Manufacturing and COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis provoked a wide-ranging response from the IfM community as we worked to support the UK response across the manufacturing and healthcare sectors. Building on 30 years of research in healthcare, the institute tackled both the immediate challenges of the pandemic as well as issues of longer-term recovery.

Supporting local hospitals 


With many hospitals across the UK needing rapidly accessible and innovative solutions to support operational challenges arising due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), University of Cambridge, collaborated with Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) NHS Trust and Royal Papworth to help local hospitals to make the best use of their resources. Together, they addressed the areas of hospital logistics, PPE delivery and intensive care unit equipment development.  


The IfM has been working on research in healthcare for over thirty years. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, this meant the institute could respond to new challenges using past experience.


It was this strong foundation in healthcare work — together with the institute’s culture of collaboration — that meant the IfM was able to react quickly and effectively to the COVID-19 crisis, mobilising students, staff and healthcare contacts across the city to ensure a swift and targeted response.


As a result of the success of this work, a joint Cambridge University Hospitals Trust (CUH)–IfM panel has been initiated so that the local hospitals and the IfM can continue working together for mutual benefit after the pandemic.


The following videos highlight the key features of the collaboration as well as showcase two particular outcomes of the collaboration which led to a positive impact on the hospital and its patients.


Local NHS/IfM Covid-19 collaboration



A new ventilating sharing device for Covid-19


Find out more about the ventilator sharing device here. 


Oxygen resilence during Covid-19 


If you would like to know more collaboration opportunities with the IfM or have ideas on ways to collaborate, please email:




We have released a range of research and analysis examining some of the immediate challenges and responses to the crisis as well as the longer term implications for governments, industry and healthcare.




IfM staff, researchers and students were recognised for their variety of contributions to supporting the COVID-19 response in the UK and around the world.

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