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Land speed record engineer to speak at VentureFest Tees Valley

Mark Chapman (photo by Stefan Marjoram)
Mark Chapman (photo by Stefan Marjoram)

An aeronautical engineer behind The Bloodhound Project’s land-speed record attempt, will head to Teesside later this month to address crowds at VentureFest Tees Valley, the region’s innovation conference.

Mark Chapman, Engineering Director for The Bloodhound Project will speak to delegates about the importance of STEM subjects for driving jobs and skills, not only for future generations of innovators on Teesside, but the region’s current workforce.

“I’m delighted to have been asked to speak at VentureFest Tees Valley”, Mark said. “The region has real standing in the manufacturing process and engineering industries, with some truly innovative efforts coming out of both established and growing firms. As well as breaking both the sound barrier and the land-speed record, The Bloodhound Project is all about inspiring young people to seek out careers in STEM subjects, and Teesside is home to real opportunity in these areas.”

The vehicle at the centre of the project is the BLOODHOUND SSC, a supersonic car designed to cover 1 mile in just 3.6 seconds by travelling at more than 1000mph. Already, it has been tested with a series of events in Newquay at the end of 2017, reaching more than 200mph. In October 2018, the car will be shipped to a purpose-built track in South Africa where the team are targeting 500mph, an important milestone in their journey to break the land-speed record.

When completed the car will consist of 35,000 parts, many of which have been custom-designed and manufactured, with a mix of both automotive and aircraft technology. Driven by a jet engine and a rocket, it will produce more than 135,000 horsepower, six times the combined power of all Formula 1 cars on a starting grid put together.

Simon Green, Director at VentureFest Tees Valley, said: “VentureFest is all about inspiring greatness through innovation, and the BLOODHOUND SSC is a standout example of how a big idea can set in motion a stream of innovation that could ultimately impact on a whole range of industrial sectors. Mark is a great addition to our already impressive line-up of national and local speakers and I’m looking forward to hearing him share his experience of working on a truly unique project.”

Other VentureFest Tees Valley speakers already announced, include Tim Ryan, the head of pioneering life-sciences company, Epigem; Sharon Lane, Managing Director of Skelton-based manufacturing firm Tees Components; Steph Morris, Regional Manager at Innovate UK; Bill Morrow, Founder of Angels Den; and Mark Wilcockson, Senior Relationship Manager for the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund from the British Business Bank.

Chairing the keynote sessions will be Jane Turner, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Teesside University, and representing the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership will be Graham Robb, founding partner of Recognition PR.

VentureFest Tees Valley is free to attend and takes place on Tuesday 22 May, 2018 at Wynyard Hall, registration is open now at www.venturefest.tv.

The event brings together businesses, investors and innovators from across the Tees Valley to share ideas, explore opportunities, grow new networks and raise investment. The day is all about giving businesses access to practical tools, ideas and expertise that can accelerate innovation, leading to growth and employment opportunities.

VentureFest Tees Valley’s founding partners are Innovate Tees Valley (the innovation support programme run by Teesside University, NEPIC, the Materials Processing Institute and Digital City), Tees Valley Combined Authority and the Knowledge Transfer Network.

The event receives funding from the £6.5m Innovate Tees Valley programme, led by Teesside University with partners NEPIC, the Materials Processing Institute and Digital City and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.