Overseas Research Programme 2016

The ORP aims to conclude the students’ education in the IfM by applying their knowledge from modules and projects to an international industrial context.

This year's Manufacturing Engineering student cohort will be travelling to the heart of global manufacturing - China. Having disrupted global markets through low cost production, China is now aiming to take the lead in research and innovation. Through a program of visits to leading manufacturers and academic institutions, students will gather first-hand insights into the potential threats and opportunities associated with China’s industrial transformation. Investigations will focus on three major industrial areas: Tianjin/Beijing, Suzhou/Shanghai, and the Shenzen/Hong-Kong area, observing the social, political and economic changes taking place in China that are precursors to China’s transition to innovation - The Chinese Dream.


China Map

The launch of China’s five-year plan in October 2015 sent ripples through the global economy. The old adage has shifted – When China Sneezes, The World Catches a Cold. With the world’s largest middle class, China is experiencing a rapid shift from an export-based to a more consumption led economy. Not only has this provided spectacular opportunities for Western firms, but also huge potential for Chinese businesses.


The project aims to provide a better understanding of the observed paradigm shift and its potential consequences for local and global industries.


With Chinese expansion now a key strategic objective for many businesses, it is vital to understand the ever-changing Chinese business environment. As Chinese firms shift to a more innovative and research based strategy, the global competitive landscape is expected to change dramatically. An understanding of these changes, and their potential effects, will be a valuable strategic tool for businesses the world over.


The Chinese start-up scene has almost tripled in size since 2013. With a growing level of internal investment, technological advances have been made without the involvement of Western companies. Furthermore, Chinese patent registration has grown exponentially since 1995, resulting in China registering more patents annually than any other nation. China is well on its way to becoming the world’s innovator.


Chinese education is dramatically shifting in focus towards creativity and research. Chinese engineers and scientists account for more than 25% of the global R&D workforce, although McKinsey and Co. reported that only 10% of these meet international employability standards. The Chinese government acknowledges these issues and is planning a re-structuring of their higher education system.


Where will this leave the western educational superpowers? Does China have the capability to achieve such a transformation?



The ORP trip is composed of three parts.

  1. The pre-tour preparation period: including planning, stakeholder consultation and development of objectives. A pre-tour seminar will be held, with the opportunity to provide input into the project objectives.
  2. Ten-day research trip at the end of June.
  3. Post-tour Insights report publication and results briefing.

The project is entirely organised by students, with input from research and industry. Over the course of the year, the student team will engage in a broad consultation program to ensure the project provides valuable insight to our partners in industry, academia and government.



Sponsors gain unique access to Cambridge University Manufacturing Engineering students, a relationship with the Institute for Manufacturing community of academics and industrialists and enjoy prominent publicity both in Cambridge and abroad. Platinum and Gold sponsors have the opportunity to hold graduate recruitment events, while Platinum sponsors will be able to influence the research themes of the project, subject to negotiations.

The different sponsorship packages are outlined in the table below. To discuss options please contact:


Susannah Evans

Sponsorship Officer

E: see29@cam.ac.uk




Mateusz Pniewski

Project Leader

E: msp39@cam.ac.uk


ORP Sponsorship Options


Project sponsors

The Overseas Research Project's success is heavily dependent on the generosity of our sponsors. We would like to thank them for kindly supporting us in what promises to be an exciting and fruitful research project.



Mars McKinsey









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