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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P001246/1
Title: Network Plus: Industrial Systems in the Digital Age
Principal Investigator: Sharples, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Li, Professor Y Watson, Professor P
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Faculty of Engineering
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 September 2016 Ends: 31 August 2019 Value (£): 1,003,586
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Design Engineering Intelligent & Expert Systems
Manufact. Enterprise Ops& Mgmt Manufacturing Machine & Plant
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
15 Mar 2016 EPSRC ICT Prioritisation Panel - Mar 2016 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Industry and Manufacturing are changing with the advent of smart digital, autonomous and intelligent technologies. Values for manufacturers are changing from production to technological knowhow and design; ownership models are changing from outright ownership to collaborative and long term partnership; media are continuing their shift from physical to digital; there is an increasing focus on distribution of work and service; and the partnership between the manufacturing sector and the technology sector is increasingly key. This shift is taking place in the societal and business context of the UK in the 21st Century. In order to harness the potential from this shift, the changes in human skills, capabilities and working environments needs to be considered, alongside the development and change in business models that underpin industry and innovation.

European colleagues have responded to this notion with a systems approach by coining the term 'Industrie 4.0'(or Industry 4.0). Changes to future industrial systems in the digital age demands funded research in order to ensure that the UK is well placed within an international context to respond to the challenges presented from industry and to implement new science and engineering into real world systems as quickly and effectively as possible.

This proposal outlines a Network Plus activity that will bring together core colleagues from the Manufacturing, Digital Economy, Design, Human Factors and Business communities to build new collaborations between leading academics and industry partners. The network will move beyond Industry 4.0 to develop new 'state of the art' perspectives on future industrial systems, which will encompass technology advances, and human, business and social perspectives, to ensure a full understanding of the realities of implementing digital technologies into future industrial systems. There will be a particular focus on ensuring that challenges addressed within the Network Plus are driven by the current and future industrial context.

The Network Plus will a) identify relevant elements from these existing activities to conduct international benchmarking and establish the UK lead in specific elements of relevance to Future Industrial Systems in the Digital Age; b) enhance cross-sectorial learning; and c) identify new, discipline-bridging, agenda-setting opportunities for feasibility studies leading to scientific insight and future funding applications from national and international funders.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk