Overseas Research Programme 2017

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

The ORP 2017 Report can be found here


The digitalisation of manufacturing is upon us. To remain competitive, companies and countries must adapt to the changing nature of manufacturing that the digital age has brought.  Germany has defined the term “Industrie 4.0” to describe its vision of the future.  America is racing to catch up.  The overseas research project 2017 aims to investigate what Japan, another great industrial power, is contemplating for the future.


In the 1970s and 1980s, Japanese manufacturing was world leading. The lean production system pioneered by Toyota ensured quality and cost leadership. But since the widespread adoption of lean globally, ORP aims to find out what Japanese companies and the government are doing to retain their competitive edge.The digitalisation of manufacturing can be divided into three main categories: the Internet of Things (IoT), big data and cyber physical systems.  Japan’s national strategy is to concentrate on the latter, leading the world with robots in the IoT era.   The Robot Revolution Initiative aims to maintain Japan’s position as the global centre for robot innovation, promote a society proactively using robots, and use digitalisation trends such as big data, networks and artificial intelligence to dominate the future of industrial robotics.


The overseas research project will concentrate on three areas in Japan: Tokyo, Nagoya and Kyoto.  This will allow the project to explore a wide range of industries, from automotive and industrial to traditional Japanese manufacturing.  The project will look at the role of government in facilitating innovation in digitalisation, and how Japanese companies aim to remain competitive in the digital era.



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 sponsors evening will be held, with the opportunity to provide input into the project objectives and meet the students going.
  2. A 2-week research trip at the beginning of July.
  3. Post-tour Insights report publication and results briefing.


The project is entirely organised by students, with input from IfM researchers 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.


Sponsorship opportunities

 The trip is reliant on sponsorship from companies and organisations external to the IfM. In return for their support, we offer companies the opportunity to:

  • Connect with over 100 Cambridge Manufacturing students from undergraduate to PhD level.
  • Establish a presence within the MET community and develop long term awareness in the minds of future stakeholders.
  • Meet potential suppliers, customers and leading academics in your field at IfM networking events.


We have packages aimed at firms of all sizes, and are flexible to your needs to ensure our offer delivers value.



Zoscha Partos

Project Co-Leader

E: zp235@cam.ac.uk


Jordan Salmon

Project Co-Leader

E: jds66@cam.ac.uk


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.





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