The Future of Mobility is one of the four Grand Challenges set out in the Government’s Industrial Strategy, focusing on global trends to transform our future.

The Grand Challenges is focused on the global trends which will transform our future and the Local Industrial Strategy, aiming to put the West of England region at the forefront of the industries of the future. This will ensure that we take advantage of major global changes, improving people’s lives and the country’s productivity.

The Future of Mobility Grand Challenge Workshop event provided an opportunity for regional industry and academic stakeholders to meet and discuss government expectations, gaps and opportunities for the West of England.

Rachel Pykett, Senior Policy Manager at WECA opened the event with a talk on the context of the local industrial strategy.

This was followed with a presentation by Alex Crook, from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and a workshop led by Helen Jones of the University of Bath. They discussed innovative opportunities, in the Future of Mobility Challenge Area, to address the current innovation, infrastructure and investment gaps in how we move people, goods and services.

The suggestions on how we can collectively achieve a positive impact using our regional strengths will feed into the evidence base for the Local Industrial Strategy. This is being developed by WECA with assistance from all four regional universities.

Simon Earles, Planning and Sustainability Director from Bristol Airport, Chaired the event.

The subsequent workshop focused on the possible regional contributions to achieving the Industrial Strategy Challenge Mission of “putting the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles, with all new cars and vans, by 2040”. Delegates had general agreement on the scope of our region’s capability and capacity to achieve this mission, and how this could be scaled-up to achieve national and global significance. They also agreed on what future missions would fit with our regional industry, academic, economic and cultural strengths.

Event delegates included a broad cross-section of the regions academic expertise, with all four regional Universities represented. Regional and national industry representatives included Rolls Royce, Airbus, Arup and Network Rail, as well as enabling entities such as the CBI, Bristol West and GW4.

Speakers also included Nikos Pronios from Innovate UK, the Innovation Lead for Robotics and Autonomous Systems/Artificial Intelligence.

The final Grand Challenge Workshop of the series, focused on the area of AI and Big Data was hosted by the Bristol Robotics Lab at the University of the West of England on 4 December.

If you would like to be involved or find out more about our Local Industrial Strategy development in collaboration with the West of England Combined Authority contact:

Helen Jones, Head of Research Grant Development, Industrial Strategy
Research and Innovation Services Email: Tel: 07976 657092