West Midlands named as leading location for emerging industries

Birmingham Health Innovation Campus

The West Midlands has been named as a nationally significant location for two of the world’s essential industries of the future as part of an initiative by the Department for International Trade (DIT) to boost Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the UK.

The region has won two major project bids within the second round of the UK Government’s High Potential Opportunities (HPO) programme – a programme designed to promote high-level industry opportunities to foreign investors and drive overseas investment into the UK’s regions and nations.

Birmingham and Solihull have been selected as the UK’s top destination for opportunities in data driven healthcare and technologies, while Coventry and Warwickshire is among the leading regional locations chosen as a centre of excellence in Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) Modelling and Simulation.

Dan Storer, chief investment officer at the West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC) – the organisation charged with attracting inward investment to the region, said: “Despite current economic challenges, the West Midlands remains a strategically investable destination for the UK, which this latest Government announcement shows.

“The region is an important enabler for economic recovery, bringing forward nationally significant innovation in areas such as low-carbon and smart mobility, data-driven healthcare and sustainable construction.

“We welcome this added impetus from DIT, which will support our inward investment efforts ahead of major opportunities such as the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games”.

The recognition of expertise follows the 2019 launch of the West Midlands Local Industrial Strategy – the first regional Strategy of its kind to be developed in the UK. Its core areas for growth also form the basis of the region’s priorities for recovering the local economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which includes specific initiatives around advancing green low-carbon technologies, circular economy principles and investing in healthcare innovations.

Progress on strategic projects within these sectors has been achieved even throughout recent months. Notable milestones include increased funding and testing of a unique Very Light Rail concept exclusive to Coventry; the creation of the National Brownfield Institute in Wolverhampton to lead world-class research into repurposing former industrial land for development; and the unveiling of plans for the £210m Birmingham Health Innovation Campus; a collaboration between the University of Birmingham and Bruntwood SciTech.