17 May 2024

UK hubs launched to create a sustainable future for manufacturing

Five hubs aim to address the challenge of commercialising early-stage research within key areas of manufacturing, such as semiconductors and medicines.

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The five manufacturing research hubs, led by universities in three of the UK’s four nations, are supported by UK Research and Innovation's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, with each hub receiving £11mln.

They aim to address a wide range of challenges in commercialising early-stage research within different manufacturing sectors. These include reducing waste, providing alternatives to costly or environmentally-damaging materials, and speeding up processes.

The hubs will draw on advances in underlying science and technology and focus on the design and development of new processes, systems and networks.

The five hubs are:

  • CSManuHubSust, led by Professor Peter Smowton, Cardiff University, UK. The hub aims to capitalise on the huge opportunity of compound semiconductor manufacturing, as identified in the UK’s national semiconductor strategy
  • Sustainable ChEmicals and materials MAnufacturing (SCHEMA) hub, led by Professor Charlotte Williams, University of Oxford, UK. This aims to transform fossil-based polymer manufacturing into a sustainable, flexible and digital industry, improving its environmental impact and resilience.
  • Advanced Metrology for Sustainable Manufacturing hub, led by: Professor Xiangqian Jiang, University of Huddersfield, UK. The hub will seek to develop ground-breaking new technologies, such as ultra-fast and compact sensors using nanophotonic metamaterials and quantum sensors, to improve resource efficiency and productivity across the range of sectors that rely on precision manufacturing.
  • MediForge hub, led by Professor Alastair Florence, University of Strathclyde, UK. It aims to transform the development and manufacturing of medicines by pioneering an Industry 5.0 approach focused on harnessing advanced technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) for sustainable, resilient and human-centric medicine,
  • Manufacturing Research Hub in Robotics, Automation and Smart Machine Enabled Sustainable Circular Manufacturing and Materials (RESCu-M2), led by Professor Samia Nefti-Meziani, University of Birmingham, UK. This aims to use advances in AI, robotics and intelligent automation to create a new sustainable circular manufacturing ecosystem across sectors such as batteries and electric motors, energy, large structures and medical devices.