The IfM Review is rapidly becoming one of the most important windows on the IfM, thanks to excellent work by the editorial team. They have brought together a publication which provides a blend of ‘news’ and more in-depth features which we hope you will find engaging and informative.
At the beginning of the year, we set out four themes we wanted to address – ‘scale up’, business models, tools and landscaping – and we are making good progress on all these fronts.
By ‘scale up’ we mean the ability to turn an emerging technology into something which can be manufactured commercially. This is vital if we are to reap the social and economic rewards of new research. But the obstacles to successful scale up are many and various: as well as the underlying science and manufacturing challenges, a whole array of operational, management and policy issues needs to be considered. At the IfM we are ideally placed to bring together expertise in all these areas. On page 7 Ronan Daly describes how his new Fluids in Advanced Manufacturing group is doing just that.
The term business models can cover a multitude of sins but a clear understanding of what they are and how they work is becoming increasingly important. A lively cross-IfM group is pursuing this agenda and bringing together industrialists and academics to identify where the challenges and opportunities lie. You can find a brief overview of progress to date on page 2.
Tools and methods have long been a feature of IfM’s activities. Over the years many ways of doing this have evolved. We are now taking stock and capturing what works best in which circumstances. We hope this will lead to more effective tools and methods and also help us identify at the start of a research programme what the most appropriate style of eventual tool or method might be. On page 9, Clive Kerr and Rob Phaal talk about some of the challenges of developing effective management tools and toolkits.
By no means least in our current work is the ‘refresh’ of the UK High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Landscape. Some of you may recall that we had the privilege of conducting the first landscape exercise in 2012 on behalf of Innovate UK (formerly TSB) and we are very pleased to have been asked to refresh it. The first exercise was significant in influencing the emergence of the now very successful High Value Manufacturing Catapults as well as EPSRC and Innovate UK investments more broadly. On page 16 you can read about how the national landscaping exercise is also informing HVM priorities in the regions.
Do please get in touch with us if you would like to contribute to the HVM landscape or, indeed, if any of our work catches your attention. We would be delighted to tell you more about what we are up to and visitors are always welcome.
Professor Sir Mike Gregory Head, Institute for Manufacturing
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Editor: Sarah Fell