New £70m research facility to boost Bath’s automotive industry

SOURCE: Oli Woodman/Unsplash
The new facility will foster groundbreaking research to discover next-generation propulsion systems.

By U2B Staff 

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Construction company Rydon is currently delivering a new £70 million automotive propulsion research facility as part of the University of Bath’s Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS), a world-leading facility set to grow the region’s automotive industry. 

Scheduled to open in 2021 at the Bristol and Bath Science Park at Emerson’s Green, construction has already commenced on the research facility. This marks IAAPS’s latest stage in development. 

The university will work closely with Rydon as well as engineering solutions provider AVL, which has been chosen as the equipment supplier for the facility, to ensure the building and the equipment installed are fully aligned with the research activities conducted there. 

The installation of the new equipment will begin in early 2020 following the construction of the building. A number of research facilities within the building will be operational from early 2021.


IAAPS will be a global centre of excellence, with the facility’s main research goal being to deliver innovative solutions for the automotive industries to meet future air quality standards. 

The facility will be instrumental in the development of future generations of ultra-low emission vehicles to achieve this goal. 

As consumers shift towards more efficient and environmental-friendly vehicle propulsion systems, the automotive sector has become even more competitive. 

This is why research on developing new electric-based propulsion systems and other alternatives to internal combustion engines (ICE) has become more crucial. 

Besides advancing research in the automotive industry, the new facility will also generate economic growth for the region’s automotive industry by attracting sector-related businesses. 

automotive industry
There is a crucial need for automotive research in alternative propulsion systems. Source: neonbrand/Unsplash.

 “We are pleased to have appointed Rydon as the contractors for the new facility. This is an important component in realising the overall vision of IAAPS,” said University of Bath dean of the faculty of engineering and design and executive director of IAAPS Prof Gary Hawley in a media release. 

“The Institute will place Bath at the forefront of future vehicle development in Europe, both from a technical perspective, and in terms of developing the talent that the industry will need in the future.”

“We are delighted to be delivering this much-anticipated research and innovation facility for the University of Bath,” added Rydon South West Regional Director Paul Barber. 

“This building will house some of the world’s best engineers in a state of the art facility that will positively impact the region and the UK automotive industry. We are proud to bring Rydon’s sector expertise with a passion for considerate construction and look forward to delivering this scheme to an exceptional quality.”


IAAPS has received £10 million in funding allocations by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Local Growth Fund, administered by the West of England Combined Authority. 

The Local Growth Fund is one of the West of England LEP’s initiatives to support economic growth in the region. It is a capital only fund which matches government and organisational bids with additional investments from local partners and the private sector. The overall fund is expected to generate over 9,000 jobs within the region. 

 “I’m proud that the West of England is set to lead the world in the development of ultra-low emission vehicles. Supporting innovation like this is key to our ambition for clean economic growth, and will help us to attract even more innovative businesses into our region,” said West of England Mayor Tim Bowles.  

“Supporting businesses to innovate to drive new clean technology is key to our Local Industrial Strategy. IAAPS will also support the development of a much larger and more competitive automotive business cluster in the region, providing access to its state-of-the art facilities to start-ups and small to medium-sized companies,” added West of England LEP Chair Professor Steve West.