Prestigious ceremony marks official opening of IAAPS

02 October 2023

IAAPS’ formal launch ceremony saw dignitaries including Dan Norris, Metro Mayor of the Mayoral Combined Authority, John Glen MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Chris Skidmore MP, Chair of the Net Zero Review as well as MP for Kingswood, join Professor Ian White, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bath, Professor Chris Brace, Executive Director of IAAPS, and Professor Sarah Hainsworth, Pro Vice Chancellor Research, University of Bath, in cutting a symbolic ribbon to mark this major milestone.

The exclusive event was held at the new 11,300 sqm IAAPS facility at the Bristol & Bath Science Park and brought together around 250 supporters, partners and collaborators from industry, academia, trade bodies as well as national and regional governments. Guests also had the opportunity to take an exclusive tour of the state-of-the-art facility with cutting edge technology and learn about IAAPS’ unrivalled R&I capabilities.

Professor Chris Brace, IAAPS Executive Director, said: “IAAPS represents a strategic investment of over £70 million by the University of Bath and our funders, a testament to the profound importance of research and innovation as we move towards net zero transportation. But IAAPS isn’t just a facility, it is also a commitment to push technological boundaries, to develop cleaner, more efficient and safer vehicles, as well as nurture the next generation of engineers, researchers and innovators who will lead us into the future.”

Professor chris brace standing at podium

Professor White commented: “The official opening of the IAAPS facility is an important milestone for the University of Bath, as it advances its research and innovation regionally, nationally and internationally. I congratulate Professor Chris Brace and his colleagues who have worked so hard in recent years towards this day. I look forward to the Institute making major contributions in the field of propulsion in particular and mobility in general in the future.”

John Glen MP commented: “I am very proud to be at Bath University today to open this state-of-the-art research facility which will use British innovation to fuel the travel of the future. Research and development investment like this is vital to our future growth, which is why this Government is investing record amounts in R&D, up a third in two years.” 

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Dan Norris, Metro Mayor, meanwhile, stressed the importance of IAAPS for the West of England and its positive impact on the regional economy and skills development. He said: “Despite what some might say, getting to net zero still very much matters in the West of England and this country. But if we are going to keep reducing our emissions at pace, we are going to need the transport sector especially to shift gear, and do more research in clean, powerful fuels like hydrogen.

“That’s why I’m proud to open this world-leading research and innovation centre, funded by a £10 million cash injection from my Mayoral Combined Authority, which will really put rocket boosters under our plans for the West to become a zero-emission and innovation leader. It just goes to show how much of a key player our West of England region is becoming in the fight against the climate and ecological emergencies we all face.”

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The event also saw Professor Gary Hawley, former Executive Director of IAAPS and now Professor Emeritus, being honoured for his leadership and tireless effort in establishing IAAPS. 

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IAAPS builds 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. The centre has recently seen further multi-million-pound investment in pioneering hydrogen research and testing capabilities, including the installation of a green hydrogen manufacturing plant -  the first of its kind in the South West of England - as well as a closed loop cryogenic helium system.

The expanding scope and wealth of expertise at IAAPS is set to facilitate a number of trailblazing initiatives, including a regional Hydrogen Sustainable Transport Economy Acceleration Hub, working with over 30 cross-sector partners to facilitate green growth in the region and to provide an important link in the national H2 research infrastructure.

Once fully scaled, it is projected that IAAPS will stimulate £67m in additional R&D investment within five years of opening and drive an additional turnover of £800m within the UK automotive sector alone, as well as contribute £221m in additional Gross Value Added for the UK economy. Furthermore, IAAPS will support around 1,900 new jobs across the supply chain within the UK, and directly employ approx. 190 people.

The IAAPS facility has been funded by the University of Bath, the UK Government’s Research England and the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority.

02 October 2023