School of Engineering

Staff Profile

Professor Volker Pickert

Professor of Power Electronics



Prof Pickert studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Science and Technology Aachen, Germany and the University of Cambridge, UK. During his study time in Aachen he worked for three years as a student assistant in the Institute of Automotive Systems, in the field of hybrid electric vehicles. After the completion of his studies Prof Pickert received a three year PhD schoolarship from the Research Comittee of Newcastle University for research in the field of power electronics. Following his Ph.D. he spent six years in industry before returning to academia. From 1998 to 1999 he worked as an application engineer and later as product manager for Semikron International. From 1999 to 2003 he worked in the research and development department within the Volkswagen Group. As a group leader for the eletric power drive trains for electric vehicles he was responsible for power electronic systems, electric drives and vehicle electrical systems for electric-, hybrid- and fuel cell vehicles. In October 2003 Prof Pickert was appointed as Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University and he became Professor of Power Electronics in 2011.


  • Current position: Prof of Power Electronics, School of Electrical and Electronic and Engineering, Newcastle University, UK.
  • Research areas: power electronics for automotive applications, thermal management, energy management and energy storage.
  • Leadership demonstrated in managing projects with international partners both in the automotive industry and academia.
  • 6 years industrial experience in the automotive sector and power semiconductor sector.
  • 9 years academic experience.
  • Total value of research grants and contracts at Newcastle University over 9 years: ~£8.1M, including 3 major EPSRC grants and 5 TSB grants, allowing the University to employ 8 postdoctoral research associates and research technicians.
  • Co-author of 1 book (IET publishing).
  • Author/Co-author of 90 publications in transactions of learned societies, refereed international conference papers, workshops and tutorials (including 5 invited papers).
  • Statements given in television, radio, internet news or news papers.
  • Pi/Ci of 9 industrial fed consultancy activities.
  • Conference chairman for the Power Electronics, Drives and Machines conference at Brighton in April 2010 with 320 delegates from 32 countries.
  • Theme Leader Greener Transport at Transport Newcastle network.
  • Supervised successfully 3 RA’s, 9 PhD and ENGDOC students. Supervise at the moment 5RAs and 10 PhD and ENGDOC students.
  • The outcome of my research work on thermal management has been exploited by one major industrial drives company in the UK. It is expected that every unit manufactured will make use the new technology developed allowing the company to expand their leadership in industrial drives.
  • Responsible for setting up the Industrial Project guideline handbook for Newcastle University.
  • I was the Degree Programme Director from 2003 to 2011 for the MSc Electrical Power programme. I managed that the MSc programme has become the largest programme within the School and the 3rd largest within the Faculty.


Dipl. -Ing.


3 years - Student assistant at the Institute for Automotive Systems (IKA). Worked on hybrid electric power drive trains (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Juergen Helling and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Reinhard Ludes).

6 months - Industrial placements at Volkswagen, ANT Communications and Otto Turnier & Sohn. Various projects in metal working, PCB designs, PLC programming and maintenance of machines.

1998-1999 - Application engineer and product manager at Semikron International, Nuremberg, Germany.

  • Responsible for the power module MiniSkiip.

2000-2003 - Group leader “Electric Power Drive Trains” at the R&D department for electric and fuel cell vehicles at Volkswagen, Wolfsburg, Germany.

       ●    Supervised 5 engineers

       ●    Responsible for the development of power electronic components and drives

       ●    Responsible for energy management




German, English


Volker is head of the Electrical Power research group and his profile can be viewed on Google Scholar.


Member IET      2003

Member IEEE    2003


01/1994           I was the 1st exchange student between the Institute of Power Electronics and Electric Drives,  RWTH Aachen University and the Department of Electrical Engineering, Cambridge University.

09/1994            Received a full PhD studentship from the Newcastle University Research Council.


2002                 Member of the European Standardization Group for emissions measurements of hybrid electric vehicles.

2005                 Royal Society of Chemistry, White paper on future power drive trains.

2008-2010         One North East think-tank group for future regional development.

2009                 IET Technical Advisor for TTXGP - World's First Zero Carbon, Clean Emission Electric Bike Grand Prix.

2009-                Performance Test Track Steering Committee.

2010-                IET Power Generation, Conversion and Utilisation (PGCU) professional network Executive Team.

2010                 IET Safety Aspects of Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Steering Group.

2010-2011         NMI Power Electronics Strategy Group on the White paper “Power Electronics – The UK Strategy” for Mark Prisk, Minister of State for Business and Enterprise.

2011-                North East representative for the Automotive Interest Group at Business, Innovation and Skills/Local Enterprise Partnerships (BIS/LEP).


2003-2004         Grundfos, Design of a water pump drive.

2004-2006         CPD course, MSc Advanced Power Electronic Devices (e learning)

11/2006            European Centre for Power Electronics, Technology Study - Fault tolerant power electronics systems.

01/2007            Siemens, Technology Study - Power JFETs in Power Electronics and Fault-Tolerant Power Electronic Systems.

06/2007            Control Techniques, Design studies on dc-drives.

2007-2008         Aisin Seiki, Cooling technology review for hybrid electric vehicles.

05/2008            iti Energy, Review of thermal management techniques for energy storage systems in electric vehicles.

05/2008            iti Energy, Review of electric vehicle ancillary system and its management.

01/2009            South East England DoE, Grant assessment on hybrid electric drive train.

06/2011-01/2012 HiLTech Systems Ltd., JSR, JM Energy, Development of 60V Li-Ion capacitor module.


I have experience of supervising Ph.D. students and RA’s. At Newcastle University I supervised the following persons during their Ph.D. studies / RA activities.

Dr M Musallam (2005),                           Real time power electronic device junction temperature estimation and control, now RA at Nottingham University.

Dr. Len Pritchard (2008),                         RA on heatsink designs for automotive applications. During the project Len become seriously ill and consequently passed away.

Dr. A.O. Elbkosh (2009)                         Nonlinear analysis and control of DC-DC converters, now Lecturer at the Higher Education in Libya.

Dr. A. Ambusaidi (2010)                         Fault Tolerant Multilevel Step-down DC/DC Converters, now Lecturer at the Nizwa College of Technology, Oman.

Dr. D. Kalpaktsoglou (2010)                    Power factor correction for stand alone wave energy converters, now servicing in the Greek army.

Dr. C Huifeng (2010)                               Correcting the effect of thermal ageing for real-time power device temperature estimators, now with Siemens Ltd. China.

Dr. G. James (2010)                               Thermal protection of power electronic switching devices, now with Control Techniques Ltd.

Dr. A. Ayob (2010),                                Assessment of single-phase SRM converters for low power applications, now Lecturer at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Dr. A. Al-Busaidi (2011)                          A Generator-set for series Hybrid Electric Vehicles operating at High Output Voltages, now Lecturer at Nizwa College of Technology, Oman

I am currently supervising as principal supervisor:

  • 5 Research Associate
  • 10 Research Students (EngD’s & PhD’s)


  • Voltage Balancer Circuits for Supercapacitors
  • Sponsor: EPSRC
  • Partners: Tsinghua, Zhejiang, Chongqing, Nanjing, Sichuan, Durham, Warwick, Nottingham and Edinburgh Universities
High Voltage Auxiliary Drives for Hybrid Trucks
  • Sponsor TSB, Leyand Trucks and Eaton Power Drive Train
Thermal management for Li-Ion batteries
  • Sponsor: EPSRC EngD & Comesys Ltd
Optimized traction topologies for fuel cell vehicles
  • Sponsor: EPSRC DTA
Efficiency optimisation of power drive trains using cost functions
  • Sponsor: EPSRC DTA & Ricardo
Virtual Fuel Cell
  • Sponsor: EPSRC EngD & Hiltech Developments Ltd.
On-line Lifetime Estimator for Power Semiconductor Devices for Electric Vehicles
  • Sponsor: ORS & Henry Lester Trust
Optimization of switched variable capacitors for voltage and frequency fluctuations
  • Sponsor: Iranian Government
Multilevel Current Source Inverters
  • Sponsor: Malaysian Government




A.      Conference chairman


  • IET Power Electronics, Machines and Drives Conference (PEMD), Brighton, April 2010 (320 delegates from 32 countries).
  • IET conference workshop on “Electric Vehicles – the journey from power station to wheel“, Birmingham, August 2011 (90 delegates from 11 countries)

B.      Organising and Steering Committees


·         18th International Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition (EVS18), Berlin, October 2000.

·         IET Power Electronics, Machines and Drives Conference (PEMD), Dublin, April 2006.

·         2nd European Ele-Drive Transportation Conference (EET), Brussels, May 2007.

·         Power Conversion Intelligent Motion, (PCIM), Nuremberg, May 2007.

·         IET Power Electronics, Machines and Drives Conference (PEMD), York, May 2008, (Conference Vice Chairman).

·         Power Conversion Intelligent Motion, (PCIM), Nuremberg, May 2008.

·         3rd IET Hybrid and Eco-Friendly Vehicles Conference 2008, Warwick, December 2008.

·         Power Conversion Intelligent Motion, (PCIM), Nuremberg, May 2009.

·         IEEE Vehicle Power and Propulsion Conference, (VPPC), Dearborn, Sep. 2009.

·         Power Conversion Intelligent Motion, (PCIM), Nuremberg, May 2010.

·         6th International Conference on Integrated Power Electronics Systems, (CIPS), Nuremberg, March 2010.

·         Power Conversion Intelligent Motion, (PCIM), Nuremberg, May 2011.

·         14th European Conference on Power Electronics and Applications (EPE), Birmingham, August/September 2011.

·         7th International Conference on Integrated Power Electronics Systems, (CIPS), Nuremberg, March 2012.


C.         Session chair


·         Power Electronics, Machines and Drives Conference (PEMD), Dublin, April 2006.

·         2nd European Ele-Drive Transportation Conference (EET), Brussels, May 2007.

·         Power Electronics, Machines and Drives Conference (PEMD), York, May 2008.

·         Power Conversion Intelligent Motion, (PCIM), Nuremberg, May 2009.

  •   Power Conversion Intelligent Motion, (PCIM), Nuremberg, May 2011.
  •   14th European Conference on Power Electronics and Applications (EPE), Birmingham, August/September   2011.


D.         Invited member for discussion panels


·       3rd IET Conference on Automotive Electronics, Warwick, June 2007.

·       Hybrid and Eco-Friendly Vehicles Conference 2008, Warwick, December 2008.




I regularly serve as a reviewer for the following journals:


Springer Publishing House --- IET Proceedings Circuits, Devices & Systems  --- IET Proceedings Electric Power Applications  --- IET Proceedings Power Electronics --- IET Electronic Letters --- IET Power Electronics, Machines and Drives Conference (PEMD) --- IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems II --- IEEE Vehicle Power Propulsion Conference (VPPC) --- IEEE Industrial Electronics Society Conference (IECON) --- IEEE International Symposium on Industrial Electronics Conference (ISIE) --- IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics --- Power Conversion Intelligent Motion (PCIM) --- International Universities' Power Engineering Conference (UPEC) --- The International Journal for Computation and Mathematics in Electrical and Electronic Engineering (COMPEL) --- Institution of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) --- International Journal of the Federation of European Simulation Societies (EUROSIM) --- International Journal of Electrical Engineering Education (IJEEE)


I review proposals from:


  • Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC)
  • Qatar National Research Foundations

and business plans from industries asking for financial support from regional development agencies or other funding organisations.


Undergraduate Teaching

• EEE3003 Power Electronics Undergraduate Programme
• EEE4091 UG Project
• EEE4008 ECAD
• EEE4095 Study Project

Postgraduate Teaching

• EEE8012 Power Electronics Master Programme
• EEE8074 MSc coursework