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Institute for Manufacturing (University of Cambridge)

Institute for Manufacturing (University of Cambridge)


CB30FS Cambridge
United Kingdom

The Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) is part of the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering.

Our research aims to help:
- Companies develop life-changing products and services, build better businesses, create meaningful jobs, and improve the environment for the future.
- Governments foster innovation and enterprise to deliver social and economic benefits.

Our researchers work on a wide range of manufacturing-related topics including:
- new materials and advanced production technologies
- digital manufacturing technologies and data analytics and how they can be used to transform factories, supply chains and business models
- how new technologies can be nurtured through the development phase and turned into successful businesses.
- effective business tools and processes (such as roadmapping) that can help organisations achieve their strategic goals

World-class education
We provide undergraduate and postgraduate education to create the manufacturing leaders of the future.

Real-world application
Through our dissemination arm, IfM Education and Consultancy Services (IfM ECS) Ltd, we provide consultancy and professional development to companies of all sizes and to national and regional governments. IfM ECS is owned by the University of Cambridge and our profits are gifted to the University to fund future research.


Product news

  • IfM Review Issue 10: Capturing value

    In Issue 10 of the Institute for Manufacturing Review you’ll find insights into a range of recent IfM work, around the theme of ‘capturing value’.

    We open with two articles on policy, featuring a recent high-profile IfM report on why manufacturing is significantly underestimated in economic size, as well as a report on the impact of governmental investment in digital manufacturing across developed economies.

    We then cover value in terms of resources and sustainability, including a piece on resource efficiency and a feature on creating innovations from waste materials. An interview on e-commerce explores sustainability in the context of the food industry’s global supply chains and changing consumer habits.

    The issue also includes articles on scalable customisation using inkjet technology, and on intellectual property for growing companies. We hope you enjoy reading these amongst other features.

    Best wishes,

    Tim Minshall
    Dr John C Taylor Professor of Innovation, & Head of the Institute for Manufacturing


  • The practical impact of digital manufacturing

    A recent study for the UK government by leading Cambridge academics indicates grounds for optimism. Indeed, the findings provided key evidence for £120 million funding boost announced by the government in late 2018. Dr Carlos López-Gómez, Head of the IfM’s Policy Links Unit, explains more…

    Over the last few years, there have been many predictions made about the potential impact of the digital revolution on manufacturing and the wider economy. The forecasts point to a potentially disruptive effect of digital technologies across all aspects of industries – from the way in which products are made, the types of jobs manufacturers are able to provide, and the functionalities offered by digitally enabled products and services.

    In keeping with this outlook, the Made Smarter Review for the UK government in 2017 projected that the adoption of digital technologies in UK industry could lead to a 25% increase in productivity by 2025.

    But can we yet point to evidence of impact that companies can relate to? Innovate UK (IUK) recently commissioned the Policy Links Unit and senior academics at the Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge to evaluate the evidence on the impact of digital manufacturing. The resulting report, The Practical Impact of Digital Manufacturing: Results From Recent International Experience, analyses how digitalisation technologies are actually being deployed in key manufacturing countries, and the results for the firms deploying them. The aim was to identify both expected and observed results of digitalisation in manufacturing, drawing on examples from around the globe.

    Read more and download the report on the IfM's website.


  • Report explains why UK manufacturing is underestimated in value

    In the context of Brexit, the authors say it is vital that UK negotiators seeking new trade agreements are equipped with a solid understanding of manufacturing’s importance to the economy.

    The report, ‘Inside the Black Box of Manufacturing’ was carried out for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The authors say that the current value placed on manufacturing activity is based on outdated and inaccurate methods of counting, and that the economic value of manufactured goods increasingly depends on activities that are officially categorised as belonging to other sectors of the economy.

    “It is essential that policymakers have accurate information on the size of manufacturing sectors in order to develop internationally competitive industrial strategy,” said O’Sullivan. “In particular, policymakers need to be able to measure manufacturing in a way that better reflects how firms actually organise themselves into value networks.”

    “An implication of our study is that if the way manufacturing-related activities are counted does not change, the UK could be missing significant opportunities to build world-leading industries,” said Hauge. “It is also critical that post-Brexit international trade negotiators are equipped with a more accurate understanding of the value of these industries, and in particular the potential economic impact of companies moving manufacturing operations away from the UK.”

    The report discusses how manufacturing is defined, and what activities are currently included or excluded from how it is counted in the economy, highlighting why its value is being underestimated.

    “This report is a clarion call for politicians of all parties to update their understanding and recognise the central importance of manufacturing not only to local regions but to the wider UK economy as well,” said Seamus Nevin, Chief Economist at Make UK.


  • Professor Steve Evans elected to Academia Europaea

    Professor Steve Evans, Director of Research of the IfM’s Centre for Industrial Sustainability, has been elected to the prestigious Academia Europaea in its 2019 awards.

    The Academia is a Europe-wide Academy that encompasses all fields of scholarship. Membership is an award conferred by the Academia Europaea to individuals that have demonstrated "sustained academic excellence", elected by existing members, and judged during an annual peer review selection process.

    Among its members, the Academia has Nobel Prize winners, as well as winners of the Fields Medal, the Wolf Prize, and the Turing Award. It also includes leading experts from the physical sciences and technology, biological sciences and medicine, mathematics, the letters and humanities, social and cognitive sciences, economics and the law.

    The object of the Academia is the advancement and propagation of excellence across all fields, for the public benefit and for the advancement of public education. It also works to promote European research, advise governments and international organisations in scientific matters, and further interdisciplinary and international research.