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Deep Academic Alliances


We have developed deeper strategic relationships with key universities based on breadth and depth that best fits the Catapult’s strategy. These relationships will enable the Catapult to influence important stakeholders, create significant capabilities relevant to key markets and ensure that all our strategic partners are working towards a common goal.

The Connected Places Catapult (CPC) currently has six Deep Academic Alliances with University of Leeds, University of Nottingham, Cranfield University, University of Birmingham, University College London and Newcastle University. you can find out more about each alliance below.

University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is a recognised global authority for transport innovation, and their expertise in areas as diverse as digital infrastructure, material light-weighting, component end-of-life design and alternative propulsion systems makes them an ideal addition to our growing number of Deep Academic Alliance partners.

The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) at the University of Birmingham is the largest university-based centre for railway research and education in Europe, developing new world-leading technologies alongside renowned higher education programmes. BCRRE is also part of the UK Rail Research Innovation Network (UKRRIN) and leads the Centre of Excellence in Digital Systems.

Cranfield University

The CPC’s relationship with Cranfield will enable the UK deliver on its ambitions of becoming a global leader in smart transportation. Cranfield University is a world leader in transport innovation with a wealth of expertise in areas such as connected and autonomous transport, airspace innovation, human factors in transport and low carbon technology.

The alliance with Cranfield builds on existing collaborations between the two organisations, including working on vehicle collision avoidance systems, vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity and an advanced autonomous vehicle project.

University of Leeds

The relationship between the University of Leeds and CPC has been driven through the University’s Institute for Transport Studies (ITS). ITS is recognised internationally as a centre of excellence and is the largest transport research centre in the UK, comprising 70 academic staff; 500 students taking undergraduate modules, 100 students on Master’s programmes, over 60 PhD students and many delegates on short courses.

The University of Leeds has also launched Nexus, its innovation and enterprise centre, this year. Nexus, will act as a gateway for industry to collaborate with the University’s experts and make use of its technological platforms. CPC has also taken up office space earlier this year in the Innovation Centre.

Newcastle University

CPC and Newcastle University will utilise their partnerships with industry, Government and transport stakeholders alongside the University’s assets in Newcastle, such as the National Innovation Centres for Data and Aging, the Centre of Energy System Integration, the urban observatory and their UK Collabotorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) smart transport and smart city funding.

These facilities and expertise will provide opportunities to collaborate for the Governments Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges and particularly focus on those on the Future of Mobility and the Ageing Society, where the CPC and Newcastle University intend to help the North East harness the opportunities that exist to radically improve and future proof the transport provision of the future.

University of Nottingham

The Deep Academic Alliance was signed with the University of Nottingham in July 2018. The University is a world leader in the global race towards creating a smarter, greener, sustainable and more efficient transport system. Our Deep Academic Alliance will help leverage this to place the UK ahead of the competition.

The University of Nottingham and CPC have worked in close partnership to articulate Nottingham’s existing research capabilities across transport, mobility and cities, and define how we can work with national and international stakeholders to deliver value through a number of propositions.

University College London

The relationship with UCL will focus on maximising the opportunities arising from UCL’s status as the only UK member of MOBiLus, a pan-European consortium which is working to set up an international innovation community for urban mobility after winning funding in December 2018 from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.

CPC will also help support the development and promotion of UCL’s new Person-Environment-Activity Research Laboratory (PEARL) – a 4,000m2 highly configurable simulation space which can be used to create extremely life-like mock-ups of large-scale vehicles, urban environments and buildings such as train stations and airport terminals.