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Loughborough University in London to host Advanced Propulsion Centre’s first Spoke

Loughborough University in London is to host the first ‘Spoke’ of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), Dr Vince Cable MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, announced today (6 November).

The APC was established to position the UK as the global leader for the production and development of low carbon propulsion technology, forging partnerships between those who have good ideas and those who can bring them to market.

It operates on a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model. The APC ‘Hub’ is located at the University of Warwick, with ‘Spokes’ as centres of excellence throughout the UK to realise the concept of a Propulsion Nation – a coordinated national resource of facilities and expertise.

The London Spoke will be a centre of excellence in digital engineering and test. Its vision was created by an impressive consortium comprising some of the automotive industry’s biggest names, such as Ford, McLaren, Cosworth, Ricardo and AVL, together with the High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute (HSSMI), an independent research organisation, and world-leaders in 3D design software, Autodesk. The academic partners, led by Loughborough University and including University College London, Bath and Nottingham universities, will bring internationally-renowned research capability in low carbon technologies and deliver the talent pipeline for propulsion and powertrain development.

The Spoke’s location at Loughborough University in London, which is part of the Here East development on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will enhance the APC’s visibility, reach and effectiveness among key decision makers and investors, strengthening its sphere of influence in order to attract to the UK further innovative businesses aligned to the automotive sector. The London Spoke will also be a base in the capital for the APC team.

Of today’s announcement, Professor Robert Allison, Vice Chancellor and President of Loughborough University, said: “We are delighted that Loughborough University in London is to host this first, and highly important, Spoke of the Advanced Propulsion Centre.

“The Spoke’s location in the Here East development of one of the most dynamic and fast developing regions of the London will also ensure the APC has the visibility and connectivity it requires to achieve its ambitions.

“Loughborough University has been training automotive engineers since 1919 and our research in powertrain engineering, propulsion and manufacture is recognised as world-class. Powertrain and propulsion development is a key strategic area for Loughborough: indeed earlier this year we announced a five-year investment of £1.5 million in research appointments, which will help us to develop the new advanced propulsion technologies required for the move to zero emission vehicles. We are therefore exceptionally well-placed to support this very important and hugely exciting development.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “This new facility at Here East in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be at the heart of exciting and innovative developments linking the UK’s successful automotive industry with London’s thriving digital community. The capital has an incredible eco-system for businesses large and small and a burgeoning reputation as a global science and technology hub, which can be put to service creating jobs not just in London but throughout the country.”

Gavin Poole, CEO of Here East, said: “We are delighted that some of the world’s leading automotive companies will be coming to Here East as part of Loughborough University in London. Here East’s unrivalled infrastructure, iconic location and unique vision of a home for makers makes it the perfect place for such companies to pursue technological innovation and develop the next generation of low carbon vehicle technology.”

David Goldstone, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “The Lower Lea Valley was once the industrial engine driving London’s economy. What better way to herald Stratford’s economic resurgence than for the first Spoke of this cutting edge technology to be based at Here East on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park? The APC will be the pathfinder for many truly exciting and innovative projects coming to the Park, creating jobs and developing some of the most sought after skills in the world.”

The APC was formed from a commitment between the Government and automotive industry through the Automotive Council, and will see £1 billion of Government and industry investment over the next ten years. The Business Secretary today announced £32 million of new investments in the latest round of advanced propulsion funding as part of the APC. So far in 2014, the APC has committed to projects which are equivalent in carbon reduction terms to the removal of 246,000 cars per year off the road.