The Future of UK Manufacturing

This week, the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) collaborated with High Manufacturing Value Catapult and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to deliver the Future of UK Manufacturing Conference in Sheffield.


The event brought together experts from the manufacturing research and innovation community to explore future research priorities, investment areas, and opportunities, with the aim of shaping a resilient and balanced UK manufacturing sector.


The conference took place over two days at the historic Cutlers’ Hall in Sheffield city centre, with attendees including leading figures from Government, academia, innovation agencies, and industry. The event featured presentations, panel discussions, and workshops, providing plenty of opportunities for open dialogue and networking.


Key themes included:

  • The opportunities and challenges facing UK manufacturing in the short, medium, and long terms
  • How manufacturing research and innovation can support the ongoing development of UK manufacturing
  • How to ensure that manufacturing research and innovation activities are integrated to support the achievement of net-zero targets, delivering sustainable and balanced growth for the UK economy


The conference included keynote speeches from three speakers from IfM. Head of the IfM Tim Minshall discussed emerging trends in manufacturing research and innovation, Carlos López-Gómez from Cambridge Industrial Innovation Policy presented the key highlights from this year's Innovation Report, and Duncan McFarlane shared the mission of Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring to help smaller manufacturers with low-cost, simple digital solutions.


Other keynote speakers included Sarah Sharples from the Department for Transport, Katherine Bennett CBE from the High-Value Manufacturing Catapult, Warwick Spearing from Technical, and Benjamin Nicol from the Department for Business and Trade.


“We are a science superpower – the facts back that up – but we must get better at accelerating our research to solving real-world problems. We have the community together now, we know what the problem is and we can see what might need doing. We just need to join the dots,” said Professor Tim Minshall, Head of the Institute for Manufacturing.


“The event brought the people doing the research and the people tasked with the deployment of that research under one roof. It was a chance to coalesce around a single message that communicates the power and the value of manufacturing.”



The event was organised by the Institute for Manufacturing, High Manufacturing Value Catapult, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and Institute for Manufacturing UK Manufacturing Forum.

Date published

17 April 2024

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