James Baker is the 2D materials commercialisation champion at the Henry Royce Institute and CEO of Graphene@Manchester.
The Royce is the UK’s national body based in Manchester for research and innovation in advanced materials – and it is supported by the Graphene@Manchester community which includes world-leading experts and research facilities.
Manchester therefore leads the world in graphene research and James heads the business-facing development of graphene and 2D materials – including the acceleration, application and commercialisation of these new materials and technologies.
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) will open later this year. 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.
Before joining the University in 2014, James 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.
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 his 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, originally as Business Director Graphene in 2014. In this role he looked to develop 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 Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov.
James is a chartered engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.