He said: “When you look at Hull and the Humber region, it has huge potential in terms of clean growth and renewable energy.
“If the Government is serious in investing in the Northern Powerhouse, then this region should be the jewel in its crown when it comes to energy and engineering.
“Hull has always been, and remains today, a fantastic engineering city. You now see some of the large renewable energy companies which have based themselves in the city.
“The University has the chance to be right at the heart of that. We need to be looking at what industry wants, and what businesses are looking for in graduates.
“Everything is changing very quickly, and we must be right at the forefront of that change.”
Professor Hughes joins the University of Hull as its new Head of Department of Engineering at a time of great strength for the subject.
Mechanical Engineering at Hull recently ranked third in the country for overall student satisfaction, according to the 2020 National Student Survey.
Professor Andrew Heyes, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, said: “Engineering is critically important to the University as we strive to support the economy of our region and take a leading role in creating the carbon neutral future we aspire to.
“We’re backing our ambitions with investment designed to recruit the best established and developing leaders in the field and I’m delighted that we are able to kick-off that process with the recruitment of Professor Hughes and his team.”
Professor Hughes currently acts as Editor-in-Chief for the International Journal of Ventilation, and is the Managing Director of University spin-out company Free Running Buildings Limited.
He has also been involved in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, finding low-carbon, sustainable ways to cool the football stadiums.
On top of this, Professor Hughes was recently chosen to become a Fellow of the World Society of Sustainable Energy Technologies, for his outstanding contribution to science and technology.
Professor Hughes said: “The University is lucky to have such a dedicated team of staff within its Engineering department.
“You also look at the fantastic work being done by Aura around offshore wind and low-carbon energy, and I am confident Hull can become one of the biggest built-environment research groups in the UK.
“The University and region have a pipeline of talent coming into it at the moment, and I think when you combine my research team with the portfolio which already exists within the Engineering department at Hull, there is a great deal to be excited about.”