Host of new appointments bolsters senior leadership team

05 January 2023

IAAPS has implemented a series of new appointments to its senior leadership team with effect from 1st of January 2023.

Professor Chris Brace has been appointed to the position of Executive Director of IAAPS, succeeding Professor Gary Hawley, who has stepped down from this role at the end of 2022 and will retire at the end of March. Professor Brace was previously Academic Director at IAAPS and will be replaced by Professor Richard Burke, who is also Director of the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT).

In his new role, Professor Chris Brace will be leading the strategic development of IAAPS, overseeing and being directly responsible for the governance and operation of both the academic organisation and the commercial arm, IAAPS Ltd, fostering synergies between the two and implementing strategies that aim to promote its mission, culture and objectives, as well as maintaining positive relationships with industry and internal and external stakeholders to drive IAAPS’ expansion and spearhead the next stage of its growth and development.

Meanwhile, Professor Sam Akehurst, who has previously held the position of Deputy Academic Director, is taking on the newly created role of Research Director. His key responsibilities will include channelling commercial research links into the academic community, working with the Executive Director to develop strategic external academic research links with both the university institute and IAAPS Ltd to ensure alignment between academic and commercial operations. He will also be working closely with the Commercial Director to nurture research links emanating from current and future industry partnerships, particularly internationally.

The appointments follow the recent promotion of Tony Reid to Commercial Director, overseeing the business development of IAAPS Ltd and the delivery of key growth objectives, and Paul Shilham to Head of Finance, charged with the development of the long-term business plan and management of all finance functions within IAAPS Ltd. The Engineering department will continue to be led by Engineering Director Professor Rob Oliver.

The leadership changes come at a strategically pivotal stage for IAAPS. The academic division has been significantly expanded with new members of staff to reflect the continued diversification of expertise and technical focus such as on aerospace, while the new £70m IAAPS facility at the Bristol & Bath Science Park also became officially operational, with the first test cell, Powertrain 1, having been handed over from equipment supplier AVL at the end of last year following extensive commissioning, with more to come online in due course. IAAPS Ltd, meanwhile, has also began the fulfilment of its first commercial contract and recently announced a major partnership with GKN Aerospace to develop hydrogen propulsion systems for aviation.

“I am delighted to be taking on the Executive Director role at this exciting time for IAAPS, as the Academic group grows and IAAPS Ltd becomes fully operational and enters its next phase. We have a unique offering and a state-of-the-art facility which allows us to be at the forefront of propulsion systems R&I. I am confident that IAAPS has the right people and the expertise to deliver ground breaking and sector-leading projects, building strong partnerships with industry, academia and commercial collaborators,” says Professor Chris Brace.

05 January 2023