UK Minister Javid launches Midlands Engine in India

New Delhi, Dec.9 : Sajid Javid, Britain’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills today launched the Midlands Engine initiative in New Delhi with FICCI Director General Dr. A Didar Singh.

The Midlands Engine promotes the United Kingdom’s Midlands region as hub for innovation and manufacturing, harnessing Indian and British technology and brainpower, and working together with business and Indian alumni from Midlands’ universities to fuel the engine of growth for both countries.

Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Javid said, “”The Midlands’ natural strengths and assets make it a natural engine for growth. The Midlands is the heartland of our thriving manufacturing sector and home to 25 British universities, some of whose esteemed India alumni have joined us today.”

He further stated, “We strongly endorse what Prime Minister Modi said at the JLR facility in the Midlands last month that “economic synergy between India and the UK can achieve a lot.” We want to build on existing education and business links with India and further develop this GREAT Collaboration between our countries by focusing on universities as the creators and drivers of the knowledge economy.”

Following the formal launch of the Midlands Engine in the UK last week, India hosts the first overseas launch of the concept.

The launch was marked as an alumni event in partnership with the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) whose director Dr A Didar Singh, is an alumnus of Birmingham University in the UK.

Dr.A Didar Singh said, “I am a direct beneficiary of the British Education system and FICCI is proud to partner an initiative that is encouraging academic links to fuel an engine of growth between our two GREAT economies. FICCI has been persistently working towards creating an ecosystem to promote engagement of higher education institutions with industry and business enterprises.”

He added, “This launch in India will open doors for further collaboration and academic research and business between British and Indian institutions and companies. The people here today are testament to the value of a Midlands education and the important role alumni play in trade and investment relationship.”

The Midlands Engine is an ambitious plan to make the Midlands an engine of growth in the UK and was unveiled last week by the Secretary of State himself at a special event at Birmingham University.

The Midlands Engine prospectus – the first of its kind in the UK – is the result of 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) coming together with their plan to boost productivity, attract inward investment, increase connectivity and build a regional tourism offer.

British Indian business leader and Chancellor of Birmingham University, Lord Karan Billimoria as well as Vice Chancellors from the Universities of Birmingham, Leicester and Warwick, also participated in today’s discussions.

They emphasized on the role of the Universities’ academic and applied research base can play together with the research translation centres and how they can drive innovation into the UK’s priority sectors.

Lord Bilimoria said,”The Midlands Engine initiative is superb in promoting not only the Midlands, but also the UK as a whole, showcasing the world-class capabilities of the region, be it through our 25 universities or through our world-class manufacturers.”

He added, “Industry and universities are working together throughout the region to improve skills, productivity, R&D, and innovation, and to improve the infrastructure throughout the region, thus helping the Midlands Engine to power ahead as a regional economy that will export UK goods and services worldwide and also attract foreign direct investment; the Indian company Tata now makes more profit per year than it paid for Jaguar Land Rover in 2008; investments in the Midlands are investments that really count.”

Research and Development expenditure by businesses in the Midlands grew by 52 percent between 2010 and 2013. (ANI)