The Midlands is looking to plug in to the opportunities of this emerging sector and last month plans for a National Battery Prototype Centre in Coventry were revealed.

Clark told an audience at a Resolution Foundation event at the University of Birmingham that “we need to ensure that we find and seize opportunities to work more productively – as a country, as cities and regions, as businesses and as individuals.”

The first phase of the investment in battery technology will provide £45 million for the Battery Institute, a research facility to make the technology more accessible and affordable.

Read more

HS2 routes and contracts confirmed

Midlands Connect welcomed confirmation on HS2 routes in the north-west, East Midlands and Yorkshire earlier this month.  The Transport Secretary Chris Grayling MP also announced the decision to award the first stage of £6.6 billion worth of new contracts – supporting 16,000 jobs across the country.

An upcoming bill related to the section from the West Midlands to Crewe will effectively act as a planning application, with the line expected to open in 2027 if approved by Parliament.

Sir John Peace, Chairman of Midlands Engine and Midlands Connect, said: “This latest HS2 announcement is another step towards bringing together the east, west, north and south of the Midlands and the wider UK.

“Building HS2 to connect the UK and the Midlands will be a major boost to growth if we are prepared for its arrival. HS2 is more than just trains and tracks, it presents a once in a lifetime opportunity for the UK to benefit our children and their children after that."

Read more


Midlands cities bid for 'City of Culture' title

Both Coventry and Stoke-on-Trent have made the shortlist for the 2021 City of Culture title.
The UK City of Culture competition, run by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will announce the winning city in early December from 2017's City of Culture, Hull. 

View Coventry and Stoke-on-Trent’s bids here.

Universities and rail industry consortium secures £92m to fund research opportunities

A partnership between the rail supply industry and a consortium of eight universities has secured £92 million to fund research aimed at establishing the UK as a centre of global railway excellence.

The partnership, part of the newly-created UK Railway Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) – has won £28 million funding from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) managed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

The funding will be boosted by £64 million of support from 17 industrial partners including Alstom, Siemens and Bombardier Transportation.

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Overseas Companies Continue to Invest in the Marches 

More than 830 new jobs were created during 2016-2017 as a result of a 40% increase of foreign investment in the Marches region.

The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership supported 15 of the investments featured in the report published by the Department for International Trade, including businesses such as the automotive manufacturer Magna whose new facility in Telford alone will create 295 jobs. 

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£20m research project maps out autonomous future

A £20 million research project intro driverless cars that is being pioneered in the Midlands will move from the test track on to the open road.

The UK Autodrive project is being driven by Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Tata Motors European Technical Centre have been trialling connected car technologies at the HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground near Nuneaton.

The project will now move on to the open road, with tests being carried out around Coventry and Milton Keynes.

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Midlands Innovation expands

Midlands Innovation, one of the region’s most influential academic collaborations, is expanding its portfolio with the addition of two new members, Keele University and Cranfield University.

The pioneering partnership currently consists of the universities of Aston, Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick, and seeks to amplify the economic development of the Midlands through uniting universities and industry to drive cutting-edge research, innovation and skills development. 

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Regional Highlights 

Greater Birmingham industry ranking successes  
Birmingham has maintained its status as the top UK regional destination for conferences and events according to global meetings specialist Cvent.

The index is compiled using qualifying criteria including how often a destination is searched for by Cvent clients and the total number of room nights generated by events.

Birmingham has also jumped more than 100 places in the 2016 ICCA city rankings, seeing the city’s number of qualifying events for the rankings nearly double in 2016-17.

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Opening of the High Temperature Research Centre, in Coventry

The University of Birmingham and Rolls-Royce celebrated their joint collaboration to establish a High Temperature Research Centre (HTRC) with an official opening ceremony.

Business Minister Richard Harrington visited the 5,800 sqm facility which was funded through a £40 million investment by Rolls-Royce, matched by a £20 million government grant through the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF).

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Lord Prior shares construction and infrastructure roadmap 
A national technology roadmap that will support the growth and technical capabilities of the UK construction and infrastructure sector was launched by Lord Prior of Bampton in July at a meeting of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC).
The roadmap, produced by i3P (the Infrastructure Industry Innovation Platform) in partnership with the Manufacturing Technology Centre outlines the critical challenges which need to be addressed in order to meet the targets set in the Government’s Construction 2025 Strategy – including 33% lower costs; 50% faster delivery; 50% lower emissions, and a 50% increase in exports. 

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BWB Consulting CEO Steve Wooler
BWB Consulting CEO Steve Wooler

Spain invests in Midlands engineering talent
BWB Consulting has been described as “the best of British design engineering” after it was acquired by a global transport specialist.
Headquartered in Nottingham, BWB also employs 60 people in Birmingham and is being acquired by CAF Group, a rail systems giant which is based in Bilbao, Spain.

CAF says it wants to invest in BWB’s expansion plans in the UK while also using BWB’s expertise to help it grow its presence in English-speaking markets around the globe.

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Regeneration scheme expected to bring 3,300 jobs to Derby
The regeneration of a brownfield site in Derby, Derby Triangle, could create more than 3,000 jobs and bring “significant benefits” to the city economy.

Network Rail and regeneration specialist St Modwen have been given the go-ahead to develop this ambitious mixed-use scheme which is just off the A52 and within easy reach of the M1 motorway.

Read more

In other news...

• Aston University’s Advanced Services Group has been commended for its work in helping SMEs increase revenues. Read more  

• Boost & Co secures additional £20m commitment from British Business Bank. Read more

• Worcestershire has recorded the strongest growth in higher level workforce skills in the UK, for the second year running. Read more

• £100m retail and visitor destination planned for Lincolnshire. Read more  

• UCB launches £38m higher education centre in Birmingham's historic Jewellery Quarter. Read more  

• The Nottinghamshire Manufacturing Network is set to expand with new home in University of Nottingham’s Advanced Manufacturing Building. Read more  

• West Midlands named as key financial services hub. Read more  

• ‘Five-star’ study reveals way forward for D2N2 area visitor accommodation. Read more  

• West Midlands named as a growing housing hot-spot. Read more  

• Ambassadors set to fly the flag for Nottingham. Read more  

• West Midlands Mayor declares Dudley “open for business” at DY5 launch. Read more

Upcoming Events

19 - 23 Aug            NY Now, Javits Centre NYC

22 - 26 Aug            GamesCom, Cologne

6 Sept                    West Midlands Forum for Growth, Birmingham

12 Sept                  'Future of the Midlands Engine', Birmingham 
12 Sept                  All Parliamentary Group, Westminster
19 Sept                  Gulf States Tour, Burton
24-27 Sept             Labour Party Conference, Brighton

26 - 29 Sept          TRAKO International Railway Fair, Gdansk, Poland    
1-4 Oct                  Conservative Party Conference, Manchester
3-4 Oct                  SME2017, NEC Birmingham    

7 Oct                     Developing Capability for Shifting Times, Warwickshire

7 - 11 Oct              Anuga Food Fair, Cologne
10 Oct                   Telegraph Britain’s Smart Cities Conference, London
12 Oct                   BCC International Trade Summit, Birmingham
16 Oct                   Rail Forum Annual Conference, Pride Park Stadium, Derby
18-19 Oct              MIPIM UK, London

8 - 9 Nov               Innovate 2017, NEC, Birmingham
14 Nov                  Transport-Led Development, DLA Piper, Birmingham

29 Jan - 1 Feb      Arab Health 2018, Dubai

8 - 11 Feb             Auto Expo Components 2018, New Delhi