Digital engineering pioneer poised for strong growth after it lands ex-Airbus UK boss as chairman

July 12, 2019

Former Airbus UK managing director Prof Iain Gray has joined Bristol-based digital engineering specialists The Centre for Modelling & Simulation as chairman.

Iain, pictured, is a highly respected figure in UK engineering, having also been chief executive of Innovate UK, formerly the Technology Strategy Board, and Professor and Director of Aerospace at Cranfield University. 

He also chairs the Bristol Aero Collection Trust and was key in making its dream of a Bristol Aerospace museum a reality, as well as being vice-president of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

With his knowledge and experience Iain will work closely with The Centre for Modelling & Simulation’s (CFMS) executive team and board members to help drive the company’s commitment to advancing high-value design (HVD) in the UK.

Through his expert knowledge and leadership experience of the UK’s high-value manufacturing industries, academia, and government, he will also help support CFMS as an independent and trusted digital test bed for the design of high-value engineering products and processes.

Through its four core service lines – data science, advanced simulation, model-based engineering, and engineering computing services – the not-for-profit specialist enables high-value manufacturers in the aerospace, automotive, transport, energy and construction sectors to accelerate design and manufacturing productivity and competitiveness for their products, processes and services.

CFMS’ vision as a trusted and neutral provider is to be the go-to independent, digital test bed for the design of high-value engineering products and processes.

Its digital test beds give a far greater understanding of how a product will perform throughout its lifecycle, creating a virtual replica of systems and processes used for investigation of options and opportunities in advance of physical development.

Iain said: “I have followed the progress of CFMS since its inception, and it is a great honour to serve as chairman as the company moves forward with its capabilities to play a lead role in advancing HVD across the UK.”

CFMS chief operating officer Sam Paice said that Prof Gray’s arrival came at an exciting time for the firm.

“Iain’s appointment will further strengthen the CFMS vision of supporting the growth of industrial digitalisation across UK industry. This is testament to our commitment to grow and deliver strong value to organisations and drive forward the UK’s HVD capabilities,” he said.

CFMS chief technology officer Ian Risk, added: “Iain’s expertise in innovation, combined with his insight of how digital technologies will radically transform the design of high-value goods, will be vital in helping CFMS to engage a wider range of industrial clients.

“We are on track with our three-year expansion plan and look forward to Iain joining the team and helping to drive our ambitions to transform HVD industries.”

Iain is also a non-executive director of advanced engineering firm Versarien and has been awarded honorary doctorates from the universities of Bath, Bristol, the West of England, Aberdeen, Aston, Cardiff and Exeter.

In 2014 he was awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours list for his contribution to innovation, science and technology.

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