The University Transformer Research Alliance (UTRA) was established in 2019 by internationally leading transformer research groups from the UK, Germany, Australia and China. The aim is to develop a strategy to advance transformer research in alignment with low carbon Energy requirements.

It intends to work closely with the wider transformer community, including manufacturers, power utilities, materials providers, and test/service businesses to deliver fundamental and engineering research and to provide high quality postgraduate education/training of students and engineers. It seeks out opportunities where the community can work together and share the benefit of advanced transformer technology.

  • Inaugural Chair -  Prof. Zhongdong Wang, with Prof. Stefan Tenbohlen as Co-chair in 2019
  • 2020 - Prof. Stefan Tenbohlen as Chair with Prof. Yuanxiang Zhou as Co-Chair
  • 2021 - Prof. Yuanxiang Zhou as Chair with Prof. Tapan Saha as Co-Chair
  • 2022 - Prof. Tapan Saha as Chair with Prof. Yang Xu as Co-Chair
  • 2023 - Prof. Yang Xu as Chair with Dr. Qiang Liu as Co-Chair

Dr. Shanika Matharage acts as the Secretary for UTRA.


UTRA will enable university researchers to benefit from synergies in pursuit of advancement of knowledge in the areas of transformer related research, through:

  • Research Leadership
  • Strategic Research Direction and Guidance
  • Engaging Stakeholders
  • Recognising Young Talent


UTRA will enlist a broad representation from global transformer research universities; providing up-to-date information on their research capabilities, which may include experience, expertise, and modelling, simulation and experimental laboratory facilities.

UTRA will encourage the research community to provide a coherent view on the latest knowledge and the need for, the challenges in, and the direction of research. It will introduce state-of-the-art technologies and target improvements in efficiency. It also endeavours to strengthen industrial support for universities' research by showcasing qualities and competences.


Discovery of the electromagnetic induction principle by Michael Faraday in 1831 laid the foundation for design and development of transformers. Work carried out at the Ganz factory in the early 1880s in developing the closed core transformers is considered as the pioneering work in development of the modern transformer.

Since then, the design, development, operation and management of transformers have been revolutionised with many contributions from various parts of the world through R&D activities. Throughout the 20th century, these activities were mainly concentrated among industrial laboratories in Europe and USA.

Nowadays many universities and research institutes from all around the world are working on transformer related research. To date there are more than 30 reputed university research groups and many more individual researchers worldwide contributing to the development of transformer related technologies.

However, with the increase in the number of researchers, an increased repetition of work was also observed, which could be contributed by the lack of communication and guidance. To improve the current situation, five nationally leading transformer research groups came together and agreed to establish this University Transformer Research Alliance, with a perspective to reach out to transformer researchers worldwide and together to advance the research at a faster pace and better aligned with low-carbon Energy requirements.

Current UTRA members include the following universities.

  1. University of Exeter
  2. The University of Manchester
  3. The University of Queensland
  4. University of Stuttgart
  5. Tsinghua University
  6. Xi'an Jiaotong University
  7. Universiti Putra Malaysia
  8. Université du Québec à Chicoutimi