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UK power electronics org appoints new chair


Newcastle University's Mike Capaldi, appointed as chair of Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centres (DER-IC)

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 DER-IC network, funded by Innovate UK, set over four regions across the 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.

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, Matt Boyle. Since then, he has been actively engaged in various projects of relevance, including the Electrification Process Innovation Centre (EPIC), Zero Carbon Futures, the North East Battery Alliance and the launch of Newcastle University's Institute of Electrification and Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (IESAM) which will launch its first degree apprenticeship covering PEMD in September (BEng in Product Design and Development Engineer).

Prior to assuming his role at Newcastle University, Capaldi spent three decades in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry in multi-national organisations holding key commercial roles. In 2010, Capaldi became director of Innovation at the University of Edinburgh.

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 intricately 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, against a backdrop of evolving external challenges, such as multiple lockdowns and geopolitical disruption.

“The project’s overall mission remains intact, even in the face of these 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 on 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.”

Capaldi’s key focuses in his new role include innovation and technology development, manufacturing scale-up and commercialisation, and skills and workforce development.

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