The West Midlands Regional Economic Development Institute (WMREDI) will be established in the University of Birmingham’s Exchange building, in the heart of Birmingham, to support inclusive economic growth in our city-region and regions across the UK.
This is made possible by a major award from the Research England Development (RED) Fund, together with matched funding from the University of Birmingham and regional stakeholders. Total funding amounts to over £11.5 million.
WMREDI will begin its work immediately on the University of Birmingham Edgbaston campus and move into The Exchange at the beginning of 2021. The Exchange is a Grade II listed Old Municipal Bank, founded by Neville Chamberlain in Centenary Square next to HSBC’s UK headquarters.
As part of the rebalancing of the UK economy, regional policymakers responsible for local industrial strategies need to select priority investments and allocate scarce resources to improve productivity, increase higher-skilled, higher-income employment, attract inward investment and improve public services. They also lead regional efforts to improve inclusivity, well-being and environmental sustainability. But they lack the analytical tools to select those investments with best chance of making the biggest difference across the largest number of people in the region.
Universities are major anchor institutions and a major source of the skills, science, technology and knowledge which underpin successful regional economic growth. But there is a persistent gap between UK universities and the businesses and public sector organisations which can benefit from skilled graduates and world-leading R&D. We need better alignment between universities and these stakeholders in collaborative innovation efforts to improve our economy and our society.
What will WMREDI do?
- Develop an integrated, regional data hub and tools for analysis and monitoring, to improve how we select, shape and promote particular economic investments and social innovations. This process will be informed by evaluations of the likelihood, timescale and scope of their eventual commercial or social impact, and the likely beneficiaries.
- Conduct comparative benchmarking to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of UK regions, focusing explicitly on regional systems of innovation and the relative alignment of university R&D with user-needs at the local and national levels.
- Provide policy support to help shape and implement Local Industrial Strategies (LIS).
- Deliver workshops and training programmes to accelerate three types of economic and social impact: technology commercialisation, innovation in services firms, non-commercial innovation to support improvements in local public services, health and welfare.
University of Birmingham