MoU signed for rail research and innovation centre in the UK

centre of excellenceThe University of Birmingham and Siemens Mobility signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a centre of excellence for rail research and innovation in Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire.

As founding partners in UKRRIN, the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network, this development agreement is a natural progression for the two partner organisations.

“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,” Professor Tim Jones, Vice-Principal at the University of Birmingham said.

The facility, with an investment of up to GBP 50 million (EUR 57.87 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). It is aimed at 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 artifical intelligence.

In total RaisE will occupy a five-acre site. The 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 SME occupants and collaborative working areas, is due to open in 2022. This latest development, the Phase Two is planned to open a year later.

RaisE will also spotlight decarbonisation and alternative traction technologies such as battery and hydrogen to drive forward the UK’s net-zero agenda, as well as increasing the reliability and availability of the railway using the latest digital solutions. It incorporates the opportunity for increased skills development by creating a digital systems skills academy, building on Siemens Mobility’s industry-leading expertise and Birmingham’s status as centre of excellence in Digital Systems within UKRRIN.

“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,” William Wilson, CEO of Siemens Mobility Limited, said.

In addition to the opportunities created by RaisE, Siemens Mobility’s Goole rail manufacturing plant will create up to 700 direct jobs and an additional 1,700 indirect supply chain opportunities. It is scheduled to open in 2023 with the first trains being manufactured onsite destined for London Underground’s Piccadilly line.

Share on: