University of Warwick receives £1m grant to cultivate future engineers for electric cars

The University of Warwick has received £1m in funding to launch a new programme called the Warwick Electrification Deployment (WELD). The project will help to develop the next generation of engineers to position the UK as a global leader in electric cars.

WELD will be supported by WMG’s Power Electronics, Machines and Drives (PEMD) Group and the School of Engineering’s Power Electronics group, both of which will utilise the University’s world-class facilities and manufacturing and testing capabilities for the education programme. WELD will build talent in the electric cars sector and help pioneer novel technologies to aid the transition to electrified transport.

What will WELD involve?

As the world transitions from damaging, emissions-producing combustion engines to climate-friendly electric cars, the demand for skilled professionals for designing, manufacturing, and maintaining electric drivetrains is growing exponentially. A skilled workforce will enable UK businesses to grow and scale new PEMD technologies and manufacturing processes.

WELD will ensure that this demand for skilled workers is met and will comprise industry workshops, school outreach activities, and increased education within PEMD. The University will pioneer new content in power electronics, eMachines, and drives, utilising current expertise to up-skill the existing workforce and support the future pipeline of talent.

WELD will also specialise in developing IP-free eMachines, with parts manufacture, assembly and testing on-site to facilitate hands-on learning. The project will also benefit from the University’s two ‘Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation‘ (DER-IC) facilities – the Winding Centre of Excellence and the power electronics reliability and failure analysis space, which are scheduled to open in Autumn 2022.

Dr Juliette Soulard, an Associate Professor of Electric Machines at WMG, said: “Through our close collaboration with UK industry, we witness the huge difficulties faced when trying to recruit people with the right skills for PEMD research and development projects.

“The expertise exists in the UK, but the knowledge and skills transfer needs dedicated and urgent actions, which normal higher education courses cannot deliver. WELD’s industry workshops with unique, hands-on learning about manufacturing and device testing aims to address this issue.”

Professor Peter Gammon, Professor of Power Electronic Devices, Head of Research and Deputy Head of the School of Engineering, concluded: “We are extremely proud to be leading the WELD project, which will help meet a national and international PEMD skills shortage.

“Our activities will also help increase the flow of engineering graduates into the industry via new PEMD and Automotive Electrification MScs, while an extensive outreach programme will help educate and inspire the next generation of engineers.”

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