Science Minister, Chris Skidmore MP, today unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the latest milestone in the development of the University’s new £70m Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS).

The event was held in The Forum at the Bristol & Bath Science Park and attended by around 100 supporters, partners and collaborators of the University’s automotive research.

IAAPS will be a global centre of excellence, delivering transformational research and innovation and supporting the automotive industries in meeting future air quality standards. It will lead the development of future generations of ultra-low emission vehicles and attract sector-related businesses to the region, generating economic growth.

At the invitation of the University’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Ian White, and Chair of Council, Mrs Pam Chesters CBE, Chris Skidmore MP formally unveiled a commemorative plaque which will be incorporated into the finished IAAPS building.

Professor White commented: “The University of Bath has been at the forefront of automotive and propulsions research for over 40 years. The Institute is a hugely exciting development which will enable Bath to help tackle the many challenges facing the automotive industry, by working with some of the industry’s leading vehicle manufacturers to develop future generations of ultra-low emission vehicles.

“We are most grateful that Science Minister, Chris Skidmore, was able to join us and mark this latest milestone by unveiling a commemorative plaque. We are also hugely grateful to Research England and the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership for their support, and to our ongoing partners in the automotive industry, which include McLaren, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover.”

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “The West of England is set to lead the world in the development of ultra-low emission vehicles. Supporting innovation and business growth like this is key to our economic success. The IAAPS project also supports our ambitions for clean economic growth and will help us to attract even more innovative businesses to the region.”

Professor Steve West, Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “We’re proud to help drive the development of this global centre of excellence in our region with investment through the Local Growth Fund. 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.”

David Sweeney, Executive Chair, Research England said: “Research England is pleased to see IAAPS reach this important milestone. The project is fulfilling the aspirations of our UK Research Partnership Investment Fund, by building on the University of Bath’s existing research excellence in propulsion technology, strengthening its strategic ties with industry and leveraging considerable co-investment from non-public sources.

“When complete, the combination of world-leading university researchers, industry specialists, and leading engineers and scientists within this state-of-the-art research facility will be a hugely important step forward in our collective pursuit of cleaner energy and reduced CO2 emissions.”

At the event, the IAAPS BMW i8 test vehicle was on display alongside the University’s student electric racing car team - Team Bath Racing Electric (TBRe) - and their racing car for this year’s Formula Student competition, as well as Bath Zero and their electric racing motorcycle.

Attendees had the opportunity to take a tour through the IAAPS building using the latest Virtual Reality headset technology as well as hear from members of AVL UK Limited who were recently appointed as the equipment supplier for IAAPS.

Opening in 2021, IAAPS build on over four decades of advanced propulsion system expertise at the University of Bath, working in collaboration with industry and academia to deliver transformational research into cleaner, smarter engines, powertrains and driver technologies.

Vision for IAAPS

The Institute will also stimulate over £67 million in additional automotive research investment by 2025, creating an additional turnover of £800 million for the UK automotive sector. It is also projected to create more than 50 jobs on-site in 2021 and support nearly 1,900 new highly productive jobs in the industry across the supply chain.

Professor of Automotive Propulsion at the University of Bath, Chris Brace, added: “We are excited by the opportunity IAAPS will afford us in advancing UK automotive research and innovation. By combining some of the country’s leading engineers with the world-leading equipment and specialist facilities we will have at IAAPS, this Institute will be a global centre of excellence.

“From helping to address the engineering skills shortage facing the UK automotive sector to bringing together global companies with local businesses and SMEs, IAAPS will enable the South West to become a hotbed of automotive research and innovation.”