Low-Cost Digital Solutions for Industrial Automation

Start date: 1 October 2024
End date: 2 October 2024
All-day event
Location: University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England


The Made Smarter Connected Factories group has just announced that the 2nd Workshop of Low-Cost Digital Solutions for Industrial Automation will return this year to the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), University of Cambridge.

They are currently seeking papers to include in the session, the deadline to submit an abstract will be 10th May, with the workshop taking place from 1st - 2nd October 2024 at the University of Cambridge.

The academic workshop will focus on research and development of concepts, methods, and technologies developed for low-cost digital solutions for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in sectors such as manufacturing, construction, logistics and healthcare.

Innovation and Research Caucus Networking Event

Date: 16 May 2024
Time: 9:45 am - 3:45 pm
Location: The Studio, 7 Cannon St., Birmingham, B2 5EP 


The Innovation and Research Caucus will welcome stakeholders and experts to their latest networking session at The Studio, Birmingham. This event aims to give participants the opportunity to:

  • Understand the directions and evidence needs for research and innovation support as a wider community.    
  • Share gathered insights to help inform projects and gaps in the research and innovation system.
  • Update the community – where is the IRC and where’s it going.

The event will be broken up into different sessions. These will include:   

  • An intro session from UKRI.
  • A panel discussion with UKRI Senior Colleagues to discuss the importance of evidence for decision makers.
  • Breakout sessions delving deeper into specific themes.
  • A session on ‘actionable insights’, including definitions and examples

Workshop – The image of manufacturing: brand, strategy, and changing perceptions

Date: 23 May 2024
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: Online


In spite of the UK enjoying a vibrant and innovative manufacturing sector, the industry struggles with an outdated, negative public image. Recent research from InterAct demonstrates that people still associate the sector with old-fashioned, low-paid, inflexible, and repetitive work. There is also a perception that manufacturing businesses lack proper interest in ensuring employee wellbeing and diversity. The result is an industry struggling to attract young talent.

This is certainly a branding problem for the sector, but the usual campaigns and initiatives haven’t moved the needle. A ‘consumer-style’ approach to branding can only lead to cosmetic improvements, and any change it brings will also only be skin deep.

That’s why the manufacturing-research focused InterAct Network have joined forces expert creative change consultants GW+Co to offer this online workshop for manufacturing leaders. It will explore the underlying issues for manufacturing, address the myths of modern branding and introduce ways for you to enact meaningful change within your business.

How will this event benefit your business?

  • You will learn how three manufacturing businesses have changed perception by aligning their people with brand, culture, and strategy.
  • You will be introduced to the tools and approaches that deliver successful brands by tapping into the existing skills and knowledge within a business.
  • Included is training in a technique developed by GW+Co that helps you to identify the pitfalls specific to your business, and documents outcomes in a way that ensures your project is a success and that your team is right there with you.

For the last 10 years, GW+Co’s transformative process has helped engineering and technology companies around the world increase business performance whilst attracting and retaining talent. Notable clients include ams Osram, ASSA ABLOY, Accsys Technologies, Control Techniques, Lenzing, Thorn and Zumtobel Group.

Webinar – What can we expect from the Industry 4.0 revolution?

Date: 23 May 2024
Time: 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Location: Online


We hear a lot about the impact of Industry 4.0 in manufacturing, but it can be a complex and thorny issue to definitively explain. The term has become synonymous with smart manufacturing and the introduction of new digital technologies within the sector. Technologists talk about the Internet of Things (IoT), AI and machine learning, robotics or the power of cloud computing, but what does it all mean?

InterAct are welcoming Dr. Olivér Kovács of the Ludovika University of Public Services, Budapest to share his insights on the 4th Industrial Revolution, how technological change can be accomplished and what key barriers to innovation remain.

Olivér Kovács is a Hungarian economist whose research embraces two fields:

  1. Sustainable development through the lens of complexity science (including structural change, techno-economic paradigm shifts, Industry 4.0, state fiscal sustainability and the theoretical and empirical issues of fiscal policy and fiscal consolidations)
  2. Innovation and innovation policy

He has been a member of public body of Hungarian Academy of Sciences since 2015 (Economics and Law Section of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Committee on World Economics and Development Studies), a member of the EuroMoney Expert Panel since 2010, and a member of the Darwin Club for Social Sciences which is equipped with the idea of applying evolutionary and complexity approaches to socio-economic phenomena.

Olivér has published several books including:

  • Stability and Dynamism – Fundamentals of Innovative Fiscal Policy
  • Complexity Economics: Economic Governance, Science and Policy
  • Reversing the Great Suppression – Unleashing the Catalytic Public Sector for Innovation Dynamism

WEEE and Batteries Workshops

Start date: 1 May 2024
End date: 15 May 2024
Time: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Location: Online


This is the first round of stakeholder workshops being held by the Open Product Initiative.

They are looking to speak with anyone involved in the WEEE and batteries value chain.

They want to understand all of the steps in the value chain, what data is collected at each one and what is passed onto the next. They aim to find out where this process is challenging and what the sensitivities are around it. In addition, they would like to discuss Extended Producer Responsibility including recent developments around digital product passports (DPP) and understand any concerns around these.

The Open Product Initiative is a collaborative project between Loughborough University, Open Data Manchester and Dsposal, with support from Tech UK and Buyerdock.

The aim is to explore the development of an open standard for batteries and EEE/WEEE data building on the work already conducted to develop the Open 3P standard for packaging data.

Workshops have a limited number of participants, but there will four workshops in total.

The Future of UK Manufacturing

Start date: 16 April 2024
End date: 17 April 2024
All-day event
Location: Cutlers' Hall, 7-15 Church Street, Sheffield, S1 1HG


At this event, the manufacturing research and innovation community will look ahead to future research priorities, investment areas and opportunities to support the growth of a resilient, industrially sustainable and balanced UK economy. Participants will be revisiting the developments in this area throughout the last decade – since the publication of the 2013 Manufacturing Foresight Report.

With leading figures from Government, academia, innovation agencies and industry attendees will:

  • Review the current successes, opportunities and challenges for UK manufacturing in the short, medium and long terms.
  • Understand the connected roles of manufacturing research and innovation in supporting the on-going development of UK manufacturing.
  • Design an approach for ensuring the on-going integration of manufacturing research and innovation activities so that UK manufacturing supports the achievement of net zero targets, delivering sustainable and balanced growth for the UK economy. 

The event will be held across two days at Cutlers Hall in the heart of Sheffield city centre – sessions will include presentations, panel discussions and workshops, with plenty of opportunities for open dialogue and networking. A networking reception and dinner will be held at Cutlers Hall on the evening of 16 April.

Engineering Supply Chain Show – MACH24

Start date: 16 April 2024
End date: 18 April 2024
Time: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: NEC, Birmingham


We're pleased to announce we'll be joining over 500 exhibitors with a presence at MACH24, as part of the Engineering Supply Chain Show 2024, co-located in Hall 6 of the NEC. Attendees will also have the chance to hear from InterAct Co-director, Professor Jan Godsell, as she discusses all things InterAct.

InterAct will be based on a stand located at 6-681 on the show floorplan, by the Seminar Theatre. We'll be engaging with businesses from across the manufacturing sector, sharing the latest insights and outputs from the fantastic range of projects we've funded.

As part of our participation, Professor Jan Godsell will be delivering a talk entitled 'From Human Insight to Human Action - InterAct and the Future of Manufacturing'. Taking place as part of the seminar programme on the Seminar Theatre stage from 14:00 - 14:30, Tuesday 16th April. This talk will provide an overview of our full programme of research. Professor Godsell will be highlighting some of the key themes of our work and showcasing how our insights can support sustainability, resilience, productivity and wellbeing.

Innovation Zero

Start date: 30 April 2024
End date: 1 May 2024
Time: 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Location: Olympia, London


This year InterAct will join over 250 exhibitors and more than 600 thought leaders and changemakers, speaking across 14 forums, at Innovation Zero 2024.

This is the UK's largest sustainability conference, held at the London Olympia for the second time on 30 April - 1 May 2024, alongside its new co-located event, Infrastructure Zero. 

This is a fantastic event for those interested in the intersection of business, new technology and net-zero ambitions.

InterAct will have a stand located on the floorplan at section 'G90' by the main stage. InterAct Co-director, Professor Jillian MacBryde will also be delivering a talk on all things InterAct, entitled: 'From Human Insight to Human Action - InterAct and the Future of Manufacturing'. You can hear her talk from 17:15 - 17:30, Tuesday 30th April at the Industry Forum stage.

Why attend?

This is a good opportunity to meet industry representatives from the Energy, Transport & Mobility, Industrial, Finance, Advanced Tech, Food & Agriculture, Oceans & Water, Communication, Aviation & Shipping, Carbon Markets, Minerals & Materials sectors.

Attendees will also be able to hear from senior policymakers across the world as they announce key strategic partnerships, global investment opportunities and new Paris Agreement-aligned initiatives.

The following themes run throughout all content forums:

  • Scaling clean technology
  • Financing the transformation
  • Low carbon leadership
  • Investing in green infrastructure
  • Innovative enabling policy
  • Circularity
  • Supply chains

Interactive tool webinar: new product verification, validation and testing

Date: 22 March 2024
Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: Online


Join The Open University and InterAct for the launch of a tool for designing customer and regulation focused verification, validation and testing (VVT) plans for your new product or technology development. This event aims to demonstrate why the industry should invest and how they can focus on critical product verification, validation, and testing activities focused on key “Voice of customer" (VoC) and “Voice of Regulation" (VoR) concerns.

Many low or zero-emission technologies for decarbonisation are still in prototype phases that need coordinated development and enhanced testing across different uses and stages of development (HM Government, 2021). However, new product/technology verification, validation, and testing processes are highly complex for both technology developers and the industry who want to adopt these technologies.

How will this event benefit attendees?

Join this session, where we’ll demystify the complex process with case studies, break down the steps of the VVT process, and demonstrate this process using an online interactive tool.

The tool will be freely available for the participants to use in their business context and provide feedback for further development. Participants will also be able to collaborate in future case studies, provide input on the research direction, and co-create useful solutions tailored to them.

Workshop – The future of medical technology manufacturing

Date: 27 March 2024
Time: 9:30 am - 3:30 pm
Location: The Manufacturing Technology Centre, Coventry


The InterAct Network and the West Midlands Health Technology Cluster will be coming together on Wednesday 27th March at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry to host a workshop examining the 'Future of Medical Technology Manufacturing'. In this workshop, we intend to take you through the foreseeable changes that lie ahead and work with you to develop the flexibility that will allow you to pivot to be equally productive and sustainable in different scenarios, delivering progress with purpose.

Who is this event for?

Manufacturers, suppliers, designers, technology providers, researchers, policymakers, finance providers, and legal advisers involved in the health and medical technology sector.

What will this event involve?

Participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Explore together the visions and future business models for the sector;
  • Jointly identify the drivers that we think will change the sector;
  • Identify the organisational changes required and how to prepare for them;
  • Suggest the broader ecosystem capabilities needed in readiness for this future;
  • Co-create a plan of action for the kinds of change everyone can invest in and trust.