30 September 2015

  |  CBI Updates Team

Case study, Update

Research Excellence with Impact – HORIBA MIRA and Coventry University

HORIBA MIRA is collaborating with Coventry University on a major programme of doctoral research on technologies that make journeys safer, cleaner, efficient and rewarding.

Research Excellence with Impact – HORIBA MIRA and Coventry University

One of a series of case studies of successful business-university collaboration

HORIBA MIRA is a global leader in advanced vehicle engineering, research and product testing, with a range of highly specialised facilities, and hosts a major transport technology park at its head offices in Warwickshire.

As ‘Modern University of the Year’ 2014, 2015 & 2016, Coventry University has an established reputation for delivering research that makes a significant contribution to global economic challenges. 

HORIBA MIRA invests heavily in research focused on technologies that make journeys safer, cleaner, efficient and rewarding and is collaborating with Coventry University on a major programme of doctoral research as part of the University’s ‘Excellence with Impact’ Research Strategy. The goal of this collaboration is to help develop new key technologies and skills that are needed in the business in such a way that they can be quickly and effectively integrated to achieve the desired impact. The research spans a number of key technical areas ranging from cyber security, vehicle dynamics, and user-centred design, to simulation, light weighting and future vehicle concepts.

An important part of HORIBA MIRA’s research strategy is undertaking longer term research to develop new technologies and skills, as well as the innovation pathways inside the business that are needed to absorb and exploit the new technologies. Links with universities, in particular sponsored PhDs, are a vital component in this strategy. In collaboration with Coventry University HORIBA MIRA has developed a model whereby university PhD students are integrated into the business’s structure and culture whilst preserving the academic rigour of the PhD and the value of freedom to explore new areas. This approach is designed to achieve the best fit between the PhDs and the company’s research roadmaps and – crucially – grow the innovation pathways in the business from the moment the PhDs start.

Anthony Baxendale, Head of Future Transport Technologies at HORIBA MIRA, said:

“Our collaboration with Coventry University is now an established part of our research process. We already have six PhD researchers embedded within our teams using our extensive facilities whilst also maintaining strong links with the University. This balanced approach helps to focus the research where there will be impact, ensure it is academically rigorous and develop the innovation pathways in the business as the PhDs progress.

“We find Coventry University to be ambitious and innovative, and their new research strategy for ‘Excellence with Impact’ is a perfect fit with our longer term research aims. Their ability to work across faculties and embrace original approaches to business sponsored PhDs is impressive and has allowed us to establish strong foundations for scaling-up our research partnership.”

Paul Fairburn, Director of Enterprise and Innovation at Coventry University, added:

“The collaboration with a world leading organisation in HORIBA MIRA forms an essential part of our strategy to demonstrate the impact of our research. By locating and embedding the activity at HORIBA MIRA, our PhD researchers gain fantastic industrial experience, underpinned by academic rigour and the specialist supervision provided by the University.”

Madeline Cheah, Coventry University PhD student pictured above, added:

“This collaboration has been a wonderful learning opportunity and is proving invaluable to me in terms of my own research into vehicle cybersecurity. Bringing together the advanced vehicle engineering expertise of HORIBA MIRA with Coventry University’s commitment to research excellence and impact has allowed me to access the very best industry and academic resources and facilities, which is critical to advancing knowledge in a field where technology – and the security risks associated with it – evolves at a rapid pace.”