Provost and Vice Principal at the University of Birmingham has been appointed chairman of the Central Technology Belt (CTB).

Professor Michael Sheppard succeeds Professor Michael Clarke in the role at the CTB which acts as strategic lead for long-term technology-led economic regeneration along the A38 corridor.

Alan White, CTB chief executive, said: “Professor Sheppard joins us at what is both an exciting and crucial time. CTB has already achieved a great deal in both creating a suitable local infrastructure and ensuring businesses have access to the right funding streams to facilitate the development of the local technology economy.

“These successes include the development of strategically sited business parks such as those at Malvern, Longbridge, Aston and the potential Worcester Technology Park at Junction 6, as well as the delivery of more than £4 million of seed corn funding and commercialisation grants to local businesses.

“Now CTB is poised to start populating the corridor with the larger scale technology companies and partnerships which are key to securing longer-term prosperity for the region, bringing higher-paid and more sustainable employment opportunities.”

Prof Sheppard added: “I’m delighted to be joining the board on the brink of this next, and arguably far bigger, stage of development for CTB.

“One of the major opportunities for the local knowledge economy is to encourage greater collaboration between either larger local businesses and the wider UK academic community, or local academic and research institutions and the wider UK business community.

“A prime example of this kind of opportunity would be the imminent creation of the Malvern-based Quantum Technology Partnership (QTP).

“QTP is a £multi-million partnership between QinetiQ and the universities of Warwick and Lancaster, a collaboration which has the potential to position not just Malvern, but the entire UK, as the world leader in electronics.

“One of my key aims in this role is, therefore, to use my academic experience to encourage the flow of knowledge between universities and business on a far larger scale than has previously been possible in pursuit of other such key opportunities as QTP.”

Professor Sheppard holds a PhD in Endocrinology and his career in Birmingham began in 1982 when he was appointed as a Wellcome Trust Senior Lecturer in the Medical School. He is also President of the Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland.