The Chancellor of the Exchequer, accompanied by Conservative parliamentary candidate for Bath, Ben Howlett, was greeted by the University’s President & Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Design, Professor Gary Hawley.

Upon arrival Mr Hammond was taken on a brief tour through the University’s newest capital project, 4 East South. This £23m 6,000 square metre building houses the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering and features double height studio spaces and cutting-edge workshop and exhibition areas.

Mr Hammond then heard the latest developments about the University’s plans to build a unique automotive research & development facility in the South West. The proposed £60m Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) will be a nationally-significant research facility, based at the Bristol & Bath Science Park.

IAAPS will be the first of its kind in the UK, helping to bridge the gap between academic engineering expertise with the needs and challenges faced by industry. The facility will have benefits on both a regional and national level. IAAPS will act as a catalyst for sustainable future economic growth: driving an additional turnover of £800 million for UK automotive; unlocking up to £67 million in research and innovation by 2025; stimulating around 2,000 new jobs and safeguarding thousands more in the region.

As part of his tour, the Chancellor of the Exchequer received a tour and demonstration of Bath’s automotive emissions testing facility, the Centre for Low Emission Vehicle Research (CLEVeR). The unique £2.4m facility features a state-of-the-art Dynamometer, commonly known as a rolling road, which aims to bridge the gap between the lab and the real world by allowing vehicles to be analysed in a series of real-world driving conditions, but within a precisely controlled laboratory environment.

Professor of Automotive Propulsion, Chris Brace led the tour and demonstrated to Mr Hammond how the University conducts precise emissions testing, including using a robotic driver to emulate varying driving styles and behaviours.

The Chancellor said of the visit: “Many thanks to Ben and the University of Bath for taking the time to discuss the proposals for the IAAPS with me. Given the value of automotive exports to our national economy and the critical importance of research and innovation, particularly in the South West, projects such as IAAPS at the Bristol and Bath Science Park can make a significant contribution to jobs and growth in this sector.”

President & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bath, Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell added: “We were delighted to highlight today the world-leading automotive research we have been conducting here at Bath for over 40 years.

“Our ambition to build the Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems will allow us to continue to build upon our strengths in automotive engineering. IAAPS will be a nationally significant facility with wide-ranging benefits at both a national and regional level, and will help ensure the UK maintains and expands its global position within the automotive sector.”

The University of Bath welcomes interest in the world-leading research and excellent teaching we provide from candidates across the political spectrum.