Manufacturing and Business Research Centre

The Manufacturing and Business Research Cluster brings together specialist researchers in advanced materials, manufacturing and supply chains, working collaboratively with industry on applied research to drive solutions to reduce life-cycle waste, energy and carbon. The cluster works across multiple sectors from healthcare to transport and energy supply chains. Current areas of focus include:

Our aims

The aims of the Manufacturing and Business Research Cluster are to:

The research cluster takes a cross-disciplinary approach, working with materials and manufacturing specialists in a range of materials from bio-based composites to exotic hard and high entropy alloys. The cluster also works on design for manufacture and selection and development of manufacturing processes involving: additive, subtractive, composite and joining techniques, and pre and post processing.

These technical specialists work with business experts in supply chain and logistics, organisational psychology and develop decision support processes for life-cycle carbon and sustainability and system operations working closely with specialists in the Data Science Research Centre

Research Cluster Team

Our research

Better for the environment; the application of new coolants in manufacture

Since 2017, the Institute for Innovation for Sustainable Engineering (IISE) has partnered with 15 international suppliers of coolants, led by Rolls-Royce, to study metal working fluids (coolants) used in precision finish machining hard exotic alloys to make engine components. Coolant types include mineral oil-based, semi and fully synthetics and new bio-based formulations. We have developed a range of fully instrumented machining processes that simulate industrial production to evaluate their performance including ageing effects and life cycle assessment of GHG emissions of different coolant types.

Additive manufacturing and 3D printing to decarbonise manufacturing in transport, healthcare and power generation/transmission sectors

Since 2018, IISE has partnered with the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Trust to digitalise the design and manufacturing of custom-made rehabilitative wearable devices for patients in a zero-carbon polymer. We have used selective laser sintering (SLS) to 3D print ankle foot orthotics and prosthetic sockets which have been structurally tested with clinical trials on patients underway.

Reducing life-cycle carbon in manufacturing supply chains

The world is changing; there is a continued increase in consumption and degradation of finite natural resources as the global population and the impacts of human activities on the planet upsurge. The campaign and rationale to reverse the impact of these activities are already understood and driven by various sustainable development goals. This is in addition to the commitments and leadership of international standard organisations and world leaders.

Consistently, the traditional linear economy, in which material resources are turned into products, used and disposed of, is not sustainable. For example, the world’s consumption of raw materials is set to nearly double by 2060 as the global economy expands and living standards rise. This will place twice as much pressure on the environment than we are seeing today. A complete shift to a Circular Economy (CE) is needed.

This is where resources are kept in use for as long as possible, and will provide an opportunity for the UK to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity. It offers greater security of material supply, improved productivity, reduced depletion of natural resources, lower CO2 and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and reduced pollution and waste. However, the transition to a circularity in the supply chain requires the ability to reconfigure and understand whole systems change and business practices, influence behaviour, and deploy appropriate, ethically informed public policy and new business and engineering solutions.

This requires systems-wide thinking and coordinated action across business, government and society. Overcoming the barriers to transformation requires several key gaps to be addressed. The Circularity in the supply chain research can directly contribute to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals [SDG 8,9, 12, 13 and 17].

International academic research collaborations:

  • MUT (Warsaw, Poland), IPPT PAN (Warsaw, Poland), Lorraine (Metz, France), UC3M (Madrid, Spain), LSU (Baton Rouge, USA), IIITDM (Chennai, India) 

Industrial collaborations: 

  • Rolls-Royce and supply chain (15 coolant suppliers) 
  • Sponsored PhDs – Rolls-Royce, MTC and University of Derby  
  • NHS University Hospitals of Burton and Derby on manufacturing rehabilitative devices  
  • Premtech and National Grid on improving gas pipeline infrastructure resilience using additive manufacturing 
  • ATLAS – Horizon 2020 – Advanced design of high entropy alloys-based materials for space propulsion in collaboration with Politecnico di Milano, ARCEON, TiSics, QuesTek, Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft und Raumfahrt, YourscienceBC Ltd, DAWN Aerospace 
  • MATRIX – Horizon 2020 Clean Sky 2 in collaboration with NOESIS Solutions and Design Manufacturing SPA to develop improved methods to analyse composite materials suitability for SLP structures with the aim of reducing the impact on the required experimental testing campaign 
  • AETHER – IUK – adopts ground-breaking ICME simulation strategies aimed at improving material design and reliability of a cryogenic storage system
  • ARACHNE – NERC – aimed to test the feasibility of combining Oxford Advance Surface Technology’s proprietary Onto Carbene surface-based modification process in combination with M Wright and Sons properitary preform weaving technique and RTM method to manufacture carbon fibre reinforced plastics.  To improve the bonding to materials used in aerospace without slippage or separation
  • TMAP – IUK – Thermoplastic: Monomer to Automotive Parts in collaboration with Far-UK, M.Wright & Sons Limited, Oxford Advanced Surfaces Limited 

Join us

Whether you would like to join our research cluster, apply for a PhD, collaborate on research or simply find out more about our research, please contact the respective Cluster Member.


To discover more of our researcher's work, visit their staff profile or their ORCID profile:

  • Professor Paul Wood Under section ‘works’ 34 publications in the past 5 years on the topic machining, materials and additive manufacturing are listed.
  • Dr Mahmoud Shafik Under section ‘works’ more than 25 publications in the past 5 years on the topic AI, Industrial Automation and Robotics are listed.
  • Kapila Liyanage Under section ‘works’ more than 10 publications in the past 5 years on the topic on Sustainable Manufacturing, Sustainable Supply Chain and Circular Economy.