Embracing the University of Bath’s vision for a world-class institute for clean vehicle research
Building on the success of the University of Bath’s internationally award-winning Powertrain and Vehicle Research Centre (PVRC) which saw partnerships with some of the biggest names in the automotive engineering sector – Ford, McLaren, Jaguar Land Rover and Airbus to name just a few – there’s a proposal being set out for an expansion to a new facility at the Bristol and Bath Science Park.
“Through IAAPS we can create a space where the world’s best engineers can work hand-in-hand with industry and SMEs to tackle emerging challenges”
If the proposal – for an ‘Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems‘ (IAAPS) – goes ahead, it will put Bristol and Bath at the forefront of low carbon vehicle research and provide the UK with a much-needed specialist facility, enabling the maintenance of its globally strong position.
Check out the video below for more information on what IAAPS is all about:
Steve Egan, Vice-President of Implementation at the University of Bath, tells us: “The UK automotive is currently in a strong position but we need fresh investment for research and innovation if we are going to continue to capture future market share.
“Investment in this area will yield important future returns”
“If we simply rely on our existing facilities we – the UK – won’t keep pace with the needs of industry who will, in increasing numbers, spend their R&D expenditure overseas. For our SMEs, from where so many of our recent engineering advances have sprung, they won’t have the space to test and progress the kind of ideas that could reshape future design. And this will become increasingly important in the years ahead as much tougher environmental standards come in for engines and emissions.
“This is why we believe our proposal for IAAPS is so crucial and why investment in this area will yield important future returns. Through IAAPS, we can create a space where the world’s best engineers can work hand-in-hand with industry and SMEs to tackle these emerging challenges in an environment where we also can nurture the next generation of advanced engineers.”
If IAAPS came to fruition, it’s predicted that, nationally, it will stimulate £67 million in research and development between 2020 and 2025. This, in turn, will drive additional turnover of £800 million for the automotive sector. This means added value to the economy as a result of the goods and services produced at IAAPS.
“We want IAAPS to be a catalyst for sustainable, future economic growth both regionally and nationally”
As well as financial benefits, Steve adds: “We predict IAAPS will support nearly 1900 new jobs and safeguard thousands more – many that may otherwise be lost or go overseas. And through IAAPS we’ll see big productivity boosts for the regional economy too – around £50,000 per employee.
“IAAPS will also make a huge contribution in terms of skills, training and development provision in the region, offering new PhDs, postgraduates and apprenticeships. The skills shortage in high-tech, low carbon and advanced engineering is a particular issue nationally and also one highlighted by the West of England LEP as impacting on this region.
“By developing IAAPS as a centre for world-class training and skills development we want IAAPS to be a catalyst for sustainable, future economic growth both regionally and nationally. This is critical as Brexit if forcing the country to redefine its role in the world.”
Low-carbon South West
There are high hopes that the necessary investment will come through to make IAAPS a reality and ensure the continuation and development of the already world-class research happening at the West’s Universities, SMEs and large engineering organisations.
“IAAPS will provide resilience to the region’s advanced engineering and aerospace sectors”
And there’s good reasons for having high hopes too, as Steve explains: “Our region has a distinct competitive advantage when it comes to high-end, advanced engineering and aerospace and there is a clear synergy between the aims and objectives of IAAPS and its geographic location in the West of England where so many of these companies and SMEs are based.
“IAAPS will provide resilience to the region’s advanced engineering and aerospace sectors, where high-value design and integration (technology and talent) is becoming increasingly interrelated.
“IAAPS will exploit existing regional competencies and expertise and we believe it will, if established, be a success story and a fantastic opportunity for the West of England, the wider South West and across the UK more broadly.”