Update to the APC Spokes

One of the APC objectives is to deliver a nationwide network of propulsion capability through the APC Hub, Spokes and supporting organisations – building a ‘Propulsion Nation‘.  At the core of Propulsion Nation is the APC Hub and Spoke model. The Hub provides the headquarters and administrative centre for the organisation as well as the National Propulsion Showcase, and the Spokes providing technical capability in key propulsion technologies and geographic coverage through the technical communities allied to the spoke.

The Spokes are focused on the Automotive Council’s key strategic technologies or allied enabling technologies.  Spokes are free of commercial conflicts and agree, through a Memorandum of Understanding with the APC, to be open and inclusive, to encourage collaboration and engagement, to be a focus for regular events and activities, and to represent the community, engaging with other organisations which wish to join the wider community where appropriate.

An invitation for Expressions of Interest in being a Spoke was announced last year, and a number of organisations came forward and were assessed.  The area that generated the most interest was Internal Combustion Engines (ICE), with several organisations and universities putting themselves forward to lead the UK academic and industrial communities with a shared interest in ICE.

Through discussion with the Automotive Council Technology Group and the APC Advisory Group it was felt that for ICE the area of interest was too wide for a single Spoke, and the technology area needed to be broken down into two or more Spokes to provide the requisite technical focus and coverage.  The exercise to determine the most appropriate split was undertaken by the Automotive Council Technology Group through the R&D workstream.  The conclusion of this work is that there should be two Spokes to cover the core areas of ICE.  The division in specialism between these two Spokes will be:

  • Thermal Efficiency  (combustion and emissions)
  • System Efficiency (boosting, heat-to-power, loss reduction)

With a clear view of the requirement, it is now possible to re-establish the process for ICE Spoke selection.  Organisations that were previously assessed and shortlisted will be automatically considered again in the light of the new guidance, and these organisations don’t need to do anything if the information held by the APC is current.  However, organisations in this category are invited to update their submissions, if appropriate, to ensure that the APC is working from the most current data available.

Organisations that were not previously engaged, but that feel they have the capability to lead the UK academic and industrial community in either of the above ICE specialisms are encouraged to contact the APC to register their interest in being assessed as an APC Spoke.  Spoke assessments are confidential and undertaken by independent advisors to the APC.  The advisors that have been involved in ICE assessments will be brought together in September to reach a final recommendation, so all assessments must be completed by the end of August.  Organisations in this category are encouraged to contact the APC as quickly as possible to ensure that assessments can be scheduled.

The Spokes should be the natural focus for co-ordinating activity in the technology area, but their primary purpose is to be ‘a conduit to a community’.  If you have an organisational capability in ICE, but believe, for whatever reason, that your organisation may not be appropriate to lead the community you should still be part of the Spoke community. In this case, you are encouraged to make contact with the APC and register your interest.  Your details will be passed to the successful Spoke, once announced, to ensure you are recognised as an integral part of the community and kept up to date with developments.

In addition to those Spokes already announced and the ICE Spoke selection process detailed above, further Spokes will be announced in the key strategic and allied technology areas over the coming months. If your organisation has not registered with the APC and has the capability to lead a technology community as a Spoke you are encouraged to contact the APC as soon as possible.

Since we aim to have all the current key technology Spokes announced by the end of 2015, closure for ICE Spoke interest will be as detailed above (assessment by the end of August) and Expressions of Interest for Spokes in the other key strategic and allied technologies will have to close by the end of September.