Birmingham University to develop e-F1 car with Indian varsities


Birmingham City University is all set to ink tie-ups with three universities in India this week for developing an electronic Formula 1 car, its vice chancellor, Cliff Allan, has said.

“We are developing an electronic Formula 1 car and we are going to do it with some of the Indian universities. We believe that by getting students to develop electric racing cars this will change the future shape of the Formula 1 racing industry,” Allan told IANS in an interview.

“We are doing the tieup now with three universities – Chandigarh University, Graphic Era University in Dehradun and Lovely Professional University in Jalandhar – in India. We are meeting on Friday and it will be signed,” he added.

Allan will be meeting the universities officials Friday to sign the contract. He also officially opened the university’s Delhi office this week.

He said the direct beneficiaries from this tie-up will be students and the automotive industry. “The Formula 1 team is interested in it and they are working with it.”

The university has 22,500 students of whom 2,000 are international students. There are more than 100 Indian students in the university.

The university holds a World’s Motor Sport Symposium once a year in Birmingham that brings together all the top Formula 1 race teams. The electric motor is emerging as one of the new trends in the automotive industry and in London, more and more hybrid cars are coming into play.

Allan said he expects more and more electric cars to hit the roads in the next 10 years. He mentioned that Birmingham City University is very much in the heart of the automotive industry, particularly motor sports.

“Our programmes are based on professional practice where you get your hands dirty. They get real experience of work place. It is not only theoretical. It is a very practical orientation,” Allan said.

The university has a lot of courses in the area of IT and engineering. In IT, the university has sponsored courses with Cisco, SAP and SAS. “All of the big software companies have sponsored our courses. This has led to giving a lending edge to courses for the industry and by the industry.”

Courses are also sponsored by Rolls Royce and Jaguar Land Rover, which give students direct experience of the workplace.

“These companies also help design the course, so they have input into the course. We have created a learning environment and facilities, which is like the work place. So we have simulated the workplace in our classrooms.”

Saying that imparting practical knowledge to students is the way forward, he added: “We give students the subject knowledge so that they have theoretical knowledge. We also help students with work placements, internships and working on live projects in industry.”

“Employability is a critical and crucial part of university experience and education. Therefore, what they need to do is to think about how they add to the subject knowledge and give them a basket of skills because many of the students graduating now will be undertaking jobs in their life time, which have not been invented yet.”

“So you can’t prepare a student for a specific job any more; you have to give a range of skills and capabilities so that in the next 10-20 years they are able to adapt to the environment.”

“Our practical form of higher education is very relevant to India that’s where we were working with new partners to develop this form of higher education to make students more employable,” Allan explained.

Mentioning that India is a very important destination, Allan added: “We have tie-ups in Sri Lanka and many tie-ups in China.”

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