IfM plays host to Chancellor of Exchequer
Barbara Follett, Alistair Darling and Mike Gregory
in the courtyard of the Alan Reece building
Alistair Darling and Barbara Follett
with Bill O'Neill in the photonics area
Guangjie Ren and Dai Morgan
talk with Alistair Darling in the common room
The Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, paid a visit to the Institute for Manufacturing today.
He toured the IfM's new £15m building with the head of the IfM, Professor Mike Gregory. Prof Gregory briefed the Chancellor on the Institute's role in the creation of new ideas and approaches to modern industrial practice.
The visit followed the launch of the Government's Building Britain's Future campaign, a new policy agenda setting out its thoughts on a wide range of issues ranging from education and industry to health and welfare.
The Chancellor toured the IfM's Centre for Industrial Photonics, headed by Dr Bill O’Neill. The centre looks at applications for industrial laser technologies in manufacturing enterprises.
Mr Darling saw one of the centre's state-of-the-art lasers write Building Britain's Future on a small plaque, which he took away as a memento.
He then saw how a new high-powered scanning electron microscope is being used to develop radically new micro and nano manufacturing capabilities.
The Chancellor also met Professor Duncan McFarlane, Head of the IfM's Distributed Information and Automation Laboratory. He was given an overview of how automated identification technologies can lead to the production of smart products.
Professor Mike Gregory said: "The Chancellor saw how the University is playing a role in industrial innovation by linking research, technology, operations and strategy to address real world problems and opportunities. The Chancellor's visit was a great opportunity to meet the IfM community including people involved in technology, management and policy, all working closely with industry and government."
Mr Darling was joined by East of England Minister Barbara Follett and the University's Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research Ian Leslie for the hour-long visit to the West Cambridge site.
East of England Minister Barbara Follett also took the chance to find out about the work the IfM is doing with SME's in the region, such as the new Manufacturing Transformation Programme.
The event was co-ordinated by GO East, the Government Office for the East of England, and the Treasury.
After leaving the IfM building he was due to attend a reception at the Guildhall, before taking part in a discussion session with members of the public and business.