Siemens Mobility and the University of Birmingham, both founding partners in UKRRIN (the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a centre of excellence for rail research and innovation in Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire.
To be built as part of the second phase of an innovation hub known as the Rail Accelerator and Innovations Solutions Hub for Enterprise (RaisE), the facility will have an investment of up to £50 million and is expected to create up to 250 direct and supplier jobs.
The new centre of excellence will be aimed at accelerating the adoption of technology within the rail industry. It will provide practical and virtual training, prototyping labs and will focus on industry innovation – including future and advanced technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence.
RaisE will also spotlight decarbonisation and alternative traction technologies (such as battery and hydrogen) to drive forward the UK’s net-zero agenda and increase the reliability and availability of the railway using the latest digital solutions.
William Wilson, CEO of Siemens Mobility Limited, said: “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.”
In total, RaisE will occupy a five-acre site. 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 – Phase Two – is planned to open a year later.
Professor Tim Jones, Provost and Vice-Principal at the University of Birmingham, added: “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.
“We are looking forward to further developing our joint plans for this exciting centre in the coming weeks.”