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This paper proposes a novel computational approach to design optimisation of an interior permanent magnet synchronous motor (IPMSM) for wide-speed operation. This new approach adopts finite element method as a magnetic field analysis method and the genetic algorithm as a search method for optimisation work. A response surface methodology (RSM) is used to determine the empirical models relating the performance of a motor and the design variables. This design and optimisation approach resulted in an overall increase in speed of the optimisation process and a reduction in computational time. The prototype interior PMSM was fabricated and tested. The experimental results agree well with that of numerical computation and validate the proposed design optimisation approach.