DER-IC welcomes our new Chair, Mike Capaldi

Newcastle University Dean of Innovation and Business, Professor Mike Capaldi, appointed as Chair of Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centres (DER-IC)

Professor Mike Capaldi, Dean of Innovation and Business at Newcastle University, has been announced as the new Chair of DER-IC, a UK-wide Power Electronics, Machines and Drives (PEMD) manufacturing network. The strategic appointment is aligned with DER-IC’s drive to support the commercialisation and innovation of the PEMD manufacturing supply chain.

The UK-wide DER-IC network, funded by Innovate UK, offers open-access equipment, facilities, and expertise to the PEMD manufacturing supply chain. PEMD are underpinning technologies that support electrification and will in turn enable Net Zero and boost the UK economy.

Professor Mike Capaldi is returning to DER-IC having taken a leading role in the initial funding application and development of the DER-IC project in 2019, alongside its former Chair, Professor Matt Boyle OBE. Since then, he has been actively engaged in various projects, including the Electrification Process Innovation Centre (EPIC), Zero Carbon Futures, the North East Battery Alliance, and Newcastle University’s Institute of Electrification and Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (IESAM) which will shortly launch its first PEMD-related BEng Product Design and Development Engineer Degree Apprenticeship programme.

Prior to assuming his role at Newcastle University, Professor Capaldi gained over three decades of invaluable experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry in multi-national organisations holding pivotal roles with a strong commercial focus. Professor Capaldi transitioned into education in 2010 as Director of Innovation at the University of Edinburgh.

Professor Capaldi said of the appointment: “I’m proud to be taking on this role at a pivotal point in DER-IC’s timeline of activity in supporting the PEMD manufacturing sector. Having been involved in shaping the team which developed the strategic direction to align academia and industry to expedite commercialisation, I’ve remained close to the sector and provided consultative support to the project. Since its inception, DER-IC has supported industry address PEMD product and manufacturing process development challenges.”

“It’s now more pertinent than ever that we ensure the highest levels of resilience within our supply chains and seek out new growth opportunities. This necessitates harnessing new technologies and innovative ways of working. Alongside this, the integration of PEMD technologies is essential to supporting the Government in decarbonising the UK manufacturing sector. Electrification is a key component of delivering Net Zero. Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance that there is increased focus on how we rise to that challenge, and DER-IC is integral to that.”

Venn Chesterton, Deputy Director, Driving the Electric Revolution added: “Innovate UK’s continued support and investment in the Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centres shows the importance of PEMD technologies to the UK economy and the global race to Net Zero.

“Thank you, Matt, for leading this vitally important capability and welcome Mike: I look forward to working with you in the coming years.”

Professor Mike Capaldi’s key focuses in his new role align with the three key industry challenges of innovation and technology development, manufacturing scale-up and commercialisation, and skills and workforce development addressed through the DER-IC network and its capabilities.

Mike added: “Much the same as the project’s initial strategy, it’s about bridging the gap between innovation and industry, and that will come from further strengthening the network and encouraging even more collaboration. My immediate priority in this new role is making sure that more manufacturers know that DER-IC is here, and the support DER-IC provides. We have strong relationships with industry, largely with OEMs, and I’m looking forward to supporting DER-IC in expanding this across the supply chain.”