Sir Joseph Swan Centre for Energy Research

Staff Profile

Professor Barrie Mecrow

FREng, Professor of Electrical Power



I have been a member of the Power Electronics, Drives and Machines group at the University of Newcastle since 1987 and was awarded a chair in 1998.
Before commencing upon my academic career I was a design engineer at NEI Parsons, who manufacture turbine generators.

I have had various roles within the university, incluyding that of head of the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering from 2012-2017.

I have numerous industrial links, including being the advisor to Rolls-Royce on electrical machines and technical advisors to both Dyson and Protean Electric.


Barrie is a member of the Electrical Power research group and his profile can be viewed on Google Scholar.

Research Interests

My main research interests lie in novel electrical machines, power electronic controllers and electromagnetics. I have a particular interest in novel forms of switched reluctance machine and have pioneered work on SRMs with fully pitched windings and SRMs with segmental rotors.

I have led much of the novel work on fault tolerant electrical machines and drives for safety critical systems. In this work we are increasing system reliability through redundancy and fault tolerance within the electrical machine and power electronic converter. Most of this work is conducted in collaboration with Aerospace companies, including UTAS, BAE Systems and Airbus.

A large proportion of my research is in collaboration with industry. For example, I coordinate a large Dyson presence within our school.  The Dyson Research Centre has a combination of Dyson staff and Dyson funded PhD students, researching both magnetics and power electronics. I also have PhD students funded by Protean Electric, a manufacturer of direct drive in-wheel motors for high performance vehicles, and also sit on their technical advisory board.

Potential PhD Research Projects


  • Novel switched and synchronous machines
  • High performance permanent magnet machines
  • Novel drive topologies
  • Fault tolerant drives
  • Aerospace actuation systems
  • Electric vehicle traction motors
The School website has more information on research degrees and funding.


Current Work

Current research ranges from entirely blue sky work, funded by EPSRC, in which we are researching speculative low cost electrical drives and machines, though to exciting applied research in which we are working closely with industry to produce new, novel electrical systems. Challenges range from cost driven elements in consumer products through to reliability issues in aerospace and automotive drives, with increased efficiency becoming an increasingly important aspect.  However, the development and introduction of new technology is equally essential in all cases.

Esteem Indicators

Paper prizes awarded from the IEE and IEEE for reluctance motor and fault tolerant research.

I hold a number of patents in the field of electrical machines.

I have been external examiner of PhDs throughout the UK and Europe.

I have been undergraduate course external examiner at the Loughborough University, the Robert Gordon Institute  and Nottingham University. I have also been MSc course external examiner at Manchester University and Nottingham University.

I am a member of the Rolls Royce Electrical, Control Systems and Electronics Advisory Board.


We receive funding from a range of sources, including EPSRC, who have awarded two platform grants, TSB and EU and a huge range of industrial companies. I lead the Drives theme within the UK Underpinning Power Electronics Initiative.


Undergraduate Teaching

I teach undergraduate courses as follows:

Stage IV Design of Machines and Drives

Postgraduate Teaching

MSc course on Design of Machines and Drives