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KNOWLEDGE NEWS Engineering confidence in manufacturing growth A DEDICATED MANUFACTURING ENGINEERING CONFERENCE HOSTED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF WOLVERHAMPTON OFFERED MIDLANDS BUSINESSES AN OPPORTUNITY TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE NATIONAL AGENDA FOR GROWTH IN THE INDUSTRY. Manufacturing Conference 2017, held in March at Telford Innovation Campus, saw leading manufacturing and engineering business figures discuss issues that impact on the region’s industry. Individuals from Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Virgin Rail and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) covered topics including skills, globalisation and innovation, as well as research and development. The special event also marked the completion of £10 million worth of investment in engineering facilities at the Telford Campus (see sidebar), home to the University’s School of Engineering.

Speakers and workshop leaders at the conference included Dr Clive Hickman (MTC), who has over 35 years' engineering experience in the automotive industry. He was joined by David Danger (UTC Aerospace), Rachel Eade (Red Ltd), Graham Jones (JLR), Ninder Johal (Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership), Tony Collins (former CEO of Virgin Rail), Dr Russell Bromley (The Way Ahead Business Centre Ltd), John Yates (Engineering Integrity Society) and Jake Godfrey (Institute of Engineering and Technology). To keep up-to-date with developments in the University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, including upcoming events, visit:

Chancellor, Lord Paul, unveils the new F3 car

£10M ENGINEERING FACILITIES UNVEILED Attendees at the Manufacturing Conference 2017 were given a first glimpse of the £10 million investment in advanced engineering facilities at Telford Innovation Campus. Immediately following the conference, visitors were treated to a tour of the new facilities at the official opening which was from the Chancellor of the University, Lord Swraj Paul. £100,000 flight and track simulators and new workshops with three car bays, in support of the University of Wolverhampton Racing Team, were among the specialist facilities showcased. The newly designed Formula 3 race car was also unveiled by the University’s Racing Team students ahead of the race season, which started in April. Since this strategic investment, the School of Engineering has seen a 20% overall increase in applications across the portfolio of eight specialist subject areas, with students still able to apply for a September start. The level of growth, including an increase of 25% in applications for the flagship Motorsport Engineering course and a huge 60% for Automotive Engineering, puts the School in prime position to double the number of high quality graduates provided to the region’s engineering industry by 2020.

Professor Nazira Karodia welcomes delegates to the conference

Professor Ian Oakes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor said: “By investing £10 million in advanced new engineering facilities and courses, we’re providing our students with everything they need to make their mark in industry whilst at the same time helping to strengthen the region’s engineering infrastructure.”


Winners: Morgan Motor Company


Business Collaboration of the Year: Morgan Motor Company

Strategic Business Partner of the Year: Santander

High flying businesses and ambitious graduates were celebrated at a glittering University of Wolverhampton awards ceremony. The 2017 Business Achievement Awards, held at the Molineux Stadium in April, highlighted companies and individuals that have made an excellent contribution to enterprise and the regional economy. The bi-annual awards this year honoured businesses including Morgan Motor Company, which works with the University to upskill the next generation of craftsmen and women in developing motor racing cars, and banking giant Santander, which has committed £120,000 in funding to the University over three years to fund students on international

study scholarships and overseas work experience. The Graduate Start-up of the Year award, which was voted for by the audience on the night, was awarded to dAudio Music Group. The £3,000 prize will be invested in the business, helping the company to develop and promote new music talent in the West Midlands. The judging panel was made up of selected representatives from the University and the region’s business community.

Winners: Santander

Graduate Employer of the Year: Enterprise Rent-a-Car Graduate Start-up of the Year: dAudio Music Group

Graduate Employee of the Year: Reuben Caesar Business Leader of the Year: Dr Clive Hickman Academic Expert of the Year: Professor Mark Stanford

Professor Ian Oakes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “All of the shortlisted individuals and organisations have made enterprising and innovative contributions to the region’s business landscape and they deserve to be incredibly proud of their achievements.”

Winners: Enterprise Rent-a-Car

Winners: Dr Clive Hickman

PIONEERING PROJECT WINS CONSTRUCTION AWARD A pioneering risk management project co-ordinated by the University of Wolverhampton scooped a prize win at this year’s West Midlands Celebrating Construction Awards 2017. ‘Risk Management Software System for SMEs in the Construction Industry’ (RiMaCon) won in the Innovation Category. The four-year, €921,000 Marie Curie Actions – Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways project ran until March 2017 and was fully funded on the basis of positive evaluation from the European Commission, with expertise provided by researchers from the University among others. Chike Oduoza, Professor in Process and Manufacturing Engineering, said: “SMEs

OUTSTANDING KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER ACHIEVEMENT Three innovative business partnerships run by the University have been awarded an ‘outstanding’ grade by a government agency.

The graduates (known as Associates) involved in the partnerships – Greg Mann, Thomas Bilbe, and Onofeleaga Eromosele – have all secured employment within the companies to build on the success of the programmes.

The Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) received the accolades from Innovate UK, which drives science and technology innovations to grow the UK economy.

KTP benefits to businesses are far-reaching and include access to academic expertise, increased sales and competitiveness, improved systems or processes, new product development and increased profitability.

KTP is a UK-wide programme involving a three-way partnership between a company, a highly qualified graduate and a university, designed to support innovation and growth. The awarded companies Johnson Test Papers Ltd, Hargreaves Ductwork Limited and Integrated Systems Technologies Limited have all worked with the University to address their business needs and improve capabilities.

Additionally, up to 67% of the cost of a KTP is met by funding from Innovate UK and other funding organisations. To find out more about KTPs, email: or visit:

in the construction sector especially face daily exposure to a wide variety of business risks, whilst largely operating without a risk management system in place. The aim of the RiMaCon consortium was to address this problem by developing a prototype robust risk management software system to help improve productivity based on risk identification, analysis and proactive management.” The project leaders are exploring the possibility of commercialising the webbased product and making it available to SMEs on an open sourced network.

UNIVERSITY SECURES CYBER RESEARCH The University is set to help tackle hackers after signing a new agreement with a Canadian university to work together on cybersecurity research. The Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute will collaborate with the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity (CIC) at the University of New Brunswick on an applied research and development project. A memorandum of understanding was signed recently by Professor Nazira Karodia, the Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and Professor Ali Ghorbani, Director of the CIC. Professor Karodia said: “Increasingly, cybersecurity is a major concern for businesses, organisations and individuals.” The news follows a report earlier in 2017 that one in five companies in the UK have been targeted by cyber criminals in the last year.

STUDENTS DESIGN POLICE MOBILE APP Computer Science students from the University have created an innovative app to help West Midlands Police. Second year and Master’s degree students were tasked with working on an android based mobile application that allows front-line officers to communicate with the community in different languages. The successful app, which was presented to a judging panel, translates a number of standard questions to aid police when they are faced with potential language barriers, allowing answers to be clicked and recorded. Richard Plumb originated the project; the part-time student, who also works in the Force Crime Prevention Team at West Midlands Police, approached the Computer Science department with the idea of offering students a live project brief.

GET ON TRACK FOR HS2 West Midlands Manufacturing Club (WMMC), brought to you by Business Solutions Centres and the University of Wolverhampton, have announced a FREE pilot rail tender supplier readiness programme, Get On Track*. Rebecca Macdonald, Business Development Manager for the WMMC says: “We recognise some manufacturers may not be at ease with formal tender processes. The common misconception is that HS2 is only open to major players. Get On Track has been specifically designed to make opportunities accessible to Midlands SMEs; equipping them with the know-how and confidence to tap into the wealth of opportunities HS2 can present for them.” Estimated to cost a staggering £56 billion between now and 2033 completion, HS2 presents Midlands based manufacturers with an unprecedented supply chain opportunity. From seats to screws and toilets to traffic cones, the breadth of products required will be substantial.

Alix Bergeret, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University, said: “Bringing real life projects into the classroom equips students with industry standard skills and the experience of working directly with external clients and businesses. The project is really exciting as it has the potential to be used across all emergency services, speeding up response rates.”


Get On Track will support regional businesses to capitalise on the bid and tender opportunities by: • giving SMEs a clearer understanding of the opportunities available • improving their knowledge of the tendering process; from how to access live tenders through to the documentation and evidence required • transforming their tender writing skills to increase success rates. Delivered by rail tender experts, Thornton & Lowe, the pilot programme comprises three, one-day classroom based workshops, live webinars and dedicated 1-2-1 telephone support. GET INVOLVED WMMC are looking for 10 SMEs to participate in the pilot, with the full programme expected to cost up to £3,000 when it officially launches in November. Each pilot company will receive two free places – one delegate must be responsible for tendering within the business and attend all three sessions on: Thursday 24 August 2017, Thursday 31 August 2017, Thursday 7 September 2017. To express your interest in participating in the Get On Track pilot, email: *Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

This year’s racing season kicked off in style for University of Wolverhampton Racing (UWR) with three wins, six podiums and two fastest lap of the weekend awards already in the F3 Cup. The results place the team second in the driver championship with the team also seeing success in the British Hillclimb Championship. A busy few months of events have included a hospitality day at Silverstone, an activity day for girls aged 14-17 to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day and Cosford Air Show which featured the Morgan Plus 4 Babydoll, Formula Student and Formula Renault cars on show. ARE YOU INTERESTED IN SPONSORING UWR? Packages per season start from £1,000 up to £25,000 (or equivalent value). To find out more, contact Fundraising and Sponsorship Manager Terry Gibson on: 01902 321 536 or email:

NEWS JUST IN: The University of Wolverhampton has been ranked in the top 5 universities in the UK for graduate employability!* The latest Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey results show that the Class of 2016 achieved the University’s highest ever graduate employability rate of 96.3%. The survey results also highlighted an increase in the average starting salary and the number of students in professional and managerial roles, with a high proportion of graduates also working in the West Midlands after graduation. Professor Ian Oakes said: “University of Wolverhampton students have demonstrated they have the knowledge, skills and qualities that employers are seeking.

A CAPITAL CELEBRATION FOR SPRINGFIELD CAMPUS The University took to the capital to mark its £100 million investment in a construction super campus. The prestigious event in May at the House of Lords in London celebrated the transformation of a former Grade II listed brewery in Wolverhampton into the new Springfield Campus, Europe’s largest specialist construction and built environment campus. The event, hosted by the University’s Chancellor, Lord Swraj Paul, brought Faculty of Science and Engineering staff together with people from construction companies, education trade, technical awarding bodies and former Springfield Brewery employees to celebrate the completion of the first phase. The most ambitious project to date of the University’s Our Vision, Your Opportunity programme, Springfield Campus is bringing together businesses and the education sector with the aim of providing a pathway for construction education and training from the age of 14 through to senior professionals. The transformed site is currently home to the West Midlands Construction University Technical College with plans in place to move the University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment to the site. A hub for the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills is due to open later this year. Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “We recognise the efforts and commitment of partners who have invested time and money in the first phase whilst highlighting opportunities for developers, investors and partners on phase two. “Construction is a vital growth sector for the Black Country. The new super campus is designed to address the national skills shortage of engineers and construction workers.” For the latest on Springfield Campus and to express your interest in supporting the project, visit:

FORMER WORKERS RETURN TO SPRINGFIELD Ahead of the House of Lords event, the University invited 23 retired brewery workers to the Springfield site. Despite a fire destroying much of the historic brewery in 2004, visitors were pleased to see how original features are being retained on the transformed 12 acre site. James Hewitt, Brewery Manager, said: “I loved working at Springfield; I very much enjoyed visiting the site and seeing the marvellous reconstruction that is occurring.”

“We also play a central part in the regional economy and the regeneration of the areas in which we work so are proud of the fact that 81 per cent of our graduates contribute to the West Midlands economy by getting a job in the region or setting up their own business here.” *For universities with 2,000 - 3,000 graduating students (full-time undergraduate).

ECMS SPOKE IN THE WORKS The University has appointed a Midlands-based contractor, Shaylor Group, to build its Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills (ECMS) spoke in Tipton, Dudley. The landmark occasion was marked by a groundbreaking ceremony at the former Thomas Dudley Factory site, where the building works are taking place. The foundry and patternmaking spoke will provide a purpose-built training facility adjacent to the existing Thomas Dudley foundry in Dudley Port. ECMS Apprentices will have access to state-of-the-art industrial facilities and be trained by industrial specialists in Patternmaking & Casting Technology and Product Design & Development. The spoke, due to be completed by the end of 2017, is one of four specialist ECMS spokes based on different sites in the Black Country – with work also underway on the ECMS Hub at Springfield Campus, due to be completed January 2018, and the National Metalforming spoke in West Bromwich, which will deliver training in Mechatronics, Machining – Advanced Manufacturing Engineering & Toolmaker and Tool & Die Maintenance. Professor Ian Oakes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University, said: “This is a key strategic project which links employers, further education and higher education in the Black Country and provides another huge step forward in the regeneration of the Black Country, helping to boost the economy and create jobs.” All Apprenticeship programmes are available from September 2017 and all ECMS spokes will be open from January 2018. To find out more about how ECMS is forging the future of the region’s proud industrial heritage, visit:


SCIENCE PARK BUSINESS OPEN DAYS The University of Wolverhampton Science Park is set to unveil its new £10.1 million Science, Technology and Prototyping Centre. The centre offers science and technology-based businesses a unique combination of laboratories, workshops and office space. A calendar of Open Days for businesses will be announced soon, offering you the chance to view the specialist facilities and discover how the centre can help your company. Keep up-to-date and find out more at:


BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS BECCI: FREE ASSESSMENTS The University of Wolverhampton’s BECCI project is offering free energy assessments to eligible small and medium-sized businesses with premises in the Black Country, helping to reduce carbon usage. Find out how your business can benefit at: GREEN SHOOTS TARGET SUCCESS £4.1m has been awarded to date by the Green Shoots Plus fund, creating 411 jobs, protecting 203, and generating £13.4m in private investment in the regional economy. The Fund is distributed by the University and the Express & Star. A delegation from the fund recently visited some of the businesses to benefit. GRADUATE APPOINTED AS CHIEF MAGISTRATE Following his appointment by the Queen as Deputy Senior District Judge, Chief Magistrate, graduate Tanweer Ikram will have leadership responsibility for the 300 District Judges and Deputy DJMCs across England and Wales. MAYORAL DEBATE HOSTED In the run-up to the West Midlands Mayoral Election, the University hosted a debate between candidates. Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geoff Layer, said: “As a University, we want to encourage and engage in democratic debate and to challenge ideas.” The successful candidate, the Conservatives’ Andy Street, will head up the West Midlands Combined Authority and be the voice of the West Midlands in Whitehall.



Knowledge News Summer 17  

The University of Wolverhampton launches new £10M engineering facilities by hosting a Manufacturing Conference, businesses and entrepreneurs...

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