New WSP footage reveals University of Bath’s world-class IAAPS facility

In 2018, WSP was appointed as civil and structural engineers on the University of Bath's Institute for Advanced Propulsion Systems which is due to open in 2021. The project will support automotive industries to deliver advanced propulsion systems and ultra-low emission vehicles.

WSP, the engineering professional services consultancy, has today released new drone footage showing the University of Bath’s Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) as it nears the end of construction.

IAAPS will be a world-class facility supporting global automotive industries to deliver future generations of advanced propulsion systems and ultra-low emission vehicles. IAAPS will enable insight into the complex nature of transitioning to Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, including the continued electrification of vehicles, and is due to open in 2021.

The footage, produced by Kestrel Surveys on behalf of WSP, shows the structure which, when completed, will be 13,500 sqm in size and two storeys tall. The ground floor rear will contain test facilities for engines, propulsion, power trains and chassis dyno cells, while the first-floor rear will consist of specialist equipment to serve the test areas below it.

The state-of-the-art equipment and space will allow detailed systems-level research to be conducted including whole vehicle analysis under real-world driving conditions, recognising the ever-changing nature of mobility and travel in the UK, particularly with a transition to low carbon transportation as part of the UK’s 2050 net zero target.

IAAPS is being built at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, a regional hub for science and technology businesses, and has received funding from both Research England’s UK Research Partnership Investment Fund and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership through the Local Growth Fund, administered by the West of England Combined Authority.

WSP has been on the University of Bath’s Consultants Framework since 2012 for civil and structural engineering services, with this project being led by the firm’s Bristol structures team.

Rydon is the main contractor and Stride Treglown and DKA are the architects on the project. Turner & Townsend is the Project Manager and the cost consultant is Fulkers Bailey Russell.

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “The West of England is set to lead the world in the development of ultra-low emission vehicles. Supporting innovation and business growth like this is key to our economic success. The IAAPS project also supports our ambitions for clean economic growth and will help us to attract even more innovative businesses to the region.”

Peter Bone, Technical Director for Structures at WSP, said: “The University of Bath’s IAAPS will be a globally significant facility and at the forefront of research into propulsion systems and ultra-low emission vehicles. The need for world-class facilities and academia to support this agenda has never been greater as decarbonising our transport network will be a key element of the UK achieving net zero emissions by 2050. We’re delighted to be working on this project with the University and look forward to seeing the facility in action.”

Professor Gary Hawley, Executive Director of IAAPS, said: "We're excited to see the new IAAPS research facility take shape and this footage gives us a unique and useful insight into the build that shows the ambition and scale of the project.

"Both the University of Bath and IAAPS' other major investors, Research England and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, are pleased to see the continued progress of the building, particularly in the current climate. The facility will allow us to significantly accelerate our work to develop high-quality research-based solutions for the automotive industry as it moves to a more sustainable and efficiency-focused future."

In May, WSP and thinktank Bright Blue launched Delivering Net Zero: Building Britain’s Resilient Recovery, a collaborative manifesto on how the UK can deliver a net zero economy and society by 2050. In the collection, George Freeman MP and Joanna Furtado at Green Alliance present ideas for the decarbonisation of the UK’s transport network.




The drone survey was carried out on Monday 11 May by Kestrel Surveys. All health and safety rules were followed, and a method of working was agreed with contractor, Rydon. 

Drone FootageOrbit Footage


Dan Williams, UK PR Manager, WSP / 07341 681 673 


As one of the world’s leading engineering professional services consultancies, WSP brings clarity and vision to complex challenges. Our team of more than 8,200 technical specialists and strategic advisers across the UK is part of a nearly 50,000-strong global family of expertise. Together, we ensure innovative solutions solve complex problems for our clients and the communities we serve, meeting both the needs of today and addressing the challenges of the future.

As the largest environmental consultancy in the UK, WSP takes pride in leading the way we collectively tackle the climate emergency. Working collaboratively with industry organisations, WSP co-founded ‘Pledge to Net Zero’ which commits environmental services firms to science-based carbon targets and public reporting. In May 2020, we brought together the public and private sector for our Delivering Net Zero report, and WSP is on course to become a net zero business by 2025 – an achievement for which we were named Global Good Company of the Year in 2019.


IAAPS and the University of Bath

IAAPS will be a new £70m Research and Innovation facility based at the Bristol and Bath Science Park. It will be operate as a fully owned subsidiary of the University of Bath. The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities both in terms of research and our reputation for excellence in teaching, learning and graduate prospects.

The University is rated Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the Government’s assessment of teaching quality in universities, meaning its teaching is of the highest quality in the UK.

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 research assessment 87 per cent of our research was defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. From developing fuel efficient cars of the future, to identifying infectious diseases more quickly, or working to improve the lives of female farmers in West Africa, research from Bath is making a difference around the world. Find out more:

Well established as a nurturing environment for enterprising minds, Bath is ranked highly in all national league tables. We are ranked 6th in the UK by The Guardian University Guide 2020, 5th for graduate prospects in The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020, and 9th out of 131 UK universities in the Complete University Guide 2021.


IAAPS Funders

In addition to investment by the University of Bath, IAAPS has received funding from Research England and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). 

The UK Research Partnership Investment Fund has committed £28.9 million to enable construction of the £70m IAAPS facility.

Research England is a public body that shapes healthy, dynamic research and knowledge exchange in universities. It distributes over £2.2bn every year to universities, primarily in England but also in the rest of the UK; it works to understand their strategies, capabilities and capacity; and it supports and challenges universities to create new knowledge, strengthen the economy, and enrich society. Research England is part of UK Research and Innovation alongside the seven Research Councils and Innovate UK. @ResEngland

Research England administers the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), a capital investment scheme which provides funding for higher education research facilities. Since 2012, UKRPIF has allocated £900 million to 54 research facilities and centres and attracted over £2 billion of double-matched co-investment from more than 240 businesses, charities and philanthropic donors.

The aims of the fund are to:

1. Enhance the research facilities of HEIs undertaking world-leading research

2. Encourage strategic partnerships between HEIs and with other organisations active in research

3. Stimulate additional investment in university research

4. Strengthen the contribution of the research base to economic growth.

For further information on UKRPIF visit

Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth. By 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund.

£10 million has been allocated to IAAPS by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership through the Local Growth Fund, administered by the West of England Combined Authority.

The University of Bath is investing £30 million in IAAPS.