24th Nov, 2020

Coventry and Warwickshire region earmarked for investment in self-driving car technology

Andy Morris 25th Oct, 2020

THE COVENTRY and Warwickshire region has been declared a nationally significant destination for advancing Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) Modelling and Simulation, as part of a major new programme from the Department for International Trade to boost Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the UK.

Under the programme, Birmingham and Solihull have also been exclusively selected as the UK’s top destination for opportunities in Data Driven Healthcare and Technologies.

The regions each won a major project bid within the second round of the Government’s High Potential Opportunities (HPO) programme – an initiative designed to promote high-level industry opportunities to foreign investors and drive overseas investment into the UK’s regions and nations.

Nick Abell, Chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), said: “Coventry and Warwickshire is a global force in future mobility, including low carbon propulsion and autonomous technologies. This support from the Department for International Trade will help us to promote our internationally significant strengths and identify supply chain gaps and opportunities for new investment and jobs.

“It adds to the work of Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, Coventry and Warwickshire’s local authorities, and regional partners such as the West Midlands Growth Company, to attract new inward investment and grow our local economy through emerging future technologies.”

Tim Pile, Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), added: “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the critical role of innovative, data-driven healthcare systems. The Greater Birmingham region continues to be a major proving ground for technologies in this field, anchored by the world-class research capabilities of our universities and powerful alliances that include Birmingham Health Partners.

“Government’s endorsement of our digital healthcare ecosystem as a High Potential Opportunity will help the GBSLEP in partnership with the West Midlands Growth Company drive further inward investment into this nationally important cluster.”

Dan Storer, Chief Investment Officer at the West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC) – the organisation charged with attracting inward investment to the region, said: “Despite current economic challenges, the West Midlands remains a strategically investable destination for the UK, which this latest Government announcement shows.

“The region is an important enabler for economic recovery, bringing forward nationally significant innovation in areas such as low-carbon and smart mobility, data-driven healthcare and sustainable construction.

“We welcome this added impetus from the Department for International Trade (DIT), which will support our inward investment efforts ahead of major opportunities such as the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”

This recognition of expertise follows the 2019 launch of the West Midlands Local Industrial Strategy – the first of its kind to be developed in the UK.

Its core areas for growth also form the basis of the region’s priorities for recovering the local economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which includes specific initiatives around advancing green low-carbon technologies, circular economy principles and investing in healthcare innovations.

Projects within these sectors have already achieved milestones such as increased funding and testing of a unique Very Light Rail concept exclusive to Coventry; the creation of the National Brownfield Institute in Wolverhampton to lead research into repurposing former industrial land for development; and the unveiling of plans for the £210million Birmingham Health Innovation Campus, a collaboration between the University of Birmingham and Bruntwood SciTech.

DIT will continue to co-ordinate the HPO programme, sharing the West Midlands projects and others selected with its global network as part of its engagement strategy with international investors.

The West Midlands has been ranked as the UK’s leading location for securing overseas investment outside of London and the South East for the fifth year in a row, thanks to investment from companies such as Lotus Cars, IPG Photonics, and Alvarez & Marsal.

The West Midlands Growth Company has been established in partnership with Local Enterprise Partnerships, local authorities, universities and a range of businesses across the private sector to achieve the ambitions set out in the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Strategic Economic Plan. It focuses its core activities across Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Coventry and Warwickshire and the Black Country.

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