National Strategy for Power Electronics demonstrates opportunity for UK to lead sector

The National Strategy for Power Electronics was launched today at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills’ London headquarters.
The consultation was carried out under the leadership of BIS and NMI. Expert insight was collated to determine how the UK power electronics sector can best meet the threats to future growth and identify ways the UK government can support this expansion. Representatives from over 50 companies and 16 universities gave their input, with examples from transport, consumer/lighting, energy and industrial drives.
The report highlights that whilst the UK is ideally placed to lead the world in the power electronics sector, worth £135 billion per year, the market is a highly competitive one and the UK community faces three key threats:
•    The emergence of disruptive technologies that can rapidly transform sectors of the market away from the UK’s existing strengths;
•    A graduate skills shortage affecting UK industry’s ability to keep pace with incremental innovation;
•    A lack of strategic funding for highly innovative, relatively high-risk projects, stifling the aspirations of SMEs and start-ups.
Bill Drury, who chaired the Strategy Report on behalf of NMI and BIS commented: “Power electronics isn’t often recognised as one of our strengths, I want to make sure we change this misconception. The UK has the reputation, the strong market position – with globally successful companies – and the research prowess to lead the world in this field.
“But much needs to be done to protect this position and the key actions to take are: to create an environment that enables us to stay competitive; to align the interests of industry, government and academia; and to deliver more young specialist engineers through the university system.
“Our first step in addressing these is to form the National Forum for Power Electronics with an ongoing annual review of progress against the strategy action plan – enabling a practical and pragmatic approach that will refresh and re-invigorate the whole power electronics community.”
Derek Boyd, CEO of NMI said: “We welcome the report, its findings and, more importantly, the resulting actions. We’re encouraged by the commitment that the government has placed behind the power electronics community. The report is just the beginning and we will continue to work with government, academia and the industry to foster collaboration across industry sectors and supply chain barriers in order to promote best practice and support innovation.”

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