New manufacturing future research partnership launched

2 mins read

To coincide with the UK’s National Manufacturing Summit 2022 – A Net Zero Future, the University of Birmingham and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) have launched a new research group, which will lead a sustainable manufacturing revolution.

The group will bring together the expertise of each institution across the R&D and product development lifecycle, and working with a range of industrial partners will establish a world-leading research group firmly focused on the decarbonisation of the sector.

Researchers within the group will work across both organisations as well as with industrial partners to apply fundamental science, engineering and thought leadership to transform the sector through sustainable future growth.

The group will include a new Chair in Sustainable Manufacturing and five manufacturing research fellows. It will lead research within the field of manufacturing engineering with a focus on sustainable and decarbonising processes including:

  • Intelligent manufacturing
  • Life cycle analysis
  • Data-driven predictive manufacturing
  • Manufacturing digital twins
  • Product control and management
  • Cyber-physical embedded systems and industrial internet of things
  • Industrial photonics

Professor Stephen Jarvis, Head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham, says: “The decarbonisation of manufacturing is a significant global energy challenge and one which we will need to address if we are to meet our 2050 net-zero goals. The opportunities and potential impact of this partnership are immense and it is fitting that this initiative launches in the Midlands, a region recognised worldwide for its industrial heritage.”

The University of Birmingham has made significant recent investment in engineering, and the new group will be based in the state-of-the-art £85m engineering complex, which includes the new School of Engineering, the world-class centre for rail research and education (UKRRIN), and the National Buried Infrastructure Facility.

MTC chief executive Dr Clive Hickman said, "As an organisation, the MTC is prioritising support for sustainable manufacturing as a key factor in the delivery of net zero. We are actively helping the development of the next generation of green manufacturing technologies which will deliver clean growth. As an example to industry we are targeting our own operations to ensure sustainability in everything we do in our own operations or with our supply chain.

"This is a win-win for the UK. Not only does it help decarbonise manufacturing activities, it also has the potential to provide many thousands of jobs. In this country we have a rich advanced manufacturing resource and there's no reason why the UK cannot take the lead in low carbon and sustainable manufacturing. Manufacturing businesses themselves can benefit enormously, both directly and indirectly, either by producing green components like fuel cells or electrolysers for hydrogen, or indirectly by having clean fuels for boilers and furnaces. The overall impact on society of a low carbon and sustainable manufacturing sector is considerable."

This new collaboration builds on the University’s well-established partnership with the MTC in manufacturing technology and materials, and signals the intent of both institutions to collaborate on a number of world-leading manufacturing initiatives.

The MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK, and was established to prove innovative manufacturing processes and technologies in an agile environment in partnership with industry, academia and other institutions. Housing some of the most advanced manufacturing equipment in the world, and with facilities in the Liverpool City Region, the Midlands and the South East, the MTC provides a high quality environment for the development and demonstration of new technologies on an industrial scale, supporting skills, productivity and growth across the UK manufacturing industry.