Our vision for our critical mass investments is to support UK manufacturing industries by supporting the commercialisation of early stage research opportunities in emerging areas, through a network of Future Manufacturing research hubs.
Each hub has a programme of innovative research in the engineering and physical sciences, related to the challenges in commercialising early stage research. The core hub activity is based in a single location, with other institutions or groups acting as ‘spokes’, inputting specific expertise in particular areas complementary to the lead institution.
A key characteristic of the hub model is that the research is driven by the long-term research challenges of users. User collaboration is therefore an essential aspect for these hubs.
Each hub will:
- create and deliver a programme of high quality, multidisciplinary research that addresses major, long-term challenges facing manufacturing industries, as well as captures future industrial opportunities from emerging research areas
- engage strongly with relevant manufacturing industries, to enhance knowledge exchange between academia and industry, and deliver significant impact
- take a leadership role in the national research landscape, conducting outreach activities and driving research excellence in their area
- take a leadership role in the national innovation landscape, influencing and working with other stakeholders in the innovation chain, particularly Innovate UK and the Catapult network, to ensure acceleration of impact
- work collegiately with other Manufacturing the Future critical mass activities (hubs, centres and programmes, for example) to advocate for manufacturing research, nationally and globally. The hubs feature high-quality, multidisciplinary research, strong engagement with relevant manufacturing industries, and will take a leadership role in their national network.
The hub research programmes will:
- draw on advances in underlying science and technology across the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s (EPSRC) remit
- focus on the design and development of new and existing manufacturing processes, systems and networks, looking to take advantage of the opportunities to manufacturing sectors offered by such developments
- explicitly consider the pathway to manufacture, including production scale-up and integration within the wider industrial system.
Each hub has received seven years of funding to retain staff, develop collaborations, carry out feasibility studies, and support research projects. Each centre has been co-created with business, with EPSRC support being used as a platform from which the centres have secured further investment from industry and other funders.
The current Manufacturing the Future hubs were built on the previous success of both the Innovative Manufacturing Research Centres and the EPSRC Centres for Innovative Manufacturing.
These long-term investments aim to help manufacturing industries respond to future opportunities and drivers and contribute to a prosperous UK.
Future Photonics Hub
Bringing together the expertise of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) and the EPSRC National Centre for III-V Technologies at the University of Sheffield, the Future High Value Photonics Hub will provide national leadership in manufacturing for the next generation of photonics technologies.
Future Liquid Metal Engineering Hub
Metallic materials are the backbone of manufacturing and the fuel for economic growth. The UK metal casting industry adds £2.6 billion each year to the UK economy, employs 30,000 people, produces 1.14 million tons of metal castings per year and underpins the competitive position of every sector of UK manufacturing.
Future Targeted Healthcare Manufacturing Hub
By 2025 targeted biological medicines will transform the precision of healthcare prescription, improve patient care and quality of life. The Future Targeted Healthcare Manufacturing Hub will address manufacturing challenges in ensuring that new targeted biological medicines can be developed quickly and manufactured at a cost affordable to society.
Future Manufacturing Hub in Manufacture using Advanced Powder Processes (MAPP)
MAPP’s vision is to deliver on the promise of powder-based manufacturing processes to provide low-energy, low-cost and low-waste, high-value manufacturing routes and products to secure UK manufacturing productivity and growth.
Future Composites Manufacturing Hub
The Future Composites Manufacturing Hub will enable a step-change in manufacturing with advanced polymer composite materials, driving the development of automated manufacturing technologies that deliver components and structures for demanding applications, particularly in the aerospace, transportation, construction and energy sectors.
Future Advanced Metrology Hub
The vision of the Future Advanced Metrology Hub is to create groundbreaking embedded metrology and universal metrology informatics systems to be applied across the manufacturing value chain.
Future Continuous Manufacturing and Advanced Crystallisation Research Hub (CMAC)
CMAC research is driven by the societal need to produce medicines and materials for modern living through novel manufacturing processes. This is through accelerating the adoption of continuous manufacturing processes, systems and plants for the production of high-value chemical products to higher quality, at lower cost and more sustainably.
Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub
The Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub will carry out research into large-scale compound semiconductor manufacturing. It will also carry out research into manufacturing integrated compound semiconductors on silicon, providing Europe-leading facilities that will translate research into large-scale compound semiconductor growth and device fabrication.
SUSTAIN Future Steel Manufacturing Research Hub
The SUSTAIN Future Steel Manufacturing Research Hub research aims to deliver cutting-edge science and the engineering research required to create carbon-neutral, resource-efficient UK steel supply chains.
Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing Hub
The Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing Hub will address key manufacturing challenges in the production of high-integrity and high-value electrical machines for the aerospace, energy, high-value automotive and premium consumer sectors.
Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub
The vision of the Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub (BRH) is to develop innovative technologies for high-value manufacturing to sustainably produce pharmaceuticals, chemicals, materials and advanced synthetic fuels.
Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub — Imperial
Supported by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
The hub aims to address two major challenges, including how to design a flexible modular production system that, once a new threat is identified and sequenced, can switch into manufacturing mode and produce around 10,000 doses in a matter of weeks for local containment.
Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub (Vax Hub) — University College London (UCL)
Supported by the DHSC.
The hub is aimed at making the UK a global centre, from integrated discovery through to bioprocess of next generation vaccines.
Last updated: 31 March 2022