Aston University and GBSIoT showcases region’s contribution to future of engineering to chair of Science and Technology Select Committee

Head of GBSIoT, Michael Burke (left) explains the collaborative creation of the GBSIoT Hub feature wall to The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP (right)
  • Aston University hosted visit by The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP
  • He visited Aston University’s refurbished engineering facilities 
  • Tour included soon-to-be-opened Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology Hub.

Aston University demonstrated how it is using technology to teach the engineers and scientists of the future during aa visit by The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee, on Thursday 23 June.

The tour showcased Aston University and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology’s (GBSIoT) contribution towards the UK and the West Midlands’ region’s science and technology skills pipeline, as well as demonstrating the University’s research.

Mr Clark viewed Aston University’s refurbished engineering facilities and saw a demonstration of Auto-Pod, an autonomous vehicle which is used for teaching and research. It is used on campus to explore vital issues such as improving the safety of operating autonomous vehicles.

Since 2020, Greg Clark has served as chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee which exists to ensure that government policies and decision-making are based on scientific evidence and advice. The committee is also invested in improving diversity and inclusion in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

He said: “I have been very impressed by the facilities at Aston University and it was a pleasure to talk the students about how these are enhancing their studies.

“Although the committee I chair works with STEM experts to scrutinise government, it also strives to encourage and shed a spotlight on the expertise at Aston University, and other institutions, to help advance and promote science nationally and internationally.”

Professor Tony Clark, deputy dean of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, hosted the tour during which Greg Clark also heard from Professor Andrew Ellis of Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT).

Professor Clark said: “Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies conducts world-leading research and it was great to be able to discuss this impactful research, as well as Aston University’s commitment to improving diversity and inclusion in engineering, with Greg Clark.”

Mr Clark continued his tour to the soon-to-be-open Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology Hub (GBSIoT Hub). Based on the Aston University campus it will house a new cyber physical manufacturing rig, a scaled-down version of a factory of the future, which will create a simulated working environment for learners.

GBSIoT is one of 12 Institutes of Technology being established across England as unique collaborations between further education colleges, universities and employers to offer technical education and training at higher skills levels in key STEM sectors.

The consortium is led by Solihull College & University Centre, with Aston University, Birmingham City University and South and City College Birmingham as members and supported by BMET College, University College Birmingham and the University of Birmingham as partners. The collaborative nature of the Institute is highlighted by the new entrance artwork which was viewed by Mr Clark on the tour.

The GBSIoT is designed to create a ‘powerhouse’ for advanced manufacturing and engineering and is a collaboration between further education providers, universities and employers for the region.