Manufacturing made smarter challenge

Supervisor checking manufacturing robot

This challenge focuses on developing new digital technologies within UK manufacturing, as part of the national Made Smarter movement.

The manufacturing made smarter challenge focuses on research and innovation elements of Made Smarter.

The £147 million investment, matched by a minimum of £147 million from industry, aims to deliver a resilient, flexible, more productive, and environmentally sustainable UK manufacturing sector.

Read more about the £147 million investment in manufacturing made smarter.

The challenge will support collaborations between UK manufacturing sectors to create innovative digital solutions. Key digital technologies in this challenge include:

  • artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics
  • additive manufacturing
  • robotics and automation
  • virtual reality and augmented reality
  • the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and connectivity (5G, LPWAN etc.).

We are funding projects in:

  • smart connected factories
  • connected and versatile supply chains
  • adaptable, flexible manufacturing operations and skills
  • new ways to design, test and make products.

Funded and announced investments

Collaborative research and development projects

Round one of funding has been completed, with £20 million funding for 14 projects. totalling £50 million of activity.

See the full list of project titles and lead organisations in our news story: £147 million investment in manufacturing made smarter.

Round two of funding has been allocated, with £20 million of funding for digital supply chain projects. The projects will start April 2021.

Research centres

We are investing £20 million for up to five research centres focusing on digital manufacturing.

Research will cover both technological and societal aspects, exploring challenges identified by the manufacturing industry.

Made Smarter Technology Accelerator

This programme, delivered by the Digital Catapult innovation centre, aims to speed up the UK’s technology adoption and shape technology innovation for the manufacturing sector.

The programme will collaborate with both manufacturers and innovative start-up companies.

Read more about the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator.

Made Smarter innovation hubs

The innovation hubs are a national network of facilities available to the manufacturing industry, to develop, demonstrate and test digital solutions for manufacturing and supply chains.

Read more about the innovation hubs in our news story: £147 million investment in manufacturing made smarter

Find out more about the Manufacturing Made Smarter community (Knowledge Transfer Network).

Last updated: 15 April 2021

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