EPSRC provides £18m boost for power electronics capacity

Posted on 1 Jul 2013

The opening of the first National Centre of Excellence for Power Electronics by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) today will give the UK’s industries and its economy an £18 million boost.

The £18 million investment in the new EPSRC research centre will be spread as a series of grants, each of which involves multiple universities.

Power electronics are used in devices such as laptops and mobile phones or anything that contains electrical circuitry. This includes trains, planes, energy networks and power stations.

EPSRC’s chief executive, Professor David Delpy said:

“This £18 million investment in a six-year research initiative is part of EPSRC’s response to the Government’s 2011 BIS Strategy for Power Electronics in the UK.

“We will invest an initial tranche of £12 million with a further £6 million being released subject to a future review of progress. Power Electronics was also a priority area in our recent call for new Centres for Doctoral Training. ”

The opening of the new Centre comes two months after the launch of the PowerelectronicsUK Forum which is a network backed by industry, academia and the Government, that aims to boost the number of people within the power electronics industry.

Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, opens the centre and says it will help “maintain a supply of skilled people”.

“We have a leading power electronics industry in the UK, but we need to keep investing in research to ensure it remains globally competitive.

“This National Centre will bring together our excellent universities and businesses to ensure industry has access to the latest science and technology, as well as helping to maintain a supply of skilled people.”

A total of around £5 million will be going to Nottingham University in capital equipment funding as recognition of its leadership of the hub and to fund its research activities in three out of the four technical programmes associated with the centre — Components, Converters and Drives.

The Centre will have its coordinating hub at Nottingham, led by Professor Mark Johnson in the university’s department of electrical and electronic engineering, but will also involve researchers at the universities of Manchester, Newcastle, Cambridge, Greenwich, Bristol, Sheffield, Strathclyde, Warwick and Imperial College London.

Professor Johnson said: “Leading this new centre puts Nottingham at the forefront of developing the next generation of power electronics components and devices which are cheaper, smaller, lighter, and more energy efficient and durable.

“Our aim is also to create an environment in which academe-industry collaboration can flourish, with industrial partners ranging from the smallest enterprises to global corporations and the views and opinions of our industrial partners will act as a driver for the strategic direction of our fundamental research.”