MIRA Technology Park: 'Partnership is essential to achieving our mission'

January 30, 2024
min read
MIRA Technology Park MD Tim Nathan discusses Leicestershire Innovation Festival

Innovation is everywhere at MIRA Technology Park.

With more than 35 major companies on site, it is Europe’s largest mobility R&D cluster, establishing the very best collaborative environment for developing and commercialising new ideas.

As a world-leading centre of excellence - and with a workforce of more than 600 -the HORIBA MIRA team includes world-leading subject matter experts across many technical disciplines, including Connect Autonomous Vehicles, Vehicle Propulsion, and Net Zero.

It is home to the UK’s most comprehensive vehicle Proving Ground and 40 major facilities designed to support the engineering and development of world-class mobility products.

The MIRA Technology Park team assists businesses with all aspects of setting up their operation in the UK, including recruitment of talent, and its onsite global skills centre also supports the training and development of tenants’ workforces.

The site includes:

  • 2 million sq ft of R&D space
  • 35+ world-class tenants
  • 78+ year heritage
  • 40 major vehicle validation facilities
  • 100km of specialist test tracks
  • £350m of investment

Tim Nathan, Managing Director of MIRA Technology Park, told Innovative Leicestershire about the firm’s work as an enabler to commercialising innovation, and why it is again partnering with Leicestershire Innovation Festival in 2024.

Why is innovation important to your organisation?

HORIBA MIRA has a 75+ year history of advancing vehicle development through extensive engineering expertise and a global unique blend of testing and verification facilities.

In the last decade, the transport industry, especially automotive, has experienced an unprecedented rate of change in transitioning to net zero technologies.

We have played a crucial role supporting established manufacturers, new entrants, and businesses to meet modern demand in developing enabling technologies across battery electric, hydrogen, and with ever-increasing levels of technology complexity.

Innovation, and a clear pathway to commercialisation, is fundamental to our success as a business and a location.

As well as our own work, creating innovation through HORIBA MIRA, and our expertise in vehicle technologies from energy management to cyber resilience, at the MIRA Technology Park we enable the commercialisation of innovation at a globally-competitive rate for our tenants and wider customer base.

How does your organisation encourage innovation?

We both create and enable innovation across product and process.

This is always with a pathway to commercialisation, and always with an emphasis on sustainability whether that’s developing new vehicles or producing clean energy.

Our cluster plays a crucial role in the Leicestershire innovation ecosystem, from established businesses to start-ups providing world-leading infrastructure and access to global markets.

We have supported tenants to create thousands of patents and accelerate their products from proof to concept to manufacture and tenants can boast raising private investment of over $6 billion in their innovation.

The theme of the sixth annual festival is ‘Small Change, Big Impact’ - how does this fit with HORIBA MIRA’s vision?

Our mission is to improve lives by making journeys safer, cleaner, and smarter -and to positively influence every journey across the world.

Specifically at the MIRA Technology Park, we want to be a global-leading location for sustainable innovation in mobility and beyond.

This big vision is built on small changes in our behaviours, our location, and our partnerships with others.

We cannot achieve this vision alone and are keen to continue to work with the innovation ecosystem across Leicestershire, the Midlands, and beyond.

What are some specific examples of innovation happening at MIRA?

Innovation happens daily at MIRA Technology Park.

Even the construction of the site itself is a shining example of innovation and what it can achieve and enable.

Our Driving Simulation Centre is the first of its kind in the UK - it enables innovative and sustainable design and development for future vehicles, removing thousands of tonnes of carbon from the product cycle.

Our Energy Hub project, which will see green hydrogen refuelling from solar and water through an electrolyser, is the first of its kind as a unique partnership with Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), and a private energy provider.

From a HORIBA MIRA point of view, we are in the process of developing our own patented technology in autonomous platforms for defence, and have recently sold MIRA UGV to IDV Robotics for commercialisation.

Our Government-supported facility ASSURED CAV opened in 2020 as a strategic location for developing future technologies in mobility and this is starting to see crucial new IP being realised in the UK for our own business, our customers, and our tenants.

We are also developing a range of software solutions to test cyber resilience of vehicles on and off highway, which aims to verify AI decision-making and optimise energy management systems with Net Zero transport technologies.

Horiba MIRA has long been involved with LIF - why does it continue to support the festival?

The Leicestershire innovation ecosystem is crucial to the success of MIRA Technology Park - from the supply chain to university research excellence, and from skills development to customers and collaborators.

We work closely with university partners on collaborative research and development projects to further expertise in key technology areas for future mobility and we also have a unique skills development partnership with Further and Higher Education partners in the county.

The LLEP has also supported us to make a big impact in our industry by helping us become an Enterprise Zone in 2012 and deliver new infrastructure for innovation including our Low Carbon Innovation Hub.

The festival allows us to tap into the next generation of businesses looking to commercialise their sustainable innovation and show how we can help.

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Innovative Leicestershire team