Since 1991 we have provided substantial grant funding to Cambridge University’s Institute for Manufacturing. This support reflects our view that manufacturing is vital to the UK and our desire to foster interaction between universities and industry.
The Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) is the public face of the Department of Engineering’s Manufacturing and Management Division. The IfM takes a distinctive, cross-disciplinary approach, bringing together expertise in management, technology and policy to address the full spectrum of industrial issues. Its activities take place within an unusual structure that integrates research and education with practical application in industry, via a university-owned company, IfM Education and Consultancy Services Ltd.
IfM research is undertaken in close collaboration with companies, ensuring its relevance to industrial needs and the rapid dissemination of new ideas and approaches. It aims to develop practical solutions to current industrial issues and covers all areas from understanding markets and technologies, through product and process design to operations, distribution and related services.
Research is clustered into a number of research centres. Particular areas of expertise include industrial and innovation policy; the integration of technology considerations into business decisions; international manufacturing and supply networks; strategy and performance; next-generation inkjet technologies; and industrial photonics. Various interdisciplinary, cross centre programmes have been established to address such issues as service and support engineering, industrial sustainability, emerging industries and high value production.
Our support for the development of IfM has comprised grants for a number of specific purposes. These include the appointment of staff at the IfM to research and engage in knowledge transfer and dialogue with firms; establishing and developing the IfM’s Industry Links Unit and its work with SMEs; and the establishment of the UK Manufacturing Professors’ Conference. In total we have awarded grants to the IfM in excess of £15 million, including one grant for £5 million towards the capital costs of its building in west Cambridge.