Caroline Quest, University of Bath’s new Director of Research and Innovation Services, on clean tech and building a new £60 million Institute

As former Director of Research and Enterprise at the University of Leicester, and Director of Enterprise and Innovation at Queen Mary University of London, it is exciting to be working in a new region with one of the strongest economies in Europe.

The Tech Nation Report 2019 cites the South West as having a £2.44 billion turnover and an investment trajectory putting Bristol as a top site for clean tech investment globally.

Resident at the Engine Shed, the GW4 Alliance contributes significantly to this, with a combined turnover of £1.8 billion and over 8,000 academic staff from four of the most research-intensive universities in the UK: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter.

The University of Bath’s new Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) builds on 40 years of automotive propulsion expertise at the University of Bath. IAAPS brings this expertise together in a new research and innovation institute to support the delivery of future generations of ultra-low and zero impact vehicles. We look forward to the Institute opening at the Bristol and Bath Science Park in March 2021 and supporting the region in delivering clean tech.

A total of £60 million funding, including £40 million from government, has enabled the construction of our new Institute, which is now well underway.

Developing future generations of ultra-low emission vehicles will undoubtedly see the Institute further strengthen and establish the region; creating an additional turnover of £800 million for the UK automotive sector by 2025 and supporting 1,900 new jobs, with more than 50 on-site.

The South West’s globally recognised clusters and sector specialisms, such as Aerospace and Advanced Engineering, High Tech, Creative and Digital, and Low Carbon Technologies, will be important to our specialist Institute in developing clean tech and economic growth.

Furthermore, with access to state-of-the art facilities for start-ups and SMEs, IAAPS will also benefit local growth as we compete on a global scale for scale-up investment.

We have other business support in place to help new entrepreneurs and companies with potential for high growth to start-up and scale-up. This includes our ERDF business acceleration hubs being delivered by Bath SETsquared, part of the national SETsquared Global #1 enterprise partnership.

These Hubs are for Advanced Engineering, Sustainable Technologies, Digital Innovation, and Social Enterprise and Innovation, as a result of £4.5 million ERDF funding over the last five years.

The Engine Shed is an ideal and frequently used location to provide business support for the Hubs with networking, events and meeting space for University and business partnerships, and collaborative opportunities.

Since 2002 SETsquared Partnership has supported over 3,500 hi-tech start-ups to develop and raise more than £1.5 billion investment and contribute over £8.6 billion to the UK economy. SETsquared Bristol is located at Engine Shed with over 80 members.