Latest news-in-brief from around the county...

Joint venture to expand technology park into North Warwickshire

Engineering consultancy HORIBA MIRA has signed a joint venture agreement with a private equity investor for it to be the exclusive developer of the next phase of MIRA Technology Park in Nuneaton. Evans Randall Investors will now oversee the next phase of development at MIRA Technology Park (MTP). The park currently extends to more than 850 acres and provides employment to more than 1,000 skilled engineers.

The next phase will see the park expand across two neighbouring sites located either side of the A5. The project will provide up to four million sq ft of new space with a total GDV of up to £500m, encompassing R&D, office and manufacturing facilities. https://www.insidermedia.com/news/midlands/joint-venture-to-expand-landmark-technology-park

Porterbrook arrives with ‘Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre’

Porterbrook, the rolling stock owner and asset manager, today added the Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre to its portfolio of railway assets. The Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre, formerly known as QRTC (Quinton Rail Technology Centre) covers 135-acres, offering a 2-mile circular test track and over 12-miles of secure train storage facilities, connected to the national rail network. Porterbrook plans to significantly invest and upgrade the on-site facilities to benefit customers and suppliers across the rail industry, as well as bringing new jobs and skills to the area. https://www.porterbrook.co.uk/news/porterbrook-takes-over-long-marston-and-announces-rail-innovation-centre

Jaguar Land Rover receives funding from APC to develop Hydrogen Powertrain

An Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) funded project to develop a zero-emission SUV has taken another major step forward today as Jaguar Land Rover announced the development of a prototype Land Rover Defender using hydrogen fuel cell technology. The FCEV concept is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s aim to achieve zero tailpipe emissions by 2036, and net zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039. https://www.businessinnovationmag.co.uk/coventrys-advance-propulsion-centres-hydrogen-fuel-cell-project-to-feature-in-land-rover-defender/

Midlands Engine Rail ‘could create and safeguard 3,500 jobs’

More than 3,500 jobs could be created and safeguarded by the full delivery of Midlands Engine Rail, an infrastructure programme aimed at increasing rail capacity and securing faster and more regular journeys for passengers across the Midlands. This includes a plan to reintroduce direct rail services between Coventry, Leicester and Nottingham. https://www.thebusinessdesk.com/westmidlands/news/2052643-midlands-engine-rail-%e2%80%98could-create-and-safeguard-3500-jobs%e2%80%99

University to play key role in hydrogen-powered mass passenger coach project

Coventry University’s reputation as a world leader in clean mobility has received a major boost after it was selected to play a significant role in a £6m project that will help develop hydrogen-powered mass passenger coaches. The Centre for Advance Low Carbon Propulsion Systems (C-ALPS) is one of the ‘CoacHyfied’ partners, a 14-strong consortium led by higher education and engineering partners developing technology that could eliminate up to 1.4million tonnes of CO2 generated by diesel coaches in the UK alone. https://www.thebusinessdesk.com/westmidlands/news/2052336-university-to-play-key-role-in-hydrogen-powered-mass-passenger-coach-project

Warwickshire’s ‘Chilled-Ox’ among UK Government funding winners

The UK government has announced the latest batch of projects to win backing from the Department for Transport’s £20 million zero-emission innovation fund. Four new projects have received a share of the pot, including ‘Chilled Ox’, a project to develop a solar-powered refrigeration system, which will enable up to a 37% increase in battery range for small commercial vehicles. The project, led by the Global Vehicle Trust, gained £363,577 of government funding. https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry-news-environment/government-names-latest-winners-20m-ev-innovation-fund

Off Grid Energy makes move to new 30,000 sq ft premises

Warwickshire-based manufacturer of energy storage solutions Off Grid Energy has secured a £1.25m investment to scale-up its operations. The funding has enabled Off Grid Energy to relocate to its new 30,000sq ft premises at Stepnell Park, Rugby. The site will enable the business to become a full production operation that will create 30 jobs. https://www.thebusinessdesk.com/westmidlands/news/2052228-off-grid-energy-makes-move-to-new-30000-sq-ft-premises

Staying at the front of the global automotive race

The automotive sector has long been one of the jewels in the Midlands’ crown. But with such big changes happening – from electric vehicles to driverless – how well-placed is the region to maintain and enhance its global reputation? To address this and other topics a panel discussion was chaired by TheBusinessDesk.com’s Midlands editor Sam Metcalf, in association with Invest Coventry & Warwickshire. https://www.thebusinessdesk.com/westmidlands/news/2052093-staying-at-the-front-of-the-global-automotive-race

Tech sector grabs the imagination for recovery prospects

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF)-sponsored Invest Midlands panel on funding the next wave of entrepreneurs and disruptors featured a distinguished panel who focused on the new opportunities and uncertainties for start-ups and SMEs in the current climate. Sarah Windrum, Coventry & Warwickshire LEP incoming chair, began the discussion with some recent stats that showed in the fourth quarter of 2020, start-up numbers in the tech sector were up by 48% in the West Midlands and 36% in the East Midlands, compared with a national average of 16%. https://www.thebusinessdesk.com/westmidlands/news/2052076-tech-sector-grabs-the-imagination-for-recovery-prospects

Manx Healthcare lands at Tournament Fields in Warwick

Manx Healthcare will take a 26,000sq ft industrial/warehouse facility on a 1.25acre plot known as 8003 at the logistics and distribution hub in Warwick. The Warwickshire based company will be relocating from its existing premises in Wedgnock Lane, Warwick. The move will allow it to expand with an ambient and chilled storage facility which is important for the importation and deportation of pharmaceuticals. https://www.thebusinessdesk.com/westmidlands/news/2052241-clowes-developments-the-perfect-prescription-for-growing-healthcare-company

University goes green with plans for ‘huge’ eco park

The University of Warwick has lodged plans to create a huge 48.8 hectare public eco park on the south side of its campus for consideration in the South Warwickshire Local Plan. It would be open to the public as well as students and university staff, and will make a significant contribution to sustainable development delivering substantial community benefits to Coventry, Kenilworth, and the rest of South Warwickshire. https://www.thebusinessdesk.com/westmidlands/news/2052722-university-goes-green-with-plans-for-%e2%80%98huge%e2%80%99-eco-park

Resilient foreign direct investment performance amid pandemic

The West Midlands’ attractiveness as an investment destination proved resilient amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with the region seeing only a slight decline in projects and an increase in its share of the UK market in 2020. According to the EY 2021 UK Attractiveness Survey, the region secured 61 inbound Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects in 2020, down 4.7% from the 64 achieved in 2019.

This was a much smaller contraction than the 12% decline in overall UK projects (from 1,109 to 975) and the 13% decline in overall European projects (from 6,412 to 5,578). The West Midlands’ top sector was digital technology, which saw 11 projects in the region in 2020. https://www.thebusinessdesk.com/westmidlands/news/2052359-resilient-foreign-direct-investment-performance-amid-pandemic

Apprenticeships Minister opens £10 million WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre at the University of Warwick

On Thursday 17th June 2021 Gillian Keegan MP, the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, formally opened the WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre, at the University of Warwick. The WMG Degree Apprenticeship Centre was awarded £10 million funding from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP). The new Centre provides apprentices with the opportunity to study on degree programmes to develop the skills needed by advanced engineering and manufacturing companies. The Centre offers degree apprenticeship training programmes for up to 1,000 students at a time. https://www.cwlep.com/news/apprenticeships-minister-opens-%C2%A310-million-wmg-degree-apprenticeship-centre-university-warwick

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