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The Midlander 25 - Summer 2019

Midlands Engine Trade Mission to China - November 2018

Midlands to host prestigious UK-China leaders’ summit

The Midlands has been chosen to host the prestigious UK/China Regional Leaders’ Summit in 2020 after forging strong relationships with the economic super-power (including the latest Midlands Engine China trade mission pictured above).

The national summit, the fifth to be held between the two countries, will be the most politically significant Anglo-Chinese event the region has ever held.

Midlands Engine Chairman, Sir John Peace, said: “ This is a clear endorsement of the great work that the region has done to develop strategic connections across China.” Find out more

The news comes as Industry leaders, academic experts and regional government representatives from China and the UK gathered in Birmingham to create a blueprint for transforming biomedical engineering research into innovative treatments for patients. Find out more

(l-r) Sir John Peace, Andrew Jones MP, and Midlands Connect Director Maria Machancoses 

£2 billion Midlands Rail Hub plans “the most ambitious for a generation”

A £2 billion package of improvements to transform east-west connections on the Midlands’ rail network has been submitted by Midlands Connect to the Government with a clear message from business and civic leaders: “Don’t ignore the Midlands”.

The Midlands Rail Hub outlines plans to build 15 elements of new and improved infrastructure to enable 24 extra passenger trains every hour on the regional network, reduce journey times, make space to shift 4,320 lorries’ worth of freight from the road to the railway every day and supercharge the economy by bringing the East and West Midlands closer together.  Find out more

The plans, being spearheaded on behalf of the region by Midlands Connect, received support from the then Rail Minister, Andrew Jones MP (pictured), on a visit this month to the region, and Midlands Connect and the Midlands Engine are keen to receive such continuing support from the new Transport Secretary and his Ministers. Read more about the visit of Andrew Jones here.

Artist's impression of Space Park Leicester courtesy of University of Leicester

Space Park Leicester gets £13m meteoric boost

The University of Leicester is to receive £13.7 million of Government funding towards a new Manufacturing, Engineering, Technology and Earth Observation Research Centre (METEOR). The funding will be used to leverage a further £50 million of investments in space and Earth observation (EO) research in Leicester.

METEOR will be a key part of Space Park Leicester, a new, world-leading research, innovation and teaching hub that will bring together academic research and industrial space and Earth observation research and development.

Space Park Leicester is due to open in late 2020. Industry partners will be able to develop new services and technologies with the support of academic researchers. Find out more

£9m funding for West Midlands healthcare

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has awarded new funding to the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) West Midlands.
The NIHR ARC West Midlands is one of 15 centres across England to be awarded funding of almost £9 million for five years, and will begin operating in October. 
The NIHR ARC West Midlands aims to tackle the key issues facing the healthcare system, including the pressures of an ageing population and the increasing demands on the NHS. Find out more

The news comes as Keele University, one of the partner organisations in NIHR ARC West Midlands, also secured over £2 million of funding for musculoskeletal research centre. Find out more

Midlands Connect says MPs HS2 vote sends strong message to new PM

This month MPs sent a strong message to the new Prime Minister to deliver HS2 by voting overwhelmingly to pass the High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill through the Report Stage of parliament.

Maria Machancoses, Director of Midlands Connect, said: "This vote shows there is still resounding cross-party support to deliver HS2 in its entirety. The vast majority of MPs across the Midlands and the North know that high speed rail will bring jobs and investment to their constituencies, release desperately needed rail capacity, rebalance the UK economy and help us all reach our full potential." Find out more

Also this month, HS2 unveiled designs for new automated people mover to connect the HS2 Solihull Interchange with new stops at Birmingham Airport, Birmingham International Station, and the National Exhibition Centre (NEC). Find out more 

Nottingham is one of the Midlands cities named in the top 21 places for business 

Birmingham, Nottingham and Leicester named in top UK cities table to do business

British Business Publication, Management Today, has reviewed the top UK towns and cities outside of London for business.

In its 2019 league table of the top 21 destinations, Birmingham ranks 9th, Nottingham 14th, and Leicester 20th.

To determine the rankings, Management Today reviewed how appealing each town and city is as place to establish a business. They also looked at various metrics including; productivity, the depth of the talent pool, the strength of innovation, the scale of the private sector ecosystem and the rate of growth. Find out more

West Midlands retains position as leading region for attracting foreign investment

The West Midlands has retained its position as the UK’s leading region outside London and the South East for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), according to the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) latest figures.

A total of 155 new FDI projects were recorded in the region during 2018/19, with the number of new, associated jobs created totalling 5,044. The figure representing new jobs is higher than all regions outside London and the South East and the figure representing FDI employment surpassed all UK regional locations. Find out more

The same figures released by DIT show the investment by foreign-owned companies in Greater Lincolnshire increased by more than 200% in one year. Find out more

Contract to deliver HS2's green corridor boosts business in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire business Crowder’s Nurseries is already benefiting from its contract with HS2 – Britain’s largest infrastructure project – to supply 7 million trees and shrubs which will create more than 650 hectares of new woodland between London and Birmingham along the HS2 Phase One route.

The company employs 50 local people who are working on the HS2 contract – the largest contract in the company’s history. Find out more

The size of the HS2 project means that there will be thousands of opportunities within the HS2 supply chain, across many business sectors, requiring a wide range of capabilities, over a number of years that will be suitable for suppliers of all types and sizes. 

Midlands businesses are encouraged to regularly review the supply chain opportunities on the HS2 website here.

Jaguar Land Rover announces electric car investment in Castle Bromwich site

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is investing hundreds of millions of pounds to transform its Castle Bromwich site into the UK’s first premium electrified vehicle plant.

In January the company confirmed plans to bring battery and Electric Drive Unit (EDU) assembly to the Midlands.
The new Battery Assembly Centre at Hams Hall, operational in 2020, will be the most innovative and technologically advanced in the UK. Together with the Wolverhampton Engine Manufacturing Centre (EMC), home of Jaguar Land Rover’s global EDU production, these facilities will power the next generation of Jaguar and Land Rover models. Find out more

Inaugural Midlands Transport Summit opened by Midlands Connect Director

Maria Machancoses, Director of Midlands Connect, which oversees the transport theme of the Midlands Engine, opened the first Midlands Transport Summit this month with a clear message - The Midlands is tired of being ignored. It's time to ruffle some feathers.

The Midlands currently has one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. However, with an array of transport investments on the horizon, there is potential for even more economic growth in the region.

To read Maria's blog about the summit, which was hosted by the Transport Times, visit here.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, (2nd left) on a visit of the new facilities

£22m battery and thermal energy facilities launch

Two research centres for sustainable electrical and thermal energy technologies have been launched at the University of Warwick.

The funding, via the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA), has supported the Energy Innovation Centre which is a world-class facility for battery research and electrochemistry.

While the School of Engineering’s Sustainable Thermal Energy Technologies group develops low carbon heating and cooling technologies.

ERA is a key programme within Midlands Innovation – a consortium of universities across the region - which has the overall aim of harnessing the Midlands’ combined research excellence and industry expertise to play a critical role in tackling some of the biggest challenges facing the UK. Find out more

More regional highlights

  • Precision aerospace components manufacturer opens second West Midlands site. Read more 
  • Plans for £25m M1 junction improvements move step closer. Read more   
  • All change at the top for the West Midlands Rail Executive. Read more 
  • Specialist adhesive tapes manufacturer secures £600,000 MEIF funding package. Read more 
  • Arts Council Hub for Derby. Read more 
  • Rapid surge for shareholders on IPO of University of Birmingham technology. Read more 
  • Universities launch £7.1m programme to enhance productivity for businesses in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Read more  
  • Worcestershire welcomes two delegations from Ireland and USA. Read more 
  • New station plan for Coventry outskirts' new homes and University of Warwick in time for HS2. Read more 
  • Midlands Engine release Quarterly Economic Commentary and the latest regional economic data. Read more 
Upcoming events
Visit the Midland Engine website for a full event listing HERE.
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