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Midlands Innovation to speak at launch of UK and China's most significant summit

2020 has got underway to a fantastic and fast start for the world-class university research partnership.

Following a successful green energy mission to China this week, where its signed a new research partnership agreement with a significant and prestigious institution, its Director, Dr Helen Turner, will today (Friday 17 January 2020) give a speech at the launch for the UK and China’s most significant joint summit. Also this week, it held the UK’s first forum for female academic entrepreneurs to provide the support they need in order to help them to create businesses out of their research.

Midlands Innovation is a world-class university research partnership. It is a collaboration of the region’s most prestigious and research-intensive universities. These include the universities of; Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick. Together, the partnership undertakes a range of joint research around areas including green energy, business enterprise and innovation, health, and transport. 

Today, its Director, Dr Helen Turner, will give a speech at the launch reception for the forthcoming UK-China Regional Leaders’ Summit which will take place in the Midlands next month, and will be the most significant gathering of its kind ever to be held in the UK.

Chairman of the Midlands Engine, Sir John Peace, will host the launch for the summit at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre, where Dr Turner will address the audience alongside leaders from business and local government, and the civil service.

The summit itself will take place between 17-19 February, with attendance from around 700 distinguished national and regional leaders, businesses, universities and senior government officials from China and the UK. Midlands Innovation will be hosting a special section of the summit around discussing opportunities for the two countries to cooperate on clean energy with the Midlands seen in the UK as leading the way in a number of clean technologies ranging from transportation innovation to battery power. 

Sir John Peace, Chairman of Midlands Engine, said: “The Summit is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for us to continue forging a Golden Era for our two nations, and to build on the cultural and economic links which already exist for the powerful benefit of both countries. With deepening friendships, important civic connections and the bonds between our economies growing faster than ever, the Summit will offer our gathered community the chance to make new connections and friendships." 

Dr Helen Turner, Director of Midlands Innovation, said: “Our partnership’s energy research arm – the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) is the UK’s largest energy research partnership, and so we are absolutely thrilled and honoured to not only be asked to speak at today’s launch event which will unveil the programme for the country’s most important summit with China to date, but to also be asked by Sir John to deliver a dedicated section of the summit around the opportunities for the two countries to collaborate more closely on what is one of, if not the most, important issues – the need to discover and harness new green energy technologies to help tackle climate change.”

This week also saw the partnership support the Government’s Green is Great initiative in China through its energy research team undertaking a green energy mission to the country, where it met with over 300 representatives across Beijing, Nanjing and Hangzhou from China’s energy industry, research institutions, companies, and government bodies in order to help accelerate UK-China collaboration in green energy innovation. 

Together with its partner in ERA, the British Geological Survey, scientists and academics are currently working to develop new cleaner and greener low-carbon energy technologies, and this week the partnership signed a new wide-ranging energy research agreement with Tsinghua University.

Professor Qinxian Jin, Vice Secretary General of Tsinghua University and Director of Beijing-Tsinghua Industrial R&D Institute, said: “Tsinghua University has remarkable research achievements and in the fields of clean energy, the energy internet, fuel cell vehicles, etc. This is a very good opportunity to improve the understanding of each other’s academic and industrial capabilities, and we look forward to exploring practical ways in which we can collaborate together for mutual benefit.”

Through the work Midlands Innovation undertakes to support business enterprise and innovation via its research commercialisation arm, known as MICRA, it also this week delivered the UK’s first female academic entrepreneur forum. The event, specifically designed to provide support to women seeking to create entrepreneurial opportunities from their research, was organised following the findings of the Government’s Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship which was published last year specifically to address the imbalance between the numbers of men and women who become entrepreneurs in the UK, and to identify barriers which women face when wanting to establish their own business. Statistics show if equal numbers of men and women were to become entrepreneurs in the UK this would generate £250bn in new value added to the UK economy.

Background information:
The Energy Research Accelerator (ERA)
ERA is backed by the UK government through Innovate UK, with an initial capital investment of £60m of funding, which it has enabled it to attract a further £120m of industrial co-investment.

You can find more about ERA by visiting: www.era.ac.uk 

MICRA – Midlands Innovation Commercialisation Research Accelerator
Is backed by the UK government by Research England through £5m of funding. It brings together the eight Technology Transfer Offices (which transfer academic research into business opportunities) of the Midlands Innovation university partners. MICRA delivers more patents per pound of research funding than any other UK university partnership.

 You can find out more about MICRA by visiting: www.micragateway.org