A major new fund designed to drive cutting-edge research, innovation and skills across the Midlands Engine, has been officially launched with significant backing from Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.
The Chancellor set out a commitment at the Spending Review to deliver significant government investment in the Midlands across transport, energy and culture. This included £60 million to help establish a new Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) to help grow the region’s high-tech, high-skilled economy.
The ERA will receive £60 million of public money to unlock £120 million of private sector co-investment and it was launched today by the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord O’Neill.
The ERA is the first project to be delivered by the “Midlands Innovation” initiative, a collaboration of 6 leading universities across the Midlands.
The universities, Aston University, the University of Birmingham, Leicester University, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and the University of Warwick, will work alongside the British Geological Survey, local industry and others to create a global centre of excellence for energy research and innovation.
It will tackle some of the biggest energy challenges facing the UK and investigate how to make the best use of the resources available by being more efficient and innovative whilst producing affordable, safe energy.
The Midlands Innovation initiative has ambitious plans to apply the same vision to the nation’s transport, health, and biomedical science challenges in the future.
Speaking at the launch event for Midlands Innovation alongside the Chair of Midlands Innovation, Professor Sir David Greenaway and Dr Tony Harper, Head of Research for Jaguar Land Rover; Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord O’Neill said:
“Backing innovation and skills is key to helping make the Midlands an Engine for Growth for Britain and this funding will help to drive forward the combined expertise for the leading universities in the region.
The Chancellor used the Spending Review last year to set out how the government is making significant investments in the Midlands, across transport, energy and culture and this funding is another example of our work to back the region’s strengths.”