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Midlands Innovation – ERC Researcher Workshop

Midlands Innovation held a joint workshop with Enterprise Research Centre for researchers with an interest in innovation systems and local policy. The 25 attendees represented all Midlands universities.

Presentations covered the work of Midlands Innovation (Sue Clayton, Nottingham), some recent survey work on business innovation in Coventry (Stephen Roper, ERC), City-ERDI (Simon Collinson, Birmingham and the recent Midlands Engine SIA (Pam Waddell, Science City).

Presentations from the event can be viewed via the links below:

Sue Clayton, Midlands Innovation: http://www.slideshare.net/enterpriseresearchcentre/mi-presentation-presentation

Stephen Roper, ERC: http://www.slideshare.net/enterpriseresearchcentre/surveying-local-innovation-coventry-and-beyond

Simon Collinson, City REDI: http://www.slideshare.net/enterpriseresearchcentre/city-redi-presentation-slides-city-redi-erc-midlands-innovation-event-presentation-13022017

Pam Waddell, Birmingham Science City Alliance: http://www.slideshare.net/enterpriseresearchcentre/midlands-engine-science-and-innovation-audit

Discussion in the latter half of the meeting focussed on the Midlands SIA and identified a number of ideas for potential collaborative research projects. Two further meetings are planned. For more details regarding the next seminar please email Ellen McGhee ellen.mcghee@nottingham.ac.uk

Author: Ellen McGhee. Published: 28.02.2017 10:47:23

Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTC/DTP Student Conference 2017

The 5th Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTC/DTP Student Conference will be held at the University of Birmingham on Wednesday 7 June 2017.

The conference is designed to bring together ESRC-funded students from the Universities of Birmingham, Nottingham and Warwick, as well as other social science postgraduate researchers from the Midlands Innovation partner Universities of Aston, Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick. These six institutions form the Midlands Graduate School ESRC Doctoral Partnership which was founded in 2016, with the first intake of students to begin in October 2017.

The conference will provide an excellent opportunity for students to share ideas, experience and advice with fellow researchers from other universities, and to strengthen the links within the Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTP.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Communication of Social Science”; a broad theme which will appeal to all postgraduate researchers from all areas of economic and social sciences.

The keynote speaker will be Professor Angela McRobbie – Title of paper: Re-vising and Re-Visiting ‘Top Girls’: Feminism, Femininity and Neoliberalism.

The conference will be held at the Nicolson building (G11 on the campus map), located within the beautiful Winterbourne gardens on the edge of The University of Birmingham Edgbaston campus. Lunch and refreshments will be provided, as well as evening drinks.

Contributions are invited from all social science postgraduate researchers registered at the Universities of Aston, Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick. All social science postgraduate researchers and supervisors registered at the Universities of Aston, Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick are welcome to attend.

We encourage submissions to be reflective about the concept of communication and how it has affected their research. However, we also welcome submissions from all areas of the social sciences and look forward to a broad range of exciting research being presented.

We invite submissions for short presentations from ESRC-funded postgraduate researchers from the Universities of Birmingham, Nottingham and Warwick. Each presentation will be scheduled for 15 minutes followed by 5 minutes Q&A. We invite submissions for posters from all postgraduate researchers working within the fields of economic and social research registered at the Universities of Aston, Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick.

The deadline for both short presentation and poster submission is 31 March 2017. Abstracts for both short presentation and poster should be less than 1000 characters. Abstracts will be reviewed by the Organising Committee, and the notification of acceptance will be sent out by 30 April 2017.

The conference is free to attend.

Due to limited space, we will accept participants on a first-come, first-served basis.

Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTC/DTP Student Conference Registration page

Author: Ellen McGhee. Published: 27.02.2017 08:59:04

£3.2m funding for Midlands-based high performance computing centre

The Midlands Innovation group of universities and Queen Mary University of London have been awarded £3.2million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to establish HPC Midlands Plus – a centre of excellence in high performance computing (HPC).

High performance computing is used to undertake complex simulations, to find solutions for challenging problems and to process vast quantities of data. It has the potential to act as a catalyst for breakthroughs across a wide range of sectors – from engineering, manufacturing and transport to finance, healthcare and energy.

HPC Midlands Plus, which will be based at Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park, will harness the seven universities’ collective expertise in high performance computing to drive forward research and innovation in this growing area.

It will feature a 14,336 core supercomputer with 65 TB RAM, high-speed Infiniband interconnect and a 1 PB file store supplied by ClusterVision and Huawei. It will also contain a large memory Power8 component for massive data processing with a dedicated high speed file store.

HPC Midlands Plus will provide technical support, training and expertise over a range of disciplines. Research software engineers will be employed at each of the partner universities to help users scale their codes to the new system and train new users.

The Centre will be used by universities, research organisations and businesses around the country, who will be able to maximise research and innovation opportunities faster and cheaper than ever before.

Professor Steven Kenny, Director of HPC Midlands Plus, said: “High performance computing technology pervades our everyday lives. For instance it is used in the design of aircraft engines and cars, the exploration of new materials for energy generation and storage, and the delivery of personalised healthcare.

“The universities involved in the consortium have so far used high performance computing to address a number of global challenges. The establishment of HPC Midlands Plus will enable us to combine our power to explore how high performance computing can impact even more sectors and emerging areas such as quantum technologies.”

HPC Midlands Plus is due to be officially launched in the spring of this year.

Author: Ellen McGhee. Published: 07.02.2017 09:33:28

Midlands Innovation and Enterprise Research Centre Workshop Series

Midlands Innovation is pleased to announce its collaboration with the Enterprise Research Centre. This collaboration consists of a series of round-table discussions considering innovation in the Midlands. Specifically the discussions will explore: how to overcome barriers in transferring research to industry; innovation and post-Brexit trade; and the international labour market. We look forward to sharing with you shortly the agendas for these sessions.

Author: Ellen McGhee. Published: 31.01.2017 14:05:06

Midlands Innovation mentioned in the Industrial Strategy Green Paper

Midlands Innovation is delighted to be mentioned in the Industrial Strategy Green Paper.

‘The Government will support networks of universities where they want to come together to improve commercialisation. Regional groups of universities like the N8, SETsquared and Midlands Innovation groups are already working together on projects. Government could help to deepen this cooperation, which could include helping to form joint investment funds covering groups of universities.’


Author: Ellen McGhee. Published: 31.01.2017 09:08:00

ERA and Industrial Strategy

Erewash MP Maggie Throup mentions ERA in Parliament in relation to Industrial Strategy:

Author: Ellen McGhee. Published: 27.01.2017 12:21:48

Energy Capital Launch Event

Building the markets and energy industry of the future in the West Midlands

On the 15th of February 2017, a bold and inspiring new vision for energy in the West Midlands will be announced. We would like you to be there.

“Energy Capital” will unite all of the major stakeholders in energy technologies and systems, and locate the West Midlands as the UK’s focal point for future energy innovation and investment.
A final agenda will be released mid-January for what promises to be a very exciting afternoon. Leaders from industry, politics and academia will discuss our collective ambition for energy in the region.

In the early evening 5.15-6pm, Prof. Sir David King will give a Distinguished Lecture on Mission Innovation, its mission to accelerate energy research by leveraging billions of investment and how Energy Capital might participate in that vision.

The event will take place at the University of Birmingham in the Aston Webb Main Lecture Theatre. Refreshments will be served from 1.30PM with a 2PM start, and the event will continue until 7PM.

Sign up below

Author: Ellen McGhee. Published: 27.01.2017 12:09:27

Midlands Innovation Flow Cytometry Summary

Following on from a successful event, we are pleased to share with you the summary from our Midlands Innovation Annual Flow Cytometry Conference

Midlands Innovation Flow Cytomery Meeting 2017 Report

Author: Ellen McGhee. Published: 27.01.2017 11:07:15

Energy Research Accelerator Exciting Role

ERA has another exciting role just gone live – Marketing Manager. Join them now! Apply below

Author: Ellen McGhee. Published: 20.01.2017 12:58:06

New Research Accelerator Demonstration Laboratory

Midlands Innovation are pleased to announce that the University of Nottingham, Innovation Park, will host the new £7 million Research Accelerator Demonstration (RAD) laboratory, expected to open in March 2018. This centre for green energy research will not only put geothermal energy at the forefront of research and help to reduce carbon footprint in existing and new businesses, but will create hundreds of jobs in the region.

Please see the full article below:

Author: Ellen McGhee. Published: 20.01.2017 09:29:17

Midlands Innovation Flow Cytometry Conference 2017

The 11th January 2017 saw the second Midlands Innovation Flow Cytometry Conference. It was fantastic to see such an excellent turn out across the Midlands Innovation collaborators.

The day began with presentations from colleagues discussing their research involving human and plant cells in flow cytometry in relation to conditions such as asthma, leukemia and more. The innovation of approaches and application of findings were applauded by a thoroughly engaged and appreciative audience. There were plenty of questions asked to explore each idea presented to the group.

Prizes were awarded to researchers taking part in a flash poster presentation session. Two workshops were then ran, one for beginners in flow cytometry, but also one for those with more experience looking at more complex issues and different approaches to flow cytometry, both allowing excellent networking and exchanges of ideas. To top off a successful day, Professor Graham Pockley of Nottingham Trent University was our keynote speaker, closing with a presentation of his excellent research on flow cytometry in a translational cancer research centre.

Many thanks for the sponsors helping to make this meeting happen and a success including 2BScientific, BD, abcam, Beckman Coulter, biostatus, Biolegend, Biorad, Innova Biosciences, Flowcel, Merck Millipore, Macs Miltenyi Biotec, Nexcelom Biosciences, Sony and ThermoFisher Scientific.

Author: Ellen McGhee. Published: 13.01.2017 10:29:50

Doctoral Training Partnership Funding

Apply for funding for a Doctoral Training Partnership now through the Midlands Graduate School


Author: Ben McAree. Published: 05.01.2017 09:57:28

Global Challenges Research Fund

Midlands Innovation will be coming together on the 24th January 2017 for the first Global Challenges Research Fund workshop.

The GCRF is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK government to support cutting edge research addressing challenges faced by developing countries through:

  • challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research
  • strengthening capacity for research and innovation within both the UK and developing countries
  • providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need

With a collective research focus covering the full breadth of the GCRF Challenge Areas, Midlands Innovation partners are positioned positively to collaborate across multiple themes and pathways to develop projects and programmes to support the Fund.

Author: Ben McAree. Published: 05.01.2017 09:33:42

Higher Education Technician’s Forum 2017

Midlands Innovation is pleased to announce it will be hosting the 2017 Higher Education Technician’s Forum at Warwick University.

This national event in partnership with the Science Council aims to promote a professional identity for technical staff in UK higher education and beyond. This is the largest event of its kind to date following a highly successful summit in 2015 at Nottingham.

Sessions will focus on professional development and networking opportunities with a range of “hot topics”. The conference will also discuss broader issues around technical skills and education including the importance of technical skills in driving forward innovation, and current initiatives to ensure the future provision of technical education to young people. The UK skills shortage, employability and the importance of collaborative industry partnerships are also on the agenda.

The conference will publicly celebrate the skills, talent and experience of technicians through the national Papin Prizes, a series of Awards to be made to technicians across the UK who have demonstrated excellence in their field.

See the link below to sign up for your free place – we look forward to seeing you there


Author: Ellen McGhee. Published: 16.12.2016 14:42:14

Energy Research Accelerator Exciting Opportunity

An exciting opportunity has arisen with ERA. Apply now to join the central team as their Research and Business Development Executive, helping to import collaboration initiatives, identifying exciting new energy opportunities, providing support and co-ordination for bids and much more!


Author: Ellen McGhee. Published: 16.12.2016 14:36:53

Science and Innovation Audit

The Midlands Engine Science and Innovation Audit

Announcement of the Science and Innovation Audit reports.

The Midlands Engine Science and Innovation Audit report was submitted to Government in September. Subsequently all five of the “Wave 1” audits have been reviewed by Government and certain Agencies. Following some feedback from Government, yesterday BEIS announced the outcome of the Wave 1 Audits, including the Midlands Engine audit.

You can access the Midlands SIA report in PDF form, via the following links
• The short Summary report is available here.
• The main SIA report comprises two documents: the main report and the data Annex.

There is now also a Government page dedicated to the report from ALL five of the Wave 1 SIAs. This is available here. These were announced in Greg Clark’s speech at Innovate 2016 yesterday.

For the Midlands, the next steps are being considered by the Midlands Engine Innovation Group – the Midlands SIA Delivery Group was a task and finish group set up to deliver the Midlands SIA work on behalf of the Midlands Engine Innovation Group.

Author: Ellen McGhee. Published: 11.11.2016 12:04:27

Higher Education Show 11th October 2016

Midlands Innovation have the pleasure of announcing that Professor Pam Thomas will be representing Midlands Innovation at the Higher Education Show, 10-10:30am, 11th October 2016, London Olympia.


Pam will cover the following areas;

Midlands Innovation: Realising the lucrative potential of technological asset sharing

This case study will analyse the work of Midlands Innovation (formally the M5 Group), a partnership of research-intensive universities in the Midlands. It will explore how the various collaborative, technological activities of the partnership have allowed participant institutions to fund world-class research and connect to local business and industry for mutual benefit.

Hear about the Energy Research Accelerator and its potential to both boost research outcomes for Midlands universities and also attract investment, jobs and regional growth for the ‘Midlands Engine’
Assess the work of HPC Midlands and how the shared-access to high performance computing facilities is providing technical support and local expertise to boost business and innovation for universities and industry alike
Learn how these and other collaborations have enabled researchers and industry to combine visions and generate excellence across sectors

Register for your free pass today to hear Pam!

Author: Ellen McGhee. Published: 04.10.2016 11:16:15

Project Manager and Executive Assistant appointment

Midlands Innovation would like to send a warm welcome to Sue Clayton, the new MI Project Manager and Ellen McGhee, the new MI Executive Assistant.

Sue will be overseeing the different projects of Midlands Innovation and developing and strengthening our strategy. She will also encourage and support our collaborations and partnerships to help develop our next steps and new ideas. Sue can be contacted on sue.clayton@nottingham.ac.uk


Ellen will also be facilitating the MI relationships and engagement internally and externally. She will also organise and co-ordinate MI events and be the port of call for queries and finance. Ellen is contactable on ellen.mcghee@nottingham.ac.uk


Author: Ellen McGhee. Published: 28.09.2016 14:51:21

Midlands Innovation launched

Midlands Innovation launch

Midlands Innovation launch

On 26 April 2016 Midlands Innovation was launched. A formal partnership between six research intensive Universities: Aston, Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick. It took place in London, with speeches from Lord O’Neill of Gatley (Commercial Secretary to the Treasury) and Dr Tony Harper (Head of Research at Jaguar Land Rover). You can read more about the launch on the Treasury’s website

Although this partnership is new, it is grounded on many years of working together at the regional level on a number of initiatives. Important examples are the Midlands Physics Alliance (Birmingham, Nottingham, Warwick); Midlands Energy Consortium (Birmingham, Loughborough, Nottingham); Manufacturing Technology Centre (Birmingham, Loughborough, Nottingham); Midlands 3 Cities BGP (Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham); and the M5 Equipment Sharing Partnership (Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick).

So, the trust built on these collaborations, and the increasing emphasis on regional cooperation and funding made committing to Midlands Innovation relatively straightforward.

Collectively the six universities are a formidable force. They account for 10% of the UK’s total research staff; attract 90% of the region’s publically funded research; add more than £2 billion in gross value added to the region’s economy, and support 60,000 jobs. Five of the Universities are in the UK’s top 30 for Research Power. There is scale, breadth, depth and quality. Moreover there are a myriad of international connections.

And the local geography helps – the farthest distance between any pair is 55 miles.

The partnership already boasts a genuine flagship, the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) which is underpinned by £60 million of Government funding and £120 million of industry match. This is a cross disciplinary research programme to drive energy transformation. It will bring together 450 academics focused on energy related projects in three research accelerator hubs for Geo-Energy Systems (G-ERA), Integrated Energy Systems (I-ERA) and Thermal Energy (T-ERA). G-ERA will be driven from a new facility on Jubilee Campus.

Planning is well advanced on other initiatives in transport and healthcare, and a joint bid for an ESRC Doctoral Training Centre has been submitted.

There is also close alignment between Midlands Innovation and the Midlands Engine for Growth, which was launched by Secretary of State Javid in December 2015, this region’s counterpart to the Northern Powerhouse. It is mobilizing around the key manufacturing platforms which the Midlands hosts: in automotive, aerospace, rail, food and drink, and life sciences. Manufacturing in the Midlands contributes £12 billion annually to the UK economy, and the Science and Innovation Audit which is now underway will reveal just how important the Midlands Innovation Universities are to the region’s innovation capacity and capability.

Midlands Innovation offers huge potential across all disciplines. ERA will have immediate impact, and other major initiatives are expected to follow.

Author: Aston User 6. Published: 09.05.2016 13:29:02

Midlands Innovation launches new website!

Midlands Innovation is proud to welcome you to our new website!

Here you can now find out more about who we are and what we are doing to drive our ambition for an innovation-led engine for growth in the Midlands.

On this site we are showcasing just a small selection of some of the ground-breaking research and innovation collaborations between our partners that are already making a difference – such as the Energy Research Accelerator, a £250 million vision to help shape the UK’s energy future.

You can also access some of our collaborative resources, catch up on our latest news and find out about events we are hosting.

If you would like to find out more about what we do, please get in touch.

Author: Admin. Published: 29.03.2016 21:15:57

Powering the Midlands Engine for Growth

Midlands Innovation is playing a major role in driving forward the Midlands Engine for Growth, the Government’s initiative to stimulate productivity and prosperity in the Midlands.

Through the Midlands Engine for Growth, the Government wants to raise the long-term growth rate of the region, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and add £34 billion to the regional economy by 2030.

Universities are expected to play a crucial role, working with business and industry to boost productivity and competitiveness across the Midlands.

Author: Admin. Published: 29.03.2016 21:14:14

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