Catapult CEO appointed as University Honorary Professor

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The University of Strathclyde has appointed Dick Elsy, the recently retired Chief Executive Officer of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult, as an Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Engineering.

Professor Elsy will bring his expertise to Scotland’s largest Faculty of Engineering on issues relating to engineering innovation and advanced manufacturing.

The University is renowned for setting new standards in manufacturing and design, and is home to the Advanced Forming Research Centre and the Lightweight Manufacturing Centre.

It is also the anchor university for the new National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, which is helping to make companies more competitive and boost the skills of the current and future workforce.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Strathclyde’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, said: “Dick has provided exemplary leadership in every organisation he has worked in and to industry and academia both in the UK and Germany. I am delighted he will be joining us as an Honorary Professor.

“His vast experience in engineering technology and innovation will be invaluable for our students and academic staff and he will be advising us in our progress in advanced manufacturing strategy.”

Global leader

Professor Elsy CBE, FREng, is interim chairman of AB Dynamics plc a global leader in automotive vehicle testing systems and is a non-executive director of AWE plc. He recently retired as the Chief Executive of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, the go-to place for advanced manufacturing technology in the UK. With over £800 million of assets, supporting both industry and academia, it represents the greatest concentration of advanced manufacturing research capability in Europe. The Catapult provides support for research carried out in the University’s Advanced Forming Research Centre, which is a UK Catapult Hub. 

Professor Elsy has also been a key contributor in developing the strategy for the creation of the new National Manufacturing Institute Scotland which will be run by Strathclyde and supported through the Catapult programmes.

The institute’s new building, which is set to open in 2022, will house a digitalised ‘factory of the future’, skills academy and collaboration hub that will bring manufacturers together to work on the development of innovative manufacturing technologies and products. It will support firms of all sizes and from all sectors across the country, and internationally, to innovate and grow their businesses in the global market.

Prof Elsy is a career veteran from the automotive industry. He started his career at Land Rover as one of the key project team members on the original Discovery programme after which he became a member of the Board from where he led the creation, development, and manufacture of the Freelander. He then spent a period of time with BMW in Munich leading a major car programme before becoming Product Development Director at Jaguar Cars Limited where he led the introduction of several new car programmes and the transition to all aluminium vehicle construction.

Prof Elsy takes a keen interest in science and engineering innovation at a national level as a member of the Automotive Council’s Technology group and as a council member of the Science and Facilities Technology Council.

He is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a holder of its Silver Medal.  He was recognised for his contribution to manufacturing and technology in the UK with a CBE in 2018.

In 2020, Prof Elsy chaired the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium, a collection of significant industrial and engineering partners from across the UK which manufactured and delivered over 13,000 ventilators for the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic.