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Craig Callum, ex-Lego, to build up Coventry Uni’s NTDC

14 December 2018 | by Chris Maillard

Moving on from the world-renowned brick construction set brand, Craig Callum has taken on the challenge of building a new generation of designers, by taking up the role of Director at Coventry University’s National Transport Design Centre (NTDC).

Callum, himself a Coventry graduate from the 2006 crop, had a wide-ranging design career after graduating, including designing amphibious vehicles for Gibbs Technologies and working at Renault’s commercial transport division before moving to Lego as Design Manager, working on the firm’s car-based Speed Champions range. We recently profiled him at some length [subscriber content].

The NTDC, which opened in 2017, forms part of Coventry University’s Institute for Future Transport and Cities, and has a fast-expanding portfolio of projects and collaborations with local and national business.

The centre recently joined forces with Uber Elevate to help develop flying taxis, and has linked up with Williams Advanced Engineering to research platooning in connected vehicles. Other initiatives at the centre include analyses of how train interiors could be adapted to help passengers carrying luggage, and how occupants could most effectively be extracted from crashed cars – both using the university’s motion capture technology.

The NTDC is also equipped with a six-metre 3D power wall and an advanced clay-milling facility. F1 team Williams’ engineering services division and Coventry firm CAD CAM Automotive (CCA) are among companies to have staff based at the centre.

“It’s really exciting for me to be back,” said Callum, “having studied automotive design here, and to be in a position to take forward the centre’s exciting vision for bringing together the academic world with the industry.

“The UK, and especially Coventry, have always been at the forefront of design, research and development in the transport industry. The university grew up alongside the car industry over the past century, so there’s a shared heritage and expertise which is embodied in the National Transport Design Centre.”

We’ve got a visit lined up as soon as the new Director has found his feet (and the coffee machine) so look out for a full tour of the facility early in the New Year.