Driving Innovation – University of Birmingham

Translating research into economic growth

We translate our research into industry through our signature assets, expertise and research, in which we are continuing to make significant investment, building on historic working links.

Our long-standing partnership with Rolls Royce plc led to the creation of our £ 60m High Temperature Research Center, creating a world-class casting design simulation and manufacturing facility and directly benefiting the manufacturing sector.

The National Buried Infrastructure Facility (NBIF) will help improve how buried infrastructure such as tunnels and pipes are managed. It supports the UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors in testing gravimeters and gradiometers and other commercial partners applying geophysical techniques to locate and assess the condition of buried services.

Transforming Global Rail Industry

The Birmingham Center for Railway Research (BCRRE) is now Europe’s largest academic-based group, providing world-class research, education, and innovation to the global rail industry, specializing in digital systems and rail decarbonisation.

We are also the lead partner in the £ 92m UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN), a collaboration between academic centers of excellence and the rail industry, aiming to provide a step-change in innovation in the sector and accelerate new technologies and products from research into market applications globally.

Addressing manufacturing challenges by creating circular economies

Vital technologies, from communications devices to electric vehicles, depend on raw materials. Our Center for Strategic Elements and Critical Materials is finding solutions to reducing critical material dependency by substituting lithium batteries with more sustainable sodium-ion alternatives and developing technologies to recycle and reuse lithium-ion batteries.

The Birmingham Plastics Network aims to create a sustainable future for plastics which make a positive contribution to our social, economic and environmental well-being without the negative impacts across their life cycle. Instead of creating a plastic-free world, the team is carrying out research to discover ways to create a sustainable-plastic world in which plastics are a valuable asset rather than an unaffordable liability.

As we look to the future, 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. In partnership with the Manufacturing Technology Center, we have launched a new research group, which will seek to transform the sector through sustainable manufacturing technologies and processes.

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