Business Secretary welcomes plans for world-beating automotive research centre at Science Park

February 26, 2016

Ambitious plans to develop a world-class automotive research centre on the Bristol & Bath Science Park will put the UK in the driving seat for innovation in the global industry, according to Business Secretary Sajid Javid.

The proposed £50m project, to be built by the University of Bath, will bring new investment and jobs to the region as well as providing state-of-the-art facilities that will benefit a range of industry-led collaborations.

It will aim to transformation research and development into new automotive propulsion technologies and will also have educational value, bringing forward new undergraduate/masters and PhD training opportunities and helping upskill the current workforce to support the expansion of the automotive propulsion industry.

Links will also be built with the National Composites Centre, also based at the Science Park.

Mr Javid said he was excited about the project after meeting the university’s Vice President (Implementation) Steve Egan, along with Dean of the Faculty of Engineering & Design Prof Gary Hawley and Director of Research & Innovation Services Dr Jon Hunt to hear more about the groundbreaking project.

Mr Javid said he was encouraged by the response of industry and universities to the Government’s lead in developing the country’s strength in the automotive sector.

“The new automotive research centre proposed by the University of Bath is exciting and demonstrates the determination of our auto sector to maintain its position as a world-leader,” he said.

“Government and industry is already working together on research and developing low-carbon propulsion and driverless cars technology, but we can do more to help universities and industry collaborate to ensure we have the right skills for a 21st century auto industry and give us a stronger competitive edge.

“I’ve asked my team to continue to work with the university on this idea and hopefully together we can identify the necessary sources of funding to get this off the ground.”

The proposed institute would build on the longstanding achievements of the university’s highly regarded Powertrain and Vehicle Research Centre (PVRC), which has been conducting prize-winning automotive research for more than four decades.

And last year the university was recognised as one of the UK’s leading automotive propulsion groups, having been selected as a spoke of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

Mr Egan said: “The planned structure and operation of this proposed institute will be unique in the UK.

“This industry-led facility would compete on a global scale in the automotive propulsion arena, with a model of open access to state of the art facilities. The range and depth of capabilities in the Institute would make it truly unique to the UK and help ensure the UK maintains and expands its global position within the automotive sector.”

Pictured: Business Secretary Sajid Javid, fourth from left, with the University of Bath team

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