Joint UK-India research programme launched to develop sustainable supply networks

Research partners from the UK and India came together in Delhi on April 9 to launch a programme aimed at developing sustainable global supply networks.

The joint research team from the Institute for Manufacturing, Indian Institute of Technology Ropar and Indian Institute of Management Lucknow attended a workshop on the Engineering Driven Sustainable Supply Networks project, funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and India’s Department of Science & Technology (DST).


More than 30 delegates including senior policymakers, industrialists and academics discussed aims and approaches, sharing of ideas with key institutional practitioners and sought inputs on the challenges they face.


This included industry perspectives of sustainability challenges in four key sectors – aerospace, automotive, food and pharmaceuticals.


Prof Sir Mike Gregory, Head of the IfM, said: "Launching this new EPSRC-DST project marks the beginning of what I am sure will be a long and productive partnership between the UK and India in this vital area for modern industry.


"Linking the efficiency of supply chains with the need for long term sustainability will provide essential capabilities for both new and established companies.


Dr Jagjit Singh Srai, Head of the IfM’s Centre for International Manufacturing, said: "Leading firms have now recognised that the industrial sustainability of their product supply chains, from the availability of source materials to the consumption habits of end-users, is going to influence strategic considerations on the future design of products, manufacturing processes and location of international manufacturing operations.


"The kick-off workshop highlighted the need for new methods to explore how resource efficiency – energy, raw materials and water, and reducing waste – will influence the reconfiguration of product supply chains in different industries and national contexts.”


Following the workshop, a group of government, agency and industrial representatives from India and the UK met for the UK-India Manufacturing Policy Roundtable, organised by IfM and the UK Science and Innovation Network.