Integrating next generation propulsion systems to the UK’s automotive industry

The Digital Engineering and Test Centre (DETC) is a unique joint industry-academic centre of excellence within the Loughborough University London Campus in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. We develop and use virtual engineering tools and techniques to accelerate the development, test and manufacture of automotive propulsion systems. As an Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) spoke, DETC also brings specific functional, technological and regional capability to the APC network helping to deliver the reality of a Propulsion Nation.

Our work is driven by industry needs and focused on advanced propulsion technology in the UK. We help solve some of the upcoming automotive challenges in the fields of design; development; manufacturing; testing; and validation and verification.

The DETC aims to put the UK at the forefront of product and manufacturing R&D and will enhance UK competitiveness through the application of rapidly evolving virtual engineering technology. The Centre will provide both critical mass and a catalyst for inward investment; it will also benefit from synergies with London’s wider digital economy.

The distinctive philosophy of the DETC is truly collaborative with an inclusive ‘affiliation’ model of membership. It is an asset for the entire UK automotive industry and is open to all.

Offices are modern - fitted with laboratory facilities and are populated by academics (PhD level), co-located industry experts, and DETC core staff. This is a flexible, high-tech environment that includes development facilities, visualisation tools, demonstration displays, and links to the ‘Infinity’ high-power computer cluster and global internet connection, hosted by Loughborough University London.

Meet the Team Behind DETC

James Kirby


James holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Hull and has experience developing and testing stirling engine technology.

James has worked with industry experts from both business and academia developing a comprehensive roadmap for DETC encompassing aspects of virtual engineering, augmented reality and gamification.

Simone Pereira


Simone holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from Queen Mary, University of London.

Simone supports the delivery of projects such as the Virtually Connected Hybrid Vehicle and other DETC collaborative research initiatives through her technical project management and monitoring skills.

Simone previously worked on development of a digital roadmap for the UK automotive industry.

Samuele De Guido

Technical Lead

After completing his studies in Italy - MSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Parma - Samuele spent 7 years in the Netherlands gaining both academic and industry experience.

From November 2012, he worked as a Mechanical Design Engineer for ASML, one of the leading companies in the semiconductor industry. He joined DETC in September 2016. Areas of expertise include Simulation (FEA) and Optimisation. He also has experience with leading small teams.

Gorka Garcia

Technical Lead

Gorka originally comes from San Sebastian, Spain and holds an Industrial Engineering degree from the University of the Basque Country, where he specialised in Electronics Engineering.

Gorka has worked in manufacturing research for over 3 years, collaborating in and managing funded R&D projects to bring innovative solutions and processes to the automotive industry, as well as helping to author proposals for Innovate UK and Horizon 2020 calls.

At DETC, he oversees engagement with companies (from start-ups and SMEs to OEMs and academic institutions) to bring developments from gaming and digital to the automotive manufacturing sector.

He also manages the metrics and KPIs defined for DETC by the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Laura Castro


Laura is a Mechanical Engineering student at University of Vigo, Spain. For her bachelor degree, she participated in the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA, where she was involved in renewal energy and heat transfer projects.

For her thesis, she is studying the condensation process in a refrigeration cycle. Laura is currently working in aspects related with virtual reality and gamification at the DETC.

Edurne Arteta


Edurne is an Intern Engineer at Digital Engineering and Test Centre. She holds an Industrial Engineering degree by the University of the Basque Country, where she specialised in Mechanical Engineering.

Edurne completed her MSc studies in Product Design and Manufacturing in the Polytechnic University of Turin, where she developed her final project focused on the implementation of Collaborative Robots (Cobots) for hybrid workspace applications. She is currently working on virtual product development at the DETC.

Mohamed Marei

Coventry University PHD

Mohamed is a PhD student at Coventry University, based at the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering. Mohamed received his MEng in Mechatronic and Robotic Engineering from the University of Sheffield in 2016.

His current PhD focuses on the development of a pilot Digital Twin for real-time production line monitoring and optimization. Mohamed's other research interests include Industry 4.0 technologies, automation, and robotics.

Lara Rasha


During her MEng final year degree in Chemical Engineering at University College London (UCL), Lara fuel cells in researching at the Electrochemical Innovation Lab (EIL).

Lara’s interest in the application of fuel cells into a range of energy applications has expanded into a collaborated PhD with UCL and DETC, focused on thermal management of automotive fuel cell stacks.

Surojit Sen

University of Notingham PHD

Surojit is a PhD student in the University of Nottingham engaged in the Virtually Connected Hybrid Vehicle (VCHV) project. His core interests lie in electrified automotive powertrain and digital simulation.

He completed his MSc degree in 2016 in the field of Mechanical engineering from the University of Nottingham after 2 years of professional experience as a business risk consultant for an international bank.

Wen Gu

Loughborough University PHD

Wen is a PhD student currently working on the VCHV project. He graduated from Loughborough University in 2016 with an MSc Engineering degree, focusing his final project on design cycle based air fuel ratio and blow-through estimator.

His PhD project is focused on the development of a supervisory controller for a geographically distributed hybrid vehicle.

Shirine El Zaatari

Coventry University PHD

Shirine is currently a PhD student at Coventry University working on the DETC Lite Collaborative Robot (Cobot) project. She recently graduated from the American University of Beirut with a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a focus in robotics.

Shirine’s research focuses on driving industrial collaborative robots towards becoming more autonomous and adaptable using the state-of-the-art CV and ML.

Adrià Ametller

University of Bath PHD

Adrià is a doctoral researcher working within the VCHV project at the University of Bath. Prior to joining the University in October 2017 he worked in industry roles across a number of sectors including: automotive, renewable energies, and waste management.

Through these positions, Adrià gained extensive engineering and project management experience and expertise in the design and control of complex processes within the hybridised energy research area.

Amongst the projects with which he has been involved is the Termosolar Borges power plant. This power station was the first of its type to combine the energy harnessed from the sun with the energy obtained from the combustion of biomass.

One of his latter projects before joining the University was the concept design of a hybrid waste collection truck. Adrià holds a MSc in Industrial Engineering from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya.

Siamand Mostafavi

Newcastle University PhD

In 2016, Siamand Mostafavi graduated from Newcastle University in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. During his undergrad, he took Formula Student electric machine design as his final year project.

As a member of Newcastle University Formula Student team, he was able to successfully design a synchronous permanent magnet motor which had an exclusive single piece rotor design. He was also awarded the best poster presenter for his final project by the IET.

Siamand undertook a job as a member of research and development department in a well-known lighting company in Iran, Namanoor Asia, where he also worked as purchase analyst. He is currently a PhD student in Newcastle University working on Virtually Connected Hybrid Vehicle (VCHV) project.

Our Advisory Board

David Pearson

Alan Rankin
CEO Target 3D

Chris Brace
Deputy Director of the Powertrain Vehicle Research Centre University of Bath

Andrew West
Professor of Intelligent Systems Loughborough University London

Graham Hoare
Director of Global Vehicle Evaluation & Verification Ford Product Development Ford Motor Company

Garry Wilson
Director / Business Development Advanced Propulsion Centre

Mark Mathieson
Chief Engineer Powertrain Vehicle Research Centre McLaren Automotive

Leslie Lee
Executive Director High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute

Mike Caine
Dean Loughborough University London

Matthias Wellers
Managing Director AVL Powertrain UK

Steven Wood
Senior Manager / Commercial Digital Catapult

Neville Jackson
Chief Technology & Innovation Officer Ricardo