Technologies for the benefit of the urban citizen


ASTUTE brings together a broad range of technologies and capabilities that are key to the realisation of the modern smart city existing in a zero-carbon world. At the heart of the institute’s vision is the idea that technologies should be developed for the benefit of the urban citizen, contributing to an improved quality of life by enhancing mobility, creating a greener, more sustainable environment and extracting the maximum benefit from the vast quantities of data generated by modern pervasive computing systems.


ASTUTE is a collaborative environment, enhancing the relationship between researchers from different but complementary fields and enabling them to tackle the major interdisciplinary challenges facing the modern city. It also brings together academic and industrial researchers to enable a smooth flow of new technologies into the market place. Such an environment is ideally suited to developing research students into the innovators and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Members of ASTUTE hold expertise in a wide range of areas including Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Data Science, Cyber Security, Virtual Reality, Modelling, Control, Robotics, Supply Chain, Sensing, Smart Grids, Power Machines, Design, Human-Computer Interaction, Advanced Manufacturing, Smart Materials, Civil Engineering.

Research themes

Within ASTUTE, significant interdisciplinary research is currently taking place in the following broad themes:

  • Intelligent Transport
  • Health
  • Energy
  • Digital Engineering 

There are several research groups within ASTUTE, which bring together a team of academics, research fellows and PhD students working in a common area.

  • Aston Institute for Materials Research (AIMR)
  • Aston Logistics and Systems Institute (AMSI)
  • Aston Robotics, Vision and Intelligent Systems Laboratory (ARVIS)
  • Nonlinearity and Complexity Research Group (NCRG)
  • Design Research Group (DRG)

ASTUTE and the regional economy

Supporting Aton University’s claim to be a civic university, ASTUTE seeks to use its expertise to benefit the West Midlands.

ASTUTE utilises ERDF funding to assist local SMEs to innovate, through a range of projects targeting different technologies and sectors:

  • Think Beyond Data
  • AGRI
  • Smarterials
  • UK-Centric Supply Chains
  • Advanced Prototyping Facility (APF)

Aston University is one of the leading players in Innovate UK’s KTP scheme, which facilitates direct knowledge transfer between a university and an SME. The current KTP projects are with: Majestic12 Ltd, Precision Life, Allgood Plc, Mechatherm, Wickens Engineering, Partnership Medical Ltd, Folding Space, Thames Labs, Smart Apprentices, Arcus Holdings, RDM, Cognition Agency, Evolyst, Tyre Watch.

Research Groups

ASTUTE encompasses the following research groups from across the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences:

Case Studies

Think Beyond Data is a project which uses data analytics to help SMEs in the Birmingham area to gain value from the information they collect or generate.