Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Innovative Manufacturing and Construction Research Centre

Research projects - knowledge repository

IMCRC research projects

The IMCRC grant has enabled Loughborough University to develop established areas of research and to develop new directions. The Advanced Manufacturing Research Strategy, developed through the IMCRC, includes seven themes:

These themes, together with the additional research strengths of the academic staff and the collaborative links established with academia and industry, have resulted in the University being increasingly recognised nationally and internationally as leaders in manufacturing research.

Selecting an area in the Research projects menu will list details of projects carried out during the period 2006 to 2011 and appropriate contact details.

Evolution of the IMCRC's research areas

The EPSRC Innovative Manufacturing Research (IMRC) model for research funding was based on providing groups of successful researchers with a stated sum of funding over an initial period of five years, subject to a monitoring system that ensured research focus and quality. Satisfactory performance would ensure a further five years funding. This model aimed to facilitate long term planning of research and greater continuity for both industry and academia. The IMCRC was successfully awarded funded for two periods: 2001 to 2006 and 2006 to 2011, and during that time completed over 200 research projects.

From the outset, the scope of the IMCRC was broad, bringing together a multidisciplinary group of over 40 academic staff members, from eight different departments and research institutes across the University. The focus of the Centre was 'innovative products and processes' and the surrounding cultural and human factors which support them. The target industrial sectors were those of manufacturing, construction, automotive, healthcare and sports goods.

The Centre was organised into three Research Units (Construction, Manufacturing, and Product and Customer Interface) with a defined group of academics for each of these. The vision was to be an internationally leading research centre, which maximised the economic and social benefit to the UK through a high performance manufacturing and construction sector. The scope of the Centre's research projects was determined by a mix of industry 'pull' to meet the foreseen needs, and 'technology push' where the academics believed the long-term focus would be. Many of the original projects had cross-cutting themes, which addressed a number of themes or sectors. One of the significant strengths of the Centre was that generic issues such as product development, process management or team working could be studied on a crosssectoral basis realising the synergies that exist within the knowledge of the staff.

In 2003 the Centre's research was reviewed by the EPSRC and the quality of the research endorsed. Following an independent review in 2004 suggestions for enhancing the research portfolio resulted in the formation of the three research units, being focused on five research themes:

As the research within the Centre progressed there were, inevitably, changes of focus but the original research areas have remained priority areas. The Additive Manufacturing Research Group (formerly the Rapid Manufacturing Research Group) established a world-wide reputation. The Sports Technology Research Group generated income and support to become one of the major research areas within the University. Healthcare research, including the major emerging technologies of Regenerative Medicine emerged as a major initiative and was supported by one of the first EPSRC Centres in Innovative Manufacturing. Construction research has extended to include new technologies and new areas of activity such as monitoring the energy performance of new buildings. With the increasing awareness of global warming and the need for a greater understanding of sustainability, a new theme emerged: Sustainable Manufacturing.

The Advanced Manufacturing research themes have evolved from the original portfolio of IMCRC projects.

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