Siemens has evolved its strategic engagement program with universities to include, for the first time, seven universities from the UK in the top tier of innovation partners for their new global Research and Innovation Ecosystems (RIE). Made up of 16 regions around the world, two of which are in the UK, each ecosystem includes universities, Siemens companies, research institutes, catapult centres, innovation start-ups, creative individuals, business partners and customers, all collaborating to create, scale, and deliver ground breaking technologies and services to market in the shortest possible time and with maximum impact.

Selected from 200 global universities considered because they share Siemens’ core interests in Digital Industries, Smart Infrastructure, eMobility and Core Technologies, the seven UK universities research remit is very broad: decarbonisation with University of Birmingham; routes to net zero with Newcastle University; cybersecurity and data analysis with University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and University of Manchester, to the future of manufacturing with University of Nottingham and University of Sheffield. These universities now get priority access to the Siemens Open Innovation Platform, with identified real world challenges; access to Siemens industrial researchers and business leaders; tech mentoring and business contacts to support academic start-ups; collaboration with customers and business partners to establish new relationships; groups created to jointly leverage funding opportunities; the possibility of international partnership building within and across the Siemens RIEs; and customized access to Siemens’ software and products for academic research and education. To facilitate the close collaboration between the universities and their RIEs, Siemens embed staff permanently at the universities and encourage the flow of interns and recruitment into their businesses.

Professor Tim Jones, Provost and Vice-Principal of the University of Birmingham, explains the University’s ambitious vision: “Working with Siemens we are making our campuses in Edgbaston and Dubai the smartest globally, through an array of 23,000 sensors and a large scale energy living lab which monitors power generation, use and management whilst significantly reducing our carbon footprint. With the new opportunities offered by the partnership with Siemens, we are enhancing our student experience.”

Carl Ennis, CEO of Siemens UK, makes the point: “This is an important recognition by our global business that UK universities have a lot to offer in innovation, ingenuity and creativity. These universities have demonstrated that they are more than capable of leading and participating in collaborative projects locally and globally.”