Innovative Manufacturing Processes: Flexible and Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems


High-value manufacturing industries enhance the economic competitiveness of the UK, comprising 13% of the UK economy and over 50% of UK exports. Regardless of the industrial sector, UK manufacturing is driven by technological change and intellectual ingenuity. Academic research is a vital component of the UK’s highly-skilled manufacturing pipeline – improving production systems, developing advanced materials, incorporating modern ICT, and training the next generation of manufacturing professionals.

UK manufacturing has increasingly focused upon high value, low-volume products and processes to remain competitive. In the future, the market will increasingly demand highly "flexible" manufacturing capability – processes with short cycle times and the ability to rapidly and efficiently reconfigure themselves to accommodate new "customised" products. Maintaining productivity and reliability, whilst allowing flexibility and adaptability, is a major technological challenge.

EPSRC expects to fund a number of research programmes of up to five years in length, focused on the research challenges that underpin such flexible manufacturing processes. The funded programmes are expected to vary in size according to the demands of the proposed research. A two-stage process (with expressions of interest and full proposal stages) will be used to allocate the funding. This call seeks expressions of interest to submit a full proposal.

The submitted expressions of interest will be assessed at a short-listing panel in May 2012 and those that align most appropriately with the scope for this call will be invited for the full proposal stage. The deadline for full proposals will be in late July 2012 and these will be peer reviewed during August and September 2012. Funding decisions are expected to be made in November 2012.


There are two stages in the assessment process. This call invites Expressions of Interest (EoIs) which will be assessed at a short-listing panel in May 2012. Short-listed applicants will then be invited to submit full proposals.

Call Launched28 February 2012
Closing date for expressions of interest26 April 2012
Short-listing panel for expressions of interestMay 2012
Call opens in Je-S for full proposal stageJune 2012
Closing date for full proposalsLate July 2012
Postal peer reviewAugust 2012
Prioritisation panel for full proposalsNovember 2012
Grants announcedDecember 2012