The University of Birmingham and Siemens mobility have united to launch a brand-new Centre of Excellence for Rail. With aims to address the decarbonization and alternative traction technologies such as battery and hydrogen which will play is part and support of the UK’s net-zero agenda.
The center will look to find digital solutions and incorporate the opportunity for increased skills development by creating a digital systems skills academy.
The facility, with an investment of up to £50 million and creating up to 250 direct and supplier jobs, will be built as part of the second phase of an innovation hub known as the Rail Accelerator and Innovations Solutions Hub for Enterprise (RaisE).
The objective will be accelerating the adoption of technology within the rail industry and will provide practical and virtual training, prototyping labs and focus on industry innovation – including future and advanced technologies, such as robotics and artificial intelligence.
William Wilson, CEO of Siemens mobility Limited, said: “We are delighted to be working with the University of Birmingham on these exciting plans to take rail innovation in the UK – and beyond – to the next level. This is a development of international significance. It not only delivers on the levelling up agenda, but gives clear signals to the wider industry that the UK is at the forefront of railway innovation, research and development and is open for global collaboration.”
Construction of the first phase, comprising offices for East Riding Council, Siemens Mobility and The Rail Alliance – part of the Birmingham Centre for Rail Research and Education at the University – with additional space for small and medium enterprise (SME) occupants and collaborative working areas, is due to open in 2022. This latest development – Phase Two – is planned to open a year later in 2023.
Professor Tim Jones, Provost and Vice-Principal at the University of Birmingham, said: “Signing this MoU further strengthens our partnership with Siemens Mobility and builds upon our world leading railway expertise based out of our new, state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence in Digital Systems and School of Engineering. We are looking forward to further developing our joint plans for this exciting centre in the coming weeks.“