The West of England is set to lead the world in the development of ultra-low emission vehicles.
Investment from the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership will support the University of Bath in establishing a new Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS).
IAAPS will be a global centre of excellence, delivering transformational research and innovation. Located at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, it will lead the development of future generations of ultra-low emission vehicles and attract sector-related businesses to the region, generating economic growth.
Construction of the £60m IAAPS facility will start in the summer of 2018, and it is scheduled to open in early 2020.
The Institute will exploit the engineering expertise of the University of Bath for the benefit of the UK’s automotive industry, stimulating over £67m in additional automotive research investment by 2025, creating an additional turnover of £800 million for the UK automotive sector and supporting nearly 1,900 new highly productive jobs.
Global companies, including McLaren, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Hofer Powertrain and HORIBA Group, as well as more local businesses such as HiETA Technologies, have been key to the success of the IAAPS concept.
The West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership has committed support for the project with the allocation of £10m through the Local Growth Fund*.
West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said “I’m delighted that through the Joint Committee we’re able to help drive the development of this global centre of excellence in our region.
“IAAPS will also support the development of a much larger and more competitive automotive business cluster in the region, providing access to its state-of-the art facilities to start-ups and small to medium-sized companies. Supporting innovation and business growth is key to our economic success. I want to see our businesses fulfil their potential, and will ensure our policies support businesses to start and grow here in the West of England.”
President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bath, Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell said: “I am delighted that IAAPS has received the support and backing from the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership. The University of Bath has over 40 years of automotive research excellence in collaboration with some of the world’s leading companies and is ideally placed to turn this opportunity into a reality.
“I look forward to this fantastic facility opening its doors in 2020 helping to ensure the UK maintains and expands its global position within the automotive sector.”
Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, Cllr Tim Warren said: “This significant investment further enhances Bath University’s reputation as a global leader in research and innovation. The development of the Institute will have significant knock-on economic benefits for Bath & North East Somerset attracting sector-related businesses to the area, creating new jobs and pumping more money into the local economy. Low-emission vehicles reduce pollution and their ongoing development will bring numerous benefits to our community.”
Specialist facilities will make IAAPS a centre of excellence for training and skills development in automotive engineering, supporting new Apprenticeships, Honours Degrees, Masters and Doctoral courses, helping to address the engineering skills shortage facing the UK automotive sector.
Capital investment of £28.9 million is coming from the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF).