Graphene@Manchester appoints Baker as CEO

James Baker
X The Business Desk

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James Baker has been announced as chief executive for Graphene@Manchester which leads business-facing development of graphene and 2D materials at The University of Manchester.

Graphene@Manchester includes the National Graphene Institute (NGI) and the new Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC).

Baker was previously graphene business director at the NGI having joined the university in 2014.

Previously he spent 25 years in industry where, most recently, he was vice-president of technology collaboration programmes and managing director of the advanced technology centres for BAE Systems in the UK.

As chief executive, he will lead the acceleration, application and commercialisation of these new materials and technologies.

Recently the University announced that a graphene-enhanced specialist running shoe would be on-sale later this year after research collaboration with British sportswear brand inov-8. Laboratory tests have shown that the rubber outsoles of these shoes, are stronger, more stretchy and more resistant to wear thanks to the incorporation of graphene.

This year will see the opening of the GEIC housed in the recently named ‘Masdar Building’, named after the Abu Dhabi-based clean energy and renewable energy company and key funders of the GEIC building.

The GEIC will complement the existing NGI to create a critical mass of graphene expertise made up of scientists, engineers, innovators and industrialists.

Baker said: “I am delighted with what we have achieved in graphene research and commercialisation here in Manchester to date. We are now developing the next phase of the graphene story in our city with the imminent opening of the GEIC.”

Professor Luke Georghiou, deputy president and deputy vice-chancellor of The University of Manchester said: “James’ wealth of experience and background in industry has been vital for attracting major commercial companies to work with the University on exciting graphene and 2D materials projects.”

The GEIC is set to officially open later in 2018. The building is funded by Masdar, the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), Innovate UK, European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Local Growth Fund.