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Metal forming to be cleaner and greener thanks to UKRI fellowship

§ Dr Ed Brambley at the University of Warwick has been awarded a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship to investigate how mathematics might make metal forming cleaner and greener

§ There is an industrial need for smarter metal forming to create new products, reduce scrap, compensate for more variable materials (e.g. recycled metals), reduce costs, and reduce energy usage. The project partners with Tata Steel and Primetals Technologies for industrial guidance and impact.

§ Smarter metal forming requires precise computer control, and the computer controller needs a theoretical model to predict what would happen if it were to make a change. These theoretical models are what is currently missing.

§ Dr Bramley will investigate using techniques from mathematical modelling of continuum solid mechanics and plasticity to produce theoretical models that are fast enough and accurate enough for real-time computer control of various industrial metal forming processes.

The future of smart metal forming will be investigated by Dr Ed Brambley at the University of Warwick thanks to his award of a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship. The fellowship enables him to perform blue-skies research in mathematical modelling in continuum solid mechanics and plasticity, the outcome of which could be used to provide predictive theoretical models to make industrial metal forming greener and cleaner.

Dr Ed Brambley is an Associate Professor at the University of Warwick, at both the Maths and WMG departments. He is one of 97 scientists in the UK to receive a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship in the 5th round, and over the next four years he will perform blue-skies research to investigate new mathematical modelling techniques that can make industrial metal forming cleaner and greener, thanks to £780k funding from UKRI and £230k funding from the University of Warwick.

Metal forming is the shaping of metal; examples from manufacturing include rolling metal to create thin sheets and stamping flat sheets of metal to form carImage of ring rolling body panels. There is currently an industrial need for smarter metal forming in order to create new products, to reduce scrap, to compensate for more variable materials (e.g. recycled metals), to reduce costs, and to reduce energy usage.

With current 21st century technology most people would expect computer-controlled metal forming processes, which would monitor the metal work piece during the forming process and adapt the process to correct any problems to obtain the desired end result.

However, the computer controller needs a theoretical model to predict what would happen if it were to make a change, in order to find the right changes to make, and such theoretical models are currently unavailable; and computer simulations are too slow for use in real-time.

The current state of the art is to use computer finite element simulations during process development or to diagnose problems, and then to use simple controllers (such as PID controllers) to blindly follow the pre-prescribed forming procedure.

New modelling techniques could give a substantial improvement, hence why Dr Ed Brambley will investigate techniques from mathematical modelling of continuum solid mechanics and plasticity, the outcome of which could be used to provide predictive theoretical models for industrial metal forming.

Image of Dr Ed BrambleyDr Ed Brambley, from the University of Warwick, comments:

“Unlike existing computer simulations which work in all situations but are slow, my aim here is to take advantage of properties of particular metal forming processes, such as symmetry, or small parameters such as thin sheets, small deformations, and so on, and create bespoke simplified models specific to each of these processes.

“By accounting for these properties in a rigorous way, and using best practice mathematical techniques, I could produce quick-to-compute models with a guaranteeable accuracy. Such models would be exactly what is needed for online control of the metal forming process, and in the long term could create new products, reduce scrap, compensate for more variable materials such as recycled metals, reduce costs, and reduce energy usage.”

Not only will the funding help Dr Brambley’s research, it will also be used to support a post-doctoral researcher, and several PhD students from existing Warwick CDT’s will be involved in the research. Meaning Dr Brambley will be training a new generation of mathematicians and engineers to use these new mathematical modelling skills in industry.


15 OCTOBER 2021


High-res images available at:
Caption: Ring rolling metal forming
Credit: Hammerwerk Erft
Caption: Dr Ed Brambley, WMG/Maths University of Warwick
Credit: WMG, University of Warwick

For further information please contact:

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 7920 531 221

Fri 15 Oct 2021, 10:40 | Tags: Partnerships Research Our People

WMG experts to present at key EV battery conference

Image of Professor James MarcoWMG’s Professor James Marco, Dr Ben Silverstone and Dr Anwar Sattar will be sharing their expertise at the IMechE’s International EV Batteries 2021: Cost-Effective Engineering for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles next month.

The two-day event which takes place on 9-10 November at Kia Oval, London, explores the latest developments in battery design, testing, thermal management, charging and integration right across the lifecycle of the battery with the aim of creating more resilient and cost-effective systems.


On day one, Professor James Marco, WMG’s energy storage expert will present ‘Smart battery development for improved EV safetyImage of Dr Ben Silverstone characterisation,’ and Ben Silverstone, WMG’s UK Electrification Skills Framework Programme Lead, will explain more about the 'National Battery Skills Framework: Collaborating to Elevate UK Industry.’

On the final day, Lead Engineer in Battery Recycling, Anwar Sattar will be presenting ‘Establishing a lithium-ion battery recycling industry in the UK,’ discussing types of waste material found along the supply chain, recycling processes required to deal with material streams, and explaining more about the RECOVAS research project.

Find out more about the conference and book your place here: International EV Batteries 2021: Cost-Effective Engineering for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles | London | CMP7333 (

Wed 13 Oct 2021, 15:58 | Tags: HVM Catapult Transport Electrification Sustainability

Joint European effort boosts automated driving

L3Pilot, Europe’s first comprehensive pilot test of automated driving on public roads demonstrates automated systems for cars in Hamburg, Germany, in conjunction with ITS World Congress 2021

SAE Level 3 and 4 automated driving systems have been tested on ordinary roads in seven European countries, including cross-border activities, thanks to pan-European testing environments and methodologies that have been developed with help from WMG, University of Warwick

A “Code of Practice” has been created to speed up and harmonise the development of automated driving systems as well as a framework for collection, storage and evaluation of large amounts of data

Increased safety identified as main benefit of SAE Level 3 automated driving systems

From 11 to 15 October the European research project L3Pilot, which WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centre have worked on led by Volkswagen AG and co-WMG, at the University of Warwick demonstrating their technical achievement at ITS World Congress.funded by the European Commission, showcases automated driving functions in the City of Hamburg and on motorways nearby. The four-year project will now come to its successful end with performing its Final Event in conjunction with the ITS World Congress in Hamburg 2021.

Running from 2017 to 2021, the project consortium brought together stakeholders from the whole value chain, including car manufacturers, suppliers, academia, research institutes, infrastructure and governmental agencies, user groups and the insurance sector.

The experience of the partners in large-scale testing intelligent vehicle technologies made it possible to create a pan-European testing environment. The Code of Practice for the Development of Automated Driving Functions (CoP-ADF) is one of the major achievements of L3Pilot. It provides comprehensive guidelines for supporting the design, development, verification and validation of automated driving technologies.

Fourteen partners focused on testing automated driving functions in normal motorway driving, traffic jams, urban driving and parking. The pilots, running from April 2019 until February 2021, involved seven countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxemburg, Sweden and the United Kingdom and included two cross-border activities between Germany and Luxemburg as well as Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

WMG, at the University of Warwick focussed on the development of a proof-of-concept prototype and a real-world demonstration of a cutting-edge technology for cooperative perception, using WMG’s state-of-the-art Open Innovation Vehicle Platform and mobile roadside units. The technology developed by WMG aims to enable safe automated driving at complex driving scenarios, such as roundabouts and T-junctions.

However WMG also contributed to a variety of key project activities including: Cyber Security Analysis of highly automated driving functions in highway environments, known as highway chauffeur, and the development of a Consolidated Database (CDB) to store large datasets acquired in the project during the experimental phase, which also included designing and implementing a web-based User Interface (UI) to provide access to CDB for L3pilot users, for example, partners and data analysts.

Prof. Mehrdad Dianati, from WMG at the University of Warwick comments:
“A major challenge for the safety of automated vehicles is how they will navigate through complex road segments, a part of our role in L3Pilot was to demonstrate how this challenge can be addressed using state-of-the-art cooperative automated driving technology we have developed at WMG.

L3Pilot Coordinator Aria Etemad, Volkswagen AG comments:
“Automated driving has a huge potential to make mobility safer, more efficient and more comfortable. The L3Pilot partners made great efforts to pursue piloting and met the project goals – despite the tremendous pandemic crisis. This shows the outstanding commitment of our Europe-wide partner network. One of our major achievements is a Code of Practice for the Development of Automated Driving Functions. It provides guidelines that will support the development of safe and reliable automated driving systems.”

WMG, at the University of Warwick demonstrating their technical achievement at ITS World Congress.The project equipped 70 vehicles and the test fleet comprised 13 different vehicle brands, from a passenger car to a SUV. More than 400,000 kilometres were driven on motorways including 200,000 km in an automated mode and 200,000 km in a manual mode as a baseline for comparison of the user experience and evaluation of the impacts. More than 24,000 km were travelled in the automated mode in urban traffic. With the aim to put the focus on the user experience of automated driving functions, over 1,000 persons participated in piloting and complementary virtual environment tests.

The project focused on SAE Level 3 automated driving functions on motorways and in urban traffic, while SAE Level 4 functions targeted exclusively parking and close-distance scenarios. The SAE Level 3 features Conditional Automation which requires the driver to respond appropriately to a request to take-over the vehicle control for manual driving. In case the driver is not responding properly to a take-over request, the vehicle performs an automatic minimum risk manoeuvre to safely stop the vehicle.

Moreover, L3Pilot carried out extensive supplementary tests to also research user experiences that were difficult to address in large-scale piloting due to safety requirements and legal issues. Therefore, supplementary studies were performed in addition to the on-road piloting to be able to study system usage and other relevant user experiences with ordinary, non-professional drivers in safe and virtual environments. The extensive studies comprised some 600 subjects.

Research evaluation results have shown that increased safety is the main benefit of SAE Level 3 automated driving systems. They also show that an automated driving system consisting of motorway, urban and parking functions for robust hands-off driving will generate a social benefit that is higher than the social costs of installing it.

L3Pilot paved the way for scaled-up driving tests with automated series vehicles in real-life traffic. This underscores the leadership of Europe's automotive industry in developing reliable, thoroughly tested and user-friendly technology.


12 OCTOBER 2021


High-res images available at:
Caption: WMG, at the University of Warwick demonstrating their technical achievement at ITS World Congress.
Credit: WMG, University of Warwick
Caption: WMG, at the University of Warwick demonstrating their technical achievement at ITS World Congress.
Credit: WMG, University of Warwick
Caption: WMG, at the University of Warwick demonstrating their technical achievement at ITS World Congress.
Credit: WMG, University of Warwick
Caption: WMG, at the University of Warwick demonstrating their technical achievement at ITS World Congress.
Credit: WMG, University of Warwick
Caption: WMG, at the University of Warwick demonstrating their technical achievement at ITS World Congress.
Credit: WMG, University of Warwick

Video available to view at:
Credit: WMG, University of Warwick

L3Pilot is an Innovation Action, co-funded by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 programme with the contract number 723051. Thirty four organisations have committed to scientifically test and assess the impact of automated driving systems on driver comfort, safety and traffic efficiency as part of the project.
Twitter _L3Pilot_
LinkedIn: L3Pilot

Duration: 50 months, 1 September 2017 – 31 October 2021
Total cost: €68 million
EC contribution: €36 million
Coordinator: Volkswagen AG


Automotive manufacturers: Volkswagen AG, AUDI AG, BMW Group, Stellantis | Centro Ricerche Fiat SCPA, Ford, Honda R&D Europe, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz AG, Adam Opel AG, Stellantis, Renault, Toyota Motor Europe, Volvo Car Corporation

Suppliers: Aptiv, FEV GmbH, Veoneer Sweden

Research: German Aerospace Center DLR; ika RWTH Aachen University; VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland; Chalmers tekniska hoegskola; SNF – Centre for Applied Research at NHH; University of Leeds; Institute of Communication and Computer Systems ICCS; Würzburg Institute for Traffic Sciences WIVW; University of Genoa; TNO – Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research; WMG, University of Warwick; European Center for Information and Communication Technologies – EICT GmbH

Authorities: Federal Highway Research Institute BASt; The Netherlands Vehicle Authority RDW

User Groups: Federation Internationale de l’Automobile FIA

Insurers: AZT Automotive GmbH, Swiss Reinsurance Company

SMEs: ADAS Management Consulting,

For further information please contact:

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 7920 531 221

Warwick student projects showcased at Our Future Moves

Students from across WMG and the School of Engineering have been showcasing their work at the Our Future Moves exhibition at the Coventry Transport Museum.

The exhibition is filled with contraptions, inventions, innovations and demonstrations showing the mechanisms and machinations of all things that move. The students have contributed several pieces to the exhibition that showcase their skills and imagination when it comes to futuristic transport.


There are satellites from WUSat, the student team who are building nanosatellites to explore space and improve communications on earth. The students areImage one Warwick student projects at Our Future Moves working on satellites that can orient themselves in space accurately enough to monitor wildlife populations on earth. Find out more here: OFM5: City Ecology // Our Environment — Culture Space Coventry


Racing carsImage Warwick racing student project

There are racing car components from Warwick Racing, the team that build a functioning electric race vehicle to compete in the Formula Student competition each year.


The third student project on display is the Warwick Sub Team’s human-powered submarine. The students are tasked with designed and building the submarine to compete against other universities. The competition is usually held every-other-year at the US Naval Base in Cardarock, Maryland in the US, but due to the Covid19 pandemic it was held virtually this year. The students have won many accolades throughout the years. This year the team received Honourable Mentions’ in the ‘Manoeuvring and Control Subsystem Design Challenge’ and the ‘Thrust Production Subsystem Design Challenge’ categories.


Image of Warwick SubSharing her experiences of the Warwick Sub team, Verena Oetzmann, Team Leader in 2016-2017, says: “In addition to all the challenges that we women in engineering face, being the female leader of an otherwise all male team was a demanding but very rewarding role. The lessons I have learnt throughout my time, coupled with the many skills procured along the way, have been invaluable as preparation for working life after university.

“Despite being the most difficult venture that I have undertaken at university, it is certainly among the most enjoyable, rewarding and memorable experiences I have ever had.”

Professor Ian Tuersley, Project Director for Warwick Sub, adds: “It is clear that our students who are fortunate enough to be involved in the International Submarine Race (ISR) competitions enjoy the experience immensely and value the additional benefits that these unique opportunities provide them.

“However, from the point of view of an educator, in addition to the excellent experience there is tangible empirical evidence that the requirements of the competitions – including the necessary enforcement of real-world deadlines and constraints focuses their work and personal development on areas that more traditional University learning is not easily able to deliver. Skills such as team-working, project management, problem solving, budgetary awareness and leadership are essential if success is to be achieved in the competitions – and these are exactly the skills and behaviours that are most highly valued by potential employers.”

The students involved in all these projects learn how to apply their knowledge and gain experience of a real project, run in an industrial style. They make fantastic role models for young people, including Jack Moore (a former Sub Team member) whose profile is also part of the exhibition.

Our Future Moves runs until 31st October at the Coventry Transport Museum, or explore the online exhibition here:

Fri 08 Oct 2021, 11:47 | Tags: HVM Catapult STEM Partnerships Public engagement Outreach

WMG Professor joins Clean Growth Leadership Network

Image of Professor Kerry KirwanHead of WMG’s Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing Research Group, Professor Kerry Kirwan, has been appointed as a Fellow to the Clean Growth Leadership Network (CGLN).

The CGLN is committed to economic growth for all whilst substantially reducing carbon emissions. The world-class network is made up of Founders, Fellows, Partners and Members united in their commitment to transform to a global clean economy.

Professor Kirwan explains: “I am delighted to have been appointed as a Fellow of the Clean Growth Leadership Network – the opportunity to work with some of the UK’s leading thinkers and practitioners tackling critical issues on the climate change agenda is hugely exciting. I’m really looking forward to introducing them to our research here at WMG and the wider University.”

Professor Kirwan is a specialist in circular economy, sustainable materials, polymer processing and industrial applications. He has extensive experience of developing environmentally friendly materials for application within numerous industries.

Read more about WMG’s Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing research here: Sustainable materials and manufacturing (

Five WMG researchers to become Turing Fellows this academic year

Five members of staff from WMG have been named as Fellows of the Alan Turing Institute this year.

Turing Fellows are scholars with proven research excellence in data science, artificial intelligence (AI) or a related field, whose research will be significantly enhanced through active involvement with the Turing network of universities and partners.

The Alan Turing Institute is the UK’s national institute for data science and AI, aims to attract and retain exceptional researchers in artificial intelligence and the University of Warwick is a founding partner.

Covering a broad view of AI, including applications of foundational disciplines across mathematical sciences, statistical sciences, computational sciences and engineering, Fellows work together across disciplines and have the opportunity to collaborate with academia, industry, government and the third sector.

In total 37 researchers from the University of Warwick, from across the fields of mathematics, life sciences, statistics, computer science, business, medicine and engineering, have been named as Fellows of the Alan Turing Institute this year.

Pro Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Warwick, Professor Caroline Meyer, said: “I am delighted that so many Warwick researchers have been named as Fellows of the Alan Turing Institute this year. It shows Warwick’s strength and breadth when it comes to working at the forefront of data science and AI.

“There is a diverse range of expertise in this cohort ranging from epidemiology and disease to the disciplines of pure mathematics and computational sciences. Data Science is one of the key research priorities for the University of Warwick and our people continue to drive research through collaborative work with institutions like Turing.”

The five WMG fellows of the Alan Turing Institute are:

Associate Professor Michael Auinger

Professor Mehrdad Dianati

Assistant Professor Truong Quang Dinh

Dr Mona Faraji Niri

Professor Carsten Maple

The Alan Turing Institute Director and Chief Executive, Adrian Smith, said: “It gives me great pleasure to welcome this new group of Fellows. This cohort is incredibly multidisciplinary and diverse. They will bring a rich range of expertise and ensure we continue to do world-leading, impactful research.”

The full list of Warwick’s Turing fellows and details of their research can be found here:


Notes for editors:

The Alan Turing Institute is the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence.

The Institute is named in honour of Alan Turing, whose pioneering work in theoretical and applied mathematics, engineering and computing is considered to have laid the foundations for modern-day data science and artificial intelligence. The Institute’s goals are to undertake world-class research in data science and artificial intelligence, apply its research to real-world problems, drive economic impact and societal good, lead the training of a new generation of scientists, and shape the public conversation around data.

Warwick’s Turing Fellows:

The full list of Warwick’s Turing fellows and details of their research can be found here:


For further information please contact:

Alice Scott

Media Relations Manager – Science

University of Warwick

Tel: +44 (0) 2476 574 255 or +44 (0) 7920 531 221


Thu 30 Sep 2021, 14:30 | Tags: Research Our People Warwick News

WMG Professors help tackle Net Zero solutions ahead of COP26

Ahead of COP26, voices across the political spectrum and from a range of leading UK universities have come together to produce a unique collection of essays focusing on Net Zero solutions.

Each is co-written by an academic and a Parliamentarian and sets out the areas where work is still needed on climate policy and demonstrates how readily to hand many policy and technical solutions are. It showcases the strength of UK science and research and the level of cross-party support for climate action.

Two WMG Professors have produced essays as part of the series. Professor David Greenwood together with Lilian Greenwood MP, has written ‘Driving the electric vehicle revolution’, and Professor Kerry Kirwan has, with Ben Lake MP, written ‘Overcoming barriers to the circular economy’.

Caroline Lucas MP, Chair of the APPG on Climate Change, explains: “The APPG on Climate Change was founded to coincide with the passing of the 2008 Climate Change Act – a vote that achieved almost unanimous support from across the political spectrum. As current Chair of the APPG on Climate Change, I see great value in striving to maintain and build upon this cross-party consensus where possible. We won’t all agree on the necessary course of action in each sector. And we may not even agree on the speed or scale with which it is necessary to reduce emissions. But we share a common conviction that the climate crisis is a challenge that can and must be surmounted. Deeper engagement between parliamentarians and the scientific community is a vital step in ensuring that we do. It is in that spirit that I fully endorse the work that has gone into producing this collection of essays.”

Image of Professor David GreenwoodIn his essay, co-authored with Lilian Greenwood MP, Professor David Greenwood, CEO of WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult at the University of Warwick explains: “Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in devastating personal and economic impacts, it has also caused us to challenge some of our preconceptions. The public has experienced clean air as a result of reduced transport and industrial emissions. People have taken to their bikes in record numbers and with the trials of rental e-scooters there’s a real opportunity for them to replace car and public transport usage for short journeys - at least in good weather.

“These behavioural shifts, along with the persistent drivers of air quality and climate change reinforce the shift to EVs.”

Image of Professor Kerry KirwanKerry Kirwan, WMG’s Professor of Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing explains: “Given the continued focus on how we use our limited planetary resources, the potential for green business models and practices to help our economic recovery post-pandemic and the imminence of COP26, it is great to see such a breadth of collected thinking coming together in this publication – it was a really valuable exercise that I am very pleased to have been part of”.

Read the report and essays in full here:

About the APPCCG

The All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group runs events and activities in parliament with the purpose of advancing understanding of policy issues surrounding climate change and enabling cross-party discussion and action on climate policy.

This is not an official feed of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. All-Party Parliamentary Groups, forums and commissions are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed in the webpages are those of the groups.

About Policy Connect

Policy Connect is a membership-based, not-for-profit, cross-party think tank.

We bring together parliamentarians and government in collaboration with academia, business and civil society to inform, influence and improve UK public policy through debate, research and innovative thinking, so as to improve peoples’ lives.

We lead and manage an extensive network of parliamentary groups, research commissions, forums and campaigns. We are a London living wage and disability confident employer and a Member of Social Enterprise UK, and have been operating since 1995. Our work focuses on key policy areas including: health & accessibility; education & skills; industry, technology & innovation; and sustainability.

We shape policy in Westminster through meetings, events, research and impact work.

Prof. Lord Bhattacharyya building shortlisted for RIBA Client of the Year 2021

Image of the Prof Lord Bhattacharyya BuildingThe Professor Lord Bhattacharyya building, home to NAIC (National Automotive Innovation Centre) at WMG, University of Warwick, has been shortlisted for a RIBA Client of the Year award, by The Royal Institute of British Architects.

Following it’s 2021 RIBA regional and national award wins, the Centre has now been shortlisted for RIBA Client of the Year.

The annual RIBA Client of the Year award recognises the role that a good client plays in the creation of fine architecture. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony in October.

The NAIC is a partnership between WMG, University of Warwick, Jaguar Land Rover, and Tata Motors, and is the largest of its kind in Europe and is well timed, arriving when a global mobility revolution is underway, with a new age for transport mobility.

A beacon for automotive research it brings together the brightest minds from industry and academia, to develop future vehicles and mobility solutions. It is home to up to 1,000 staff working across design, engineering and research, as well as future engineers on degree programmes.

Designed by Cullinan Studios the brief for the Centre was for simplicity and strength of purpose, turning a complex assembly of spaces into an immediately legible building.

The NAIC is a £150m investment between WMG, Jaguar Land Rover, and Tata Motors with £29.5m funding from the UK government’s UK Research Partnership Investment Fund through Research England, which includes the development of an Advanced Propulsion Research Laboratory.

Tue 28 Sep 2021, 10:39 | Tags: NAIC Partnerships Awards

Coventry’s Affordable Very Light Rail Track Unveiled

§ As part of Coventry Very Light Rail (VLR), Coventry City Council’s flagship transport project, a novel track form has been designed and manufactured by researchers from WMG, University of Warwick, together with their design partners Ingerop/Rendel.

§ The track sits just 30cm into the road surfacing, whereas traditional tram tracks typically involve digging a metre down and moving utilities such as water, gas and electricity.

§ As a result of its shallow depth and ability to be embedded in an existing highway the cost is significantly lower.

§ The urban VLR track may cost as little as £10m per km to install, compared to traditional trams which cost upwards of £25m per km, sometimes as much as £100m per km in city centre locations, making urban rail a possibility for smaller towns and cities in the future.


Coventry Very Light Rail (VLR) took a major step forward on 24 September as Coventry City Council and WMG, University of Warwick showcased a breakthrough new track design which aims to drive down the costs associated with the installation of urban light rail.

Bringing together stakeholders from Coventry and across the West Midlands, engineers from WMG, University of Warwick provided further details on the Coventry VLR track form, which has been designed in partnership with Ingerop and its UK subsidiary Rendel.

At the University of Warwick’s ‘The Slate’ conference centre researchers from WMG, University of Warwick spoke about the engineering challenges that had been overcome in the design of the track form.

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change at Coventry City Council, spoke about the potential for Coventry Very Light Rail to transform public transport in Coventry and in smaller and medium sized towns and cities, enabling the next generation of clean, green transport.

WMG, University of Warwick and Ingerop have successfully created, designed and built the novel track form, designed to sit just 30 cm inside the road surface, making it easy to install and remove, significantly reducing the impact on utilities and potentially saving millions of pounds lost to excavation and moving gas, electrical and telecommunication systems. The new track is expected to cost as little as £10m per km compared to current tram tracks, which can cost upwards of £25m per km, and up to £100m per km in city centre locations.

The track form has been developed in parallel to a zero-emission, battery-powered lightweight shuttle vehicle developed in partnership with TDI, which willPictured left to right: Stuart Croft (Vice Chancellor, University of Warwick) Margot James (Executive Chair, WMG), and Councillor Jim O’Boyle (Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change, Coventry City Council), stand on the new Coventry VLR track form. become autonomous, working like the London Underground system, where there is no timetable and passengers can hop on and off.

The vehicle is lightweight, and there will be no overhead power supply which is both costly and can have a negative impact to the city-scape.

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change, said:
”It’s incredible to see this one-of-a-kind, Coventry-led project move even closer to completion. Coventry Very Light Rail has the potential to provide Coventry, and towns and cities across the UK, with an affordable, high-quality transport mode using clean, green energy and it further cements our ambition to lead the green industrial revolution. Originated, designed and developed right here in Coventry it also has the potential to support new jobs in the future.

“This new track form, the first of its kind, is a critical part of the project and we would not be here today without the help of our incredible partners, some of the best engineering talent anywhere in the world, based right here in Coventry. I want to congratulate WMG and Ingerop on their success so far and I look forward to seeing the first tracks laid on our city’s streets.”

Dr Darren Hughes, Associate Professor at WMG, University of Warwick comments:
“The main driver of the Coventry VLR project was to make light rail as affordable and environmentally friendly as possible, and the track is the major part of this.

“Working with Ingerop we have successfully achieved this goal, making a unique track form using advanced materials and manufacturing processes which is not only affordable but also allows rapid installation, minimising disruption to local properties and businesses. The progress made is an excellent example of a city council, a university and an industry partner working together to solve a public transportation challenge.”

Margot James, Executive Chair at WMG, said:

“It is very exciting to see the latest development in the Coventry VLR project. The track technology is a world first, and reaching this milestone is a testament to the strength of the consortium and the hard work of all our partners. I am thrilled at the pivotal role WMG and the University of Warwick have played in this ground-breaking piece of work.”

Philippe-André Hanna, Director for Transportation at Ingerop added:

“We work all around the world on light rail schemes, in France, Spain, Africa and in the Americas and these have been very successful in bringing affordable public transport to urban areas. Light rail provides comfort, safety and frequent services, and has the potential to take people out of their cars, and reduce air pollution. We had been working over many years on how to optimise the depth of the trackform from the usual typical depth of 56cm one in order to reduce costs and to avoid having to divert any utilities.

“When we met WMG, University of Warwick and Coventry City Council, we were immediately struck by the potential to bring about a revolution in the light rail market and found the project extremely exciting. Together with WMG, and our UK subsidiary Rendel, a company active for more 175 years in the UK, we created a fully integrated team and found a true spirit of a collaboration within the whole group. This allowed us to create a great product, which is extremely innovative, and thanks to that we have succeeded to reach a new standard of a 30cm depth of trackform construction. Reducing the depth of excavation, and avoiding the diversion and impact on all utilities, we expect a much lower cost of construction than the usual light rail systems.

“We are looking forward to installing the first slabs in the road in Coventry and thereafter providing Coventry with a new innovative, cost effective, comfortable and regular public transportation system.”

Coventry VLR is being led by Coventry City Council and supported by a number of partners, including the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and the European Regional Development Fund.




High-res images available here:



Pictured left to right: Margot James (Executive Chair, WMG), Stuart Croft (Vice Chancellor, University of Warwick and Councillor Jim O’Boyle (Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change, Coventry City Council), stand on the new Coventry VLR track form.



Pictured left to right: Stuart Croft (Vice Chancellor, University of Warwick) Margot James (Executive Chair, WMG), and Councillor Jim O’Boyle (Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change, Coventry City Council), stand on the new Coventry VLR track form.

Credit: Coventry City Council

For further information on the track please contact:

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 7920 531 221

For further information on the Coventry VLR project please contact:

Liam Hughes
Assistant Communications Officer
(Very Light Rail and Our Future Moves)
Coventry City Council
Tel: +44 24 7538 1192


Mon 27 Sep 2021, 14:10 | Tags: Materials and Manufacturing Partnerships Research

Better use of data in infrastructure project delivery could save £23bn a year

Better use of data in infrastructure project delivery could save the sector £23bn a year, according to a new study, by WMG, that looks at how companies can use project data analytics (PDA) to transform project delivery.

The study was undertaken by the Project Praxis Group, at WMG, led by Professor Naomi Brookes and in partnership with The Oakland Group.

Image of Professor Naomi BrookesProfessor of Complex Programme Management and leader of the Project Praxis research group at WMG, Professor Naomi Brookes explains: “PDA involves using data better to support decision-making in project delivery. Feasibility studies indicate that using PDA better could produce savings of over £23bn per annum in the infrastructure sector. Yet, PDA is still not understood or widely adopted. Our investigation explains why this might be the case and what can be done about it.”

The investigation combined the viewpoints of senior practitioners in infrastructure delivery from clients, contractors and professional service organisations. Participants included; Transport for London, Network Rail, Severn Trent and Sellafield.

It provided a unique and invaluable insight into the barriers and enablers of PDA that are being experienced right now in infrastructure project delivery.

Surprisingly technology was not seen as the problem, and neither was a lack of data analysts in the project delivery profession. By far, the greatest concern was the quality of data used in delivering projects. Improving data maturity was seen as the most important enabler for infrastructure organisations to benefit from PDA.

Participants were also very honest about how fear of new technology can inhibit the way in which PDA is used. People in delivery organisations are concerned that PDA will provide another stick with which to beat them. The report contains a full description of all of the barriers encountered by infrastructure project delivery organisations and the enablers to overcome these.

Richard Corderoy, Managing Director at The Oakland Group, said: “Our work with companies across the construction and utility sectors shows that integrating data insight and decision making into daily operations can be transformational. Organisations are often awash with data and just need help to access it in a way that can drive insight and change.

“Our support of the work with WMG highlights the pressing need to adopt data analytics into project planning and delivery. The savings highlighted in the report are significant and just the tip of the iceberg when you consider the wider economy.”


Notes to editors:

The Project Praxis Research Group in WMG, University of Warwick ( is a unique research groups specialising in the creation of ‘oven-ready’ new knowledge on complex project delivery that can be immediately adopted by practitioners to improve performance.

The Oakland Group ( is a Leeds-based full-service data consultancy operating at the intersection of process, analytics, and governance. Working with data, IT, and business leaders from VC backed start-ups to some of the UK’s most influential organisations.

For more information contact Nathan Lane on 07447 921654.


Mon 27 Sep 2021, 09:49 | Tags: Partnerships Research Project Praxis

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