The Automotive Industry Network event took place yesterday (Wednesday 13 March) at the Apex City of Bath Hotel.

The event – organised by the University of Bath’s Research and Innovation Services (RIS) - was well attended by a range of individuals, businesses and organisations operating both regionally and nationally in the automotive sector and brought together industry and academia to address the latest challenges in the sector.

Attendees had the opportunity to hear presentations from a number of sector leaders including Director of Innovation at McLaren Applied Technologies, Mark Mathieson; Professor of Automotive Propulsion at the University of Bath, Chris Brace; and Innovation Director of SETsquared, Simon Bond, as well as take part in a variety of workshops and panel discussions.

Dean of the University’s Faculty of Engineering & Design, Professor Gary Hawley provided an update on the latest progress and the vision and priorities of the University of Bath’s new £60 million automotive propulsion research facility – the Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) – scheduled to open in late 2020 at the Bristol & Bath Science Park.

A number of vehicles were on display including the IAAPS team’s BMW i8 test vehicle, and having recently returned from representing the UK at Formula Student Electric China, Team Bath Racing Electric (TBRe) 2018’s racing car was also on show.

There was also an exhibition area whereby attendees were able to showcase their work and network throughout the day.

Professor Chris Brace, said:

This event was designed to identify opportunities to help small, dynamic companies to get to the next stage in their growth as well as assisting more established companies to access the innovative ideas that they need to maintain and develop their business.

Director of Innovation at McLaren Applied Technologies and event keynote speaker, Mark Mathieson, commented:

This type of event is very important, bringing people together to discuss some really significant topics facing the automotive sector.

No-one should underestimate the size of the challenge we are facing. It is widely accepted the automotive industry is going to change more in the next 10 years than it has in the past 100 years so there is an awful lot of things for us to face up to, and collaborating and sharing knowledge is key to that.

The event which was funded by the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) was followed by a drinks reception to officially launch the Advanced Engineering Business Acceleration Hub (AEBAH), the latest enterprise hub to be set up by the University of Bath in partnership with SETsquared, the world’s number one university business accelerator.

The AEBAH is funded by the European Regional Development to create jobs and growth in the region by helping 130 innovative companies in the West of England achieve their potential. The hub will also connect companies with academics at the University of Bath for knowledge exchange, research and expertise, as well as business-university research partnerships. The programme is open to all SME’s and startups in the advanced engineering sector, and will be of particular interest to companies interesting in engaging with IAAPS.

Innovation Director of SETsquared, Simon Bond, added:

I am really excited to have launched the University’s Advanced Engineering Business Acceleration Hub. The automotive sector is hugely exciting and interesting so events like this bringing together businesses, industrial collaborators and researchers is a great opportunity to identify how best to work out a roadmap for innovation and how we can better work together in the future.