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Ian Constance: oration

Read Professor Gary Hawley's oration on Ian Constance for the honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering in December 2019.


Ian Constance
Ian Constance

Pro-Chancellor, it is my pleasure to introduce Ian Constance, eminent engineer, global leader, and environmental champion. Ian Constance joined the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) as the CEO in September 2015. The APC was founded in 2013 as a joint venture between the automotive industry and the UK government. Its remit is to make the UK a Centre of Excellence for research, development and commercialisation of technologies for vehicles of the future and to ensure that the UK remains competitive in the global race to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Both government and the automotive industry committed to investing £500 million each, totalling £1 billion over the next ten years.

Under Ian’s leadership the APC has so far committed investment of £853m funding for 51 projects (of which the University of Bath has featured in eight) safeguarding or creating 36,000 jobs and reducing CO2 emissions by over 150m tonnes. The CO2 saving is the equivalent of removing at least 6 million conventional cars off the road.

Prior to this appointment Ian worked for the Ford Motor Company in Detroit where he was the Global Chief Engineer for Large Cars. In that position he led product development activities for the Ford Mondeo/Fusion and Ford Taurus. The role involved all elements of product engineering, design, manufacturing readiness and business case development with a very keen focus on future customer needs. Working on these product lines gave Ian wide experience of developing and integrating Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and gasoline and diesel internal combustion engines into global platforms.

With over 30 years’ experience within the automotive industry, he spent six years at Ford’s Asia Pacific HQ, first in Bangkok and then in Shanghai, during an unprecedented period of growth and change in the Far East. As Director of Product Programmes he was responsible for delivering many well-known Ford products into manufacturing plants, joint ventures and markets throughout the region.

He gained an engineering degree from Aston University, and an MSc in Advanced Automotive Engineering from Loughborough University. His early career in manufacturing engineering and production management provided him with the necessary skills in product design and scaling which are vitally important for the successful commercialisation of products.

Ian has been a strong advocate for automotive propulsion research at the University of Bath. He provided compelling and unwavering support for the creation of the University’s Institute of Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS). IAAPS secured £70m to develop a new experimental facility to enable research to be conducted on ever more complex propulsion systems to allow sound scientific insight into the performance and optimisation of future low and zero carbon propulsion technologies.

Under Ian’s leadership, and with a commitment to social responsibility, he has steered the APC to drive mental health awareness by supporting Mind UK. He has also led the APC in supporting communities, young people and promoting equal opportunities by championing STEM activities in schools to realise the next generation of automotive engineers and technicians, regardless of gender or background.

Ian’s truly international standing as an eminent engineer and innovative leader who has held global responsibilities at the highest level is responsible for the APC currently delivering CO2 savings three times over its original remit. This is remarkable and the APC has become a global beacon in addressing one of the most pressing challenges of our age - the development of sustainable, low-carbon transport which is much needed by both industrialised and emerging economies.

Pro-Chancellor, I present to you Ian Constance, who is eminently worthy to receive the Degree of Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa.


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