A new £18m centre of excellence for the power electronics sector was launched today.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has opened what it is calling the first EPSRC National Centre of Excellence for Power Electronics, with the investment in the new centre being spread as a series of grants, each of which involves multiple universities.
Power electronics refers to devices, circuits and systems that manage electrical energy and can be found in almost any electronic device from laptops and mobile phones trains and power stations.
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.
Welcoming the opening of the centre, Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts says: "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.
The grants announced today will fund a central coordinating hub – led by Professor Mark Johnson at the University of Nottingham and involving the universities of Manchester, Newcastle, Greenwich, Bristol, Warwick, Nottingham and Imperial College London – and a series of four technical programmes.
A devices programme will be led by Professor Phil Mawby at the University of Warwick; a Components programme will be led by Professor Philip Mellor at the University of Bristol; a convertors programme will be led by Professor Andrew Forsyth at the University of Manchester; and a drives programme will be led by Professor Barrie Mecrow at the University of Newcastle.
EPSRC’s chief executive, Professor David Delpy, said: “This £18m 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 £12m with a further £6m 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. ”
Steve Burgin, chairman of PowerelectronicsUK and UK president of Alstom said: “The new EPSRC Centre for Power Electronics will be key to the future success of UK power electronics.
“It will help to keep UK industry and academia at the forefront of next generation power electronics technologies.”