Future Manufacturing Research Hubs
To help manufacturing industries respond to future opportunities and drivers and contribute to a prosperous UK, we are looking to evolve the nature of our critical mass investments in the manufacturing space, building on the successes of the Innovative Manufacturing Research Centres and the EPSRC Centres for Innovative Manufacturing.
Our vision for our critical mass investments is to support UK manufacturing industries by supporting the commercialisation of early stage research opportunities in emerging areas, through a network of Future Manufacturing Research Hubs.
Each Hub has a programme of innovative research in the engineering and physical sciences, related to the challenges in commercialising early stage research. The core Hub activity is based in a single location, with other institutions or groups acting as 'spokes', inputting specific expertise in particular areas complementary to the lead institution. A key characteristic of the Hub model is that the research is driven by the long-term research challenges of users. User collaboration is therefore an essential aspect for these Hubs.
Each Hub will:
- Create and deliver a programme of high quality, multidisciplinary research that addresses major, long term challenges facing manufacturing industries, as well as captures future industrial opportunities from emerging research areas
- Engage strongly with relevant manufacturing industries, to enhance knowledge exchange between academia and industry, and deliver significant impact
- Take a leadership role in the national research landscape, conducting outreach activities and driving research excellence in their area
- Take a leadership role in the national innovation landscape, influencing and working with other stakeholders in the innovation chain (particularly Innovate UK and the Catapult network), to ensure acceleration of impact
- Work collegiately with other Manufacturing the Future critical mass activities (e.g. Hubs, Centres, Programmes) to advocate for manufacturing research, nationally and globally. The Hubs feature high quality, multidisciplinary research, strong engagement with relevant manufacturing industries, and will take a leadership role in their national network.
The Hub research programmes will:
- Draw on advances in underlying science and technology across the EPSRC remit
- Focus on the design and development of new and existing manufacturing processes, systems and networks, looking to take advantage of the opportunities to manufacturing sectors offered by such developments
- Explicitly consider the pathway to manufacture, including production scale up and integration within the wider industrial system.
Each Hub has received seven years of funding to retain staff, develop collaborations, carry out feasibility studies, and support research projects. Each centre has been co-created with business, with EPSRC support being used as a platform from which the centres have secured further investment from industry and other funders.