Dr Helen Finch
Dr Helen Finch is responsible for External Technical Affairs for Jaguar Land Rover’s Research group, including engagement on Innovation with industry bodies and business groups, collaborative activities, academic partnerships, and funding opportunities.
Helen graduated in Computer Systems Engineering from The University of Sussex and then went on to gain a Doctor of Philosophy degree for research into VLSI Architectures for CGI. Several years of further academic research and undergraduate teaching were followed by a move to the semiconductor industry in which Helen was active for more than 2 decades, firstly as a microelectronics design engineer and then later as a technical program manager. She has worked for Pioneer, ST Microelectronics and Infineon where she led chip designs in a variety of application areas including real-time graphics, video encoding/decoding, baseband communication, smart card security and automotive.
In recent years she has taken a leading role in collaborative engagement through funded projects, and in 2011 she built a European consortium of 24 industry and academic partners which led to a successful bid for a €20M project to address the application of functional safety for electronics and electrical systems across the automotive supply chain.
Helen is a member of the EPSRC ‘Manufacturing the Future’ Strategic Advisory Team, a board member of Birmingham Science City, and sits on a variety of academic and collaborative advisory boards.
The R&D and Innovation landscape at Jaguar Land Rover covers a spectrum from early-stage, blue-sky research through to commercialisation in product development for manufacture. Universities form a critical part of this eco-system and we engage currently with more than 30 institutions. Our approach to this engagement strikes balances at a number of levels: strategic (long-term, multiple disciplines) versus tactical (targeted technical specialisms); curiosity-driven versus challenge-led; local versus international. We have a particularly fruitful relationship with WMG at Warwick for example, our research department being located on campus with engineers and researchers working closely together, but we also have a research presence on the other side of the world in MIT Media Labs.
Jaguar Land Rover enjoys a strategic partnership with the EPSRC through which we have co-funded two major research programmes working with group of universities on shared challenges. We believe that this approach gives both effective and efficient leverage of the UK’s academic base in a focussed and coordinated way to develop critical mass and to really enhance national capability.
We have recently joined a strategic research alliance with Harvard University along with three other Tata companies; this exploits the shared ethos of using technology to solve society’s big challenges and will develop both technologies and skills through leadership development with Harvard Business School.