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New £70 million automotive powertrain research centre for the UK

A new £70 million research and development centre is to be established in the UK with the ambition of becoming one of the leading independent facilities of its type in the world.

Led by The University of Bath, the Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) is designed to both accelerate the pace of innovation across companies of all sizes and to increase the supply of engineers with the skills needed to develop the next generation of clean vehicle powertrains.

“While the breadth and depth of resources and expertise will immediately place IAAPS within the world’s top independent powertrain research facilities, the most exciting aspect is that we are starting with a clean sheet of paper,” explains Professor Gary Hawley, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering & Design at the University of Bath. “We began by plotting the technology roadmap required for the development of zero emissions road transport and planned IAAPS to help accelerate that journey.”

That means recognising not just that the technologies are changing faster than ever before – from pure petrol and diesel to electrified, electric, hydrogen and alternative fuels – but that to facilitate this rapid transition, the industry needs new areas of expertise, new development tools, more skills and new ways of facilitating collaboration and innovation.

Expertise will be drawn from the university’s team of more than 40 academics who are active in relevant areas of research, alongside collaborations with vehicle manufacturers, Tier 1 technology suppliers and specialist innovation businesses. As an institute of the University, IAAPS cuts across traditional research boundaries, allowing Engineering, Mathematics, Chemistry, Psychology and other relevant disciplines to work together to find the best solutions

The University of Bath is already recognised as one of the UK’s leading centres of expertise in next-generation automotive propulsion technologies, with commercial research programmes across a wide range of fields. In 2015 the Faculty of Engineering was appointed to lead the Thermal Propulsion Systems – Systems Efficiency spoke of the UK government’s Advanced Propulsion Centre, more recently providing insight and expertise for the UK Automotive Council’s Automotive Technology Roadmap.