Six leading Midlands universities launch flagship initiative to support research innovation and growth in the region

A major new fund designed to drive cutting-edge research, innovation and skills across the Midlands Engine, has been officially launched today 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 and to unlock £120 million of private sector co-investment.

The ERA is the first project to be delivered by the 'Midlands Innovation' initiative, a collaboration of six leading universities across the Midlands, launched today at an event attended by Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord O’Neill, the Chair of Midlands Innovation, Professor Sir David Greenaway and Dr Tony Harper, Head of Research for Jaguar Land Rover.

The University of Leicester and Aston University, the University of Birmingham, 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.

Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leicester said: “We are proud to be a founding member of Midlands Innovation. Partnership is at the heart of our University and this impressive group of research intensive universities will work together, alongside business and the public and third sectors, to help deliver greater economic prosperity and societal benefits for the Midlands.”