University and Transport Systems Catapult announce alliance


The University and the Transport Systems Catapult have announced a ‘Deep Academic Alliance’ agreement which will support the development and implementation of innovative transport technologies.

Deep Academic Alliances are key partnerships between universities, industry, government and the Transport Systems Catapault (TSC), which aligns transport-related research and educational roadmaps, with industry strategies.

They aim to maximise the potential of local small and medium-sized enterprise networks and create a strong group of universities which can lobby for funding for transport innovation and develop enabling capabilities with industry.  

The new alliance between the TSC and the University will support the TSC’s new five-year academic engagement strategy, which aims to ensure that transport innovation (under the banner of 'Intelligent Mobility'), is given greater focus in budget planning and allocation within national and local government; through research councils, at universities and across industry.

The goal is to take knowledge and ideas from academic institutions and commercialise them through collaborations with industry and government to create jobs and growth.

It is estimated that the global market for Intelligent Mobility will be worth £900bn a year by 2025, therefore the benefits to UK PLC of tapping into this market are clearly very significant.

Furthermore, there will be many areas where university research can support these activities by providing the evidence and policy advice to underpin new systems and their planning and regulation.

Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, said:The mission of this new alliance is to maximise the economic and social benefits of Intelligent Mobility through the coordinated efforts of industry and academia within a UK centre of excellence.

"This centre will lead collaborative research and innovation with industry and Government and promote the sustainable and efficient flow of people and goods. It will support the development of solutions that minimise congestion, energy consumption and emissions, and which maximise economic opportunity and social wellbeing." 

Mark Westwood, Chief Technology Officer of TSC, said: "Inventive and skilled thinkers from academia and industry are helping to create intelligent, integrated transport systems that work across multiple forms of transport. Bringing that expertise together, aligning goals and facilitating collaboration are key to what the TSC does – and essential for making transport better for everyone.

"This Deep Academic Alliance with the University of Leeds is a key marker in achieving this goal. The University of Leeds’ expertise in the area of Intelligent Mobility is world-leading. Together we can turn this knowledge into real benefits for the travelling public and help ensure the UK is recognised as a world leader in transport innovation."

The new alliance was signed by the University of Leeds Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands and Mr Westwood (pictured above) during a launch meeting earlier this month.

The University of Leeds is preparing to launch Nexus, its innovation and enterprise centre, later this year. Nexus, a £40m project will act as a gateway for industry to collaborate with the University’s experts and make use of its technological platforms in the way envisaged by the new Deep Academic Alliance.

The relationship with the TSC has been driven through the Leeds Institute for Transport Studies (ITS). ITS is recognised internationally as a centre of excellence and is the largest transport research centre in the UK, comprising 70 academic staff; 500 students taking undergraduate modules, 100 students on Master's programmes, over 60 PhD students and many delegates on short courses.

Further information

Journalists with questions or interview requests should contact Peter Le Riche in the University of Leeds press office on 0113 343 2049 or email