James Baker

Following graduation, James started his career working for Pilkington Optronics based in North Wales were he undertook a number of roles in the production of electro-optical assemblies and products for the aerospace, defence and space sectors. After 10 years he moved to GEC Marconi which then became BAE Systems following the merger with British Aerospace and responsibilities included a number of business management, strategy and technology roles in the BAE Systems Avionics group. In 2004 he was appointed as managing director of the Advanced Technology Centres in the UK responsible for the development of new and innovative collaborative approaches to technology development and acquisition programmes as well as being responsible for the leadership of the BAE Systems corporate technology programme and activity which involved the development and commercialisation of technologies from both within BAE Systems and its partners in academia and the supply chain.

James was a representative on the joint Industry/MoD Research and Development Group and a council member of the National Centre for Universities and Business. A strong promoter of engineering and innovation James was also responsible for setting up a partnership with UK Sport which provided technology and innovation in support of British athletes and helped in achieving a number of gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics.

James joined The University of Manchester as Business Director Graphene in 2014 were he is developing the industrial partnerships and collaborations to accelerate the commercialisation opportunities for graphene, building on the knowledge base of The University of Manchester - where graphene was first isolated by Professors Geim and Novoselov. Graphene - the so called "wonder material" could change the world with what seem endless applications and capabilities. The University of Manchester leads the world in graphene research and is one of the most important centres for commercialising the one-atom-thick material. With more than 235 researchers across a wide range of disciplines in graphene and related 2D materials, the University is home to the £61m National Graphene Institute, where academics and commercial partners work side by side to develop the graphene applications of the future. To accelerate taking products to market, the £60m Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) is set to be completed in 2018.

The GEIC will have pilot production facilities and characterisation for the industrial scale-up of graphene, as well as develop graphene and 2D materials applications. The key to graphene’s success is collaboration. The National Graphene Institute is already working with around 50 industrial partners on collaborative projects. The University is also training the graphene scientists of the future. Our Graphene NOWNANO Centre for Doctoral Training offers a select group of students the chance to work with some of the world's leading scientists on graphene and related 2D materials, as well as learning about industrial engagement.

James is a chartered engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

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