THE University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) has launched the BCRRE Innovation’s Cluster, which the university says is a new home for businesses looking to deliver innovation to the rail sector.

The university says the cluster will be a “one-stop knowledge hub” for SMEs, and its vision is to support SMEs to deliver greater value and innovative capability in the rail supply chain, both in Britain and abroad. It will focus activities on three areas:

  • innovation - collaborating with industry partners to accelerate and de-risk innovation projects
  • SMEs - supporting SMEs to innovate successfully, including developing collaborative projects utilising BCRRE’s research expertise, and
  • international - using BCRRE’s international partnerships to create opportunities for British companies to collaborate globally.

The university says the cluster will be staffed by supply chain experts “with sector knowledge and sector connections,” which it adds is vital for maintaining BCRRE’s record of establishing spin-off companies.

Rail industry clients, including framework contractors and manufacturers, will also benefit from the cluster bringing “new and vibrant SMEs” to their attention, which will help to invigorate the supply chain and deliver innovation to the sector.

In addition, the cluster will act as a bridge between industry and academic members of the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN), of which the University of Birmingham is the lead university, and SME and international partners, including through the European Rail Clusters Initiative (ERCI).

“The BCRRE Rail Innovation Cluster is a crucial initiative that brings together our world-leading railway research and development capability at the university with our breadth of industry knowledge, experience and partnerships,” says Mr Alexander Burrows, BCRRE’s director of enterprise and innovation.