Published on 03/08/2022
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Damian Collins MP visits EPS
  • The minister was given a tour of the new Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology (GBSIoT) Hub
  • The Hub will be welcoming its first students in the next few weeks
  • Damian Collins MP also visited Aston University’s Advanced Prototyping Facility and autonomous vehicle used for teaching and research.

The minister for tech and the digital economy met with representatives from Aston University’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences and Solihull College & University Centre during a visit to the new Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology (GBSIoT) Hub on 2 August. 

Damian Collins MP was given a tour of the new facility by Rosa Wells, executive director for employment and skills and IoT at Solihull College & University Centre. The Institute of Technology focuses on engineering and advanced manufacturing and is a partnership between local further education colleges, universities and industry partners. It will support learners from across the region to progress to high-skill technical jobs in industry through clear, supported pathways. 

Construction of the GBSIoT Hub building is nearing completion and will be welcoming students in the coming weeks. During the visit, the minister was shown the cyber physical manufacturing rig, a scaled-down version of a factory of the future, which will create a simulated working environment for IoT learners.

The minister then met with executive dean Professor Stephen Garrett and deputy dean Professor Kate Sugden for a tour of Aston University’s Advanced Prototyping Facility conducted by senior project manager Paul Gretton. The facility supports businesses by increasing awareness of the opportunities available through 3D printing to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of existing designs, and to develop new products all the way through to producing prototypes.

The visit also included a showcase of Aston University’s Autopod, a state-of-the-art autonomous vehicle funded by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and the Institute of Technology which is used for research and as a teaching tool.

Professor Garrett said: “Aston University has a proud history of delivering high-quality technical education and world-leading research. We were delighted to be able to showcase our facilities to Damian Collins MP, whilst discussing our commitment to equipping students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in STEM careers.”

Damian Collins MP said: “It’s been brilliant to visit the pioneering facilities at Aston University today, especially seeing the cyber rig which will give students first class training to enter the industry with confidence. 

“Having these opportunities will help young people gain skills they need for future jobs, supporting the UK’s world leading advanced manufacturing and digital industries.”

The minister toured the facilities at Aston University as part of his wider visit to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. 

For more information about the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences please visit our website. 

Notes to editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Saskia Hansen is the interim Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University was named University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian and the University’s full time MBA programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking. The Aston MBA has been ranked 12th in the UK and 85th in the world. 

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7557 745416 or email:

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