Institute of Technology
The Institute of Technology (IOT) provides businesses with the opportunity to collaborate on courses and research that reflect the modern demands of the advanced manufacturing industry.
Who is already involved?
The IOT has been created by a consortium of leading regional institutions.
These include Birmingham City University, Aston University, South & City College Birmingham, and Solihull College and University Centre (lead partner).
It is also supported by the University of Birmingham, BMET College and University College Birmingham.
The IOT is informed by an employer engagement board, led by Carl Artzen (CEO of Bosch Thermocare), and supported by executives from Alucast, Continental, Fanuc, Hydraforce and Salts Healthcare.
This board regularly interfaces with the wider sector through a range of interactive events and outreach activity and will drive curriculum development priorities, be ambassadors for the IOT and provide guidance.
Why is the IOT needed?
The IOT will focus on solving a plethora of challenges within the world of advanced manufacturing.
Current issues include an ageing workforce that requires an injection of new talent, as well as a demand for higher level skills.
From an education perspective, participation in courses concerning advanced manufacturing has typically been low. This is especially true of people from low income backgrounds.
How is the IOT addressing these challenges?
The IOT will see four physical hubs be built across Greater Birmingham in a bid to address the challenges local businesses are facing.
The Institute will also focus on the specific technical needs of the region. It will produce a range of undergraduate and Master’s courses co-designed with employer partners, ensuring the content meets the demands of industry.
It will also drive new research collaborations, knowledge transfer partnerships and develop graduates with contemporary skills, all of which will ensure better progression routes for people from lower income backgrounds.
Why should businesses collaborate with the IOT?
As a regional business or organisation, you will have the opportunity to provide valuable input to our courses, ensuring they meet the needs of both your business and advanced manufacturing in general.
It’s an opportunity for your business to collaborate with a university with considerable experience of working with organisations.
By collaborating with the IOT, you will also have the chance to recruit students for both short and long-term positions, ensuring they continue to remain abreast of the latest developments and changes within the industry.
At Birmingham City University, we boast extensive experience of advanced manufacturing, collaborating with Jaguar Land Rover, JCB and Ricardo, as well as prominent automotive software developers, equipment specialists and powertrain consultancies.
We have also conducted research into emissions control, fuel and power developments, as well as a number of industry-linked PhD projects.
What developments are BCU making?
We have refurbished workshops to create a fuel test cell to support research into new automotive technologies for the sector.
This innovative fuel test cell will ensure that delivery and applied research is developed in line with emerging automotive technologies with supplementary equipment allowing for additive manufacturing and material testing of the products.
Not only will it support teaching at undergraduate and Master’s level, it will also aid applied research into new automotive technologies.
It will do this by working closely with businesses as they continue to incorporate new and emerging technologies for improved sustainability such as hybrid, electric, hydrogen and autonomous vehicle technology.
The workspace will be dedicated to equipment linked to advanced manufacturing techniques for design through to manufacture, prototyping and reverse engineering with supplementary equipment allowing material testing of the products.
Developing new courses for modern demand
We are currently developing courses to support the training of new workforce as well as the upskilling of existing workforce across the engineering sector. Those courses will include degree apprenticeships in aerospace engineering, embedded systems and control engineering, and manufacturing engineering.
“The capabilities of our upgraded engine and fuel test cell are wide,” explains Ilias Oraifige, Professor and Head of Centre of Engineering. “It will allows us to expand into areas of powertrain control, including electric motors, engines and gearboxes, vehicle control, thermodynamic principles and fluid dynamics.
“It would allow for the loading and testing of automotive electric motors and the development and analysis of alternative and synthetic fuels. It will also create more accurate measurements and recordings of valuable information, such as emissions.”