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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)


With a civil / structural engineering background, Jim was a Partner in the consulting engineering practice Gifford and Partners and Managing Director of Composite Technology Ltd in the 1980s, where he created the designs, the manufacturing processes and the team and the company that manufactured all the large wind turbine blades in the UK, now the global blade technology centre for the wind turbine company Vestas.

For the last 24 years Jim has been based in the Institute for Manufacturing in the University of Cambridge, where he has been Course Director for the Manufacturing Engineering Tripos and Leading Examiner and Tutor for the Manufacturing Leaders’ Programme and has supervised well over 300 technical development projects in companies. He is also a Director of Studies for the executive-level Cambridge Interdisciplinary Design for the Built Environment (IDBE) Course, a Tutor and Examiner for the Engineering for Sustainable Development (ESD) Course, Associate Researcher of the Energy Policy Research Group (EPRG).  He initiated and leads a Summer Academy for European Students of Industrial Engineering and Management (ESTIEM) on “Deep Entrepreneurship” and initiated and co-ordinates the European Professors of Industrial Engineering and Management (EPIEM) network.

Jim is involved in leadership training, innovative manufacturing and development projects across many industries worldwide. He has been involved with technology transfer to, and design and manufacturing development of, wind energy technology in China. He has served on the Malaysian Palm Oil Board Programme Advisory Committee and co-ordinated the development of its forward strategy recommendations in 2010. Jim is now a member of FELDA’s R&D Advisory Panel. He brings valuable experience in design and manufacturing, particularly skill-based manufacturing, to projects. 

Jim's academic interests include:

  • Ethical leadership
  • Development of skill and competence in design and manufacturing
  • Optimisation of manufacturing processes

He is a Quaker and holds a MA from the University of Cambridge, is a Chartered Engineer and a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Member of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce. He is a member of the Cambridgeshire Ecumenical Council.

PLATTS,M.J. Developing Competence and Trust: Maintaining the Heart of a Profession. Professional Ethics,11,(1),3-18 (2003)

PLATTS,M.J., Wind energy turns to bamboo. Energy Materials, 1, (2), 84-87 (June 2006)

PLATTS,M.J., TOMASEVIC,V., Developing productive relationships in civil engineering. Civil Engineering, 159, (3), 132-137 (August 2006)

PLATTS,M.J. Newton, Goethe and the Process of Perception: an approach to Design. Optics & Laser Technology, 36, (4-6), 205-209 (June-September 2006)

PLATTS,M.J., The Cambridge Manufacturing Leaders’ Programme. International Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 1, (2), 41-46 (2010)

Dr  Jim   Platts
Dr Jim Platts came to academia with 23 years' experience in industry, working on the design, development and manufacture of the large composite moulded blades for wind turbines.