The Cambridge Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre (IMRC) at the Institute for Manufacturing was founded in 2001 with the funding provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The IMRC has served to integrate the Institute’s research programmes, which range from industrial photonics, through automation and production systems, to manufacturing strategy and economic policy.
The IMRC has been an integral part of the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) providing the foundation on which activities can have launched and developed. The IMRC accounted for 37% of IfM’s research funding but its influence has extended well beyond the directly funded activities. Over the period of IMRC funding the IfM has developed from a collection of disparate academic groupings to an internationally competitive institution, while staff and research activity have grown by over 150%. During this period, IMRC funding has been matched by more than £9m from industry, charities and other research sources.
Drawing together work of several established research Centres and Projects, the projects aimed to tackle emerging industrial themes whilst strengthening the core academic programme. These themes have included:
- Structuring and Managing International Supply Networks
- Rapid Technology Acquisition and Deployment
- Manufacturing Knowledge and Communication
- High Value technical innovations
- Flexible and reconfigurable production
The characteristics of the IMRC have been an integrated and industrially focussed approach to manufacturing, enabling:
- Informed evolution of research themes through an Industrial Futures programme, industrial consultation and academic networks
- Active management of industrial engagement across major corporations and SMEs
- An integrated programme of industrial application, capture of examples and dissemination