Development & Alumni Relations Office 


28 August 2017

Queen’s graduate Mike Brown MVO, Commissioner of Transport for London, has returned to his alma mater (24.08.17) to visit the innovative William Wright Technology Centre (W-Tech) at Queen’s and to address the University’s Chief Executives’ Club.

The visit took place at the new research centre at 50 Malone Road. Named after honorary graduate Dr William Wright CBE, the Centre is part of Queen’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

The project is a joint venture between the Wrights Group, which has currently invested £300,000 in the Centre – a figure that is also being matched by Queen’s University – and a potential investment of more than £6m. 

Later in the day Mr Brown addressed the Chief Executives’ Club at Queen’s in a lecture entitled ‘The Challenges Facing Public Transport’ held in the Canada Room/Council Chamber in the Lanyon Building.  

The W-Tech Centre is being developed as a showpiece centre of excellence with world-leading research. Its key aim is to promote research and advanced engineering to facilitate the creation and development of technologies suitable for today’s bus industry, particularly as these needs become increasingly complex.

Over the next five years, the Centre will gradually expand to around thirty full-time staff of research PhD students and post-doctoral researchers, supported by academic experts within Queen’s. A team of employees is already working on a range of research projects including drive cycle modelling, thermal modelling, vibration-related fatigue and lifecycle analysis, including topics such as the cost of manufacturing, maintenance and operation. Future steering and suspension based research and development are also covered.

Professor Roy Douglas from Queen’s commented: “We are delighted to officially welcome Mike Brown from Transport for London to the William Wright Technology Centre, and to highlight the innovative work that is taking place here in Belfast. Collaborations such as these continue to deliver world-class research that brings commercial, economic and societal benefits to Northern Ireland and further afield.”

Speaking on behalf of Wrights Group, Mark Nodder OBE, Chairman and CEO said: “Mike Brown’s visit to the William Wright Technology Centre marks another significant investment and milestone in our relationship with Queen’s University.

“The Centre’s important work helps us to not only attract and nurture the best engineering talent, its cutting edge research will also lead to the identification of projects that will ultimately become viable commercial developments.

“All parties benefit from industry and academia working together and, with its dedicated premises now in place, the W-Tech Centre will undoubtedly go a long way to the creation of even better and cleaner environmental technology for advanced passenger transport, both in the UK and across the globe.”

Mike Brown MVO, Commissioner of Transport for London, said: “Wrights Group and Queen’s University Belfast have been collaborating on individual research projects for over 20 years, helping to drive forward innovation and supporting young engineers. It was an honour to officially visit the Centre and I look forward to seeing the positive impact this partnership will make on the industry through ground-breaking research.”

Mike, who lives in Wimbledon, has a degree in Economics and an MBA from Queen's. After graduation he joined food firm Ranks Hovis McDougall as a graduate trainee before moving to London Underground in 1989. Successfully working his way up the management ladder, in 2003 he became chief operating officer.

He left London Underground in 2008 to join BAA as Heathrow Airport's managing director. In 2010 he returned to Transport for London to become Managing Director of London Underground and Rail. In 2015 he was named as new Transport Commissioner for London.

Credited with restoring Tube services after 7/7 attacks, and instrumental in keeping London moving during the 2012 Olympic Games, Mike was appointed to the Royal Victorian Order for getting the Tube to run overnight during the Queen's Golden Jubilee the same year.

Media inquiries to Emma Gallagher at Queen’s University Communications Office tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5384.

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Caption (L-R): Mike Brown MVO, Claire McAlinden, Director of Operations, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Queen's, Mark Nodder OBE, Dr William Wright CBE, Professor Roy Douglas and Ian Paisley MP.








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