R&D Society hears from head of the IfM

Professor Mike Gregory has called for a new generation of industrial researchers to meet the needs of 21st century manufacturing.

Professor Mike Gregory

Professor Gregory, head of the IfM outlined his thoughts at a special lecture to the Research and Development Society. Traditionally manufacturing research has focused on individual elements of the activity such as production technology or operations research. Professor Gregory argues that a more integrated approach to research is needed.


The event, held at The Royal Society, was told research activities needed to be reshaped to help grow the UK economy and industrial base.


Professor Gregory said: "Research into manufacturing has traditionally been highly fragmented, and for good reason. But manufacturing is more than just physical production, the flows of materials and resources and more than organisational structure and performance.


"Our knowledge of these domains is reasonably robust; it is the systems where we should now be focussing our interest, particularly global engineering, production and service systems.


"It is the understanding of these systems that will allow companies and indeed countries to understand how to best deploy their resources to create and capture value.


"The question is where we will obtain the people to do this work? We need a new generation of researchers, or ‘industrial systems architects", to help us lay the foundations for the future of industry and manufacturing.


"We need disciplines to work in concert; we need institutions to come together in much the same way as the Lunar Society of Birmingham did in the 18th Century, heralding the industrial revolution.


"I don"t think it"s too ambitious for us to seek to spark the next industrial revolution, tackling issues around sustainability and supporting new emerging industries with a similar approach.


"A society of people coming together to share and progress common intellectual interests to help further develop the UK manufacturing and industrial base.”



There will be another chance to hear the talk later this week. Professor Gregory will be giving a shorter version of the talk at Manufacturing Thursday on February 25th.

Date published

22 February 2010

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