Innovate UK Business Connect’s Manufacturing team helps manufacturers to innovate, and innovators to manufacture. We work with a broad spectrum of organisations, sectors and technology areas, advising on innovation and connecting to partners, experts, facilities and funding.

Digital manufacturing brings together new technologies such as AI, IIOT, additive manufacturing, robotics and automation, blockchain and immersive technologies. We are working with smart factories to drive improved productivity, efficiency, resilience and competitiveness. Together with Robotics & AI, Immerse UK and others we can make the right connections to cutting edge technology and knowledge, through Manufacturing Made Smarter on an impartial basis.

Product Innovation requires careful navigation of the design to manufacture journey. Successfully delivering a physical product to market (i.e one that requires manufacturing) presents challenges over and above those that non-manufactured products face. As well as technical knowledge and diversity of skills, expertise and strong relationships are key to driving change. We can share learning across our network and through our D2MGuide, and make the connections you’ll need to deliver on your innovation.

Sustainable, resilient manufacturing. The world is changing. Manufacturers are improving the products they make and the way they make them. This reduces our environmental footprint, increases resource efficiency and creates competitive advantage. Energy efficiency, circular economy, remanufacturing and industrial symbiosis are all areas we specialise in as a team.

We help manufacturers and innovators to improve their processes across all these areas by making impartial connections, across the UK and globally, with the right partners, suppliers and funding channels including Innovate UK and other funding sources.

Our current focus in this area

Advancement in additive manufacturing technologies has seen the evolution of 3D printed parts move rapidly, providing the opportunity for new innovation within the manufacturing world. As companies can now design for additive manufacturing to complement traditional manufacturing processes, there has been a huge shift in its use, particularly within aerospace, medical, transport, energy and consumer products.

Digital manufacturing promises improved productivity, sustainability, resilience and the creation of high value jobs. The industrial digital technology (IDT) innovator seeking to make an impact in the physical world stands to benefit from the transformation of UK manufacturing.

Turning an idea into a scalable, commercial product is a challenge that faces many entrepreneurs, innovators and SMEs. Developing a new product, new functionality or new customer experience can be difficult and success may not always happen. 97% of hardware startups fail (compared with 70% of tech start-ups).

The world is changing at an ever greater pace, and manufacturers are responding – improving the products they make and the way they make them. This enables reduced environmental footprint and improved resource efficiency, but also creates benefits such as competitive advantage and a closer alignment with the customer’s needs.

Related Opportunities

Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF) Phase 3: Spring 2024

Opens: 29/01/2024 Closes: 19/04/2024

Grant funding for feasibility and engineering studies, and for the deployment of industrial energy efficiency and deep decarbonisation projects.

More Information

Made Smarter Manufacturing: Lighthouse Funding February 2024

Opens: 19/02/2024 Closes: 15/03/2024

Lighthouse Projects will enable SMEs to embark on a smart manufacturing journey, de-risking major investment yet enabling growth.

More Information

Innovation Exchange challenge: Systems to measure and understand power usage at machine level

Opens: 03/01/2024 Closes: 23/02/2024

Toyota would like to be able to monitor their equipment at a very local level to get an understanding of how much energy is being used and when.

More Information

Innovation Exchange challenge: Replacing large air systems with localised drive systems

Opens: 03/01/2024 Closes: 23/02/2024

Toyota would like to get a view of electric driven replacements for their air driven equipment; this may include cylinders, actuators, and other pressure equipment.

More Information

APC25: Industrialising net zero automotive technology

Opens: 15/01/2024 Closes: 13/03/2024

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £25m for late-stage R&D to accelerate the UK towards a net zero automotive future.

More Information

Global Business Innovation Programme: Semiconductors, Taiwan

Opens: 08/02/2024 Closes: 22/03/2024

Innovate UK invites ambitious companies in the Semiconductors sector to join a programme with Taiwan that will include two visits and a showcase.

More Information

Related Events and Recordings


Materials for Future Economy Workshop Series

10.00 - 12.00 | Online

Register for this event

Industrial Energy Transformation Fund Phase 2 - Technology Showcase

10.00 - 15.00 | Manchester

Read more
See all events

Our Experts

Related News

Smart Factory Expo 2023: putting manufacturing at the heart of the future


Smart Factory Expo 2023: putting manufacturing at the heart of the future

Smart Factory Expo is an industry leading manufacturing exhibition showcasing the latest digital innovations in technology, processes and thinking beyond Industry 4.0.

Read more
Resource Efficiency for Materials and Manufacturing feasibility study competition winners announced


Resource Efficiency for Materials and Manufacturing feasibility study competition winners announced

This month Innovate UK announced the 20 participants selected to take part in the Resource Efficiency for Materials and Manufacturing (REforMM) feasibility study competition.

Read more
More News

Related programmes

Transforming Medicines Manufacturing

Transforming Medicines Manufacturing

Innovate UK’s Medicines Manufacturing programmes aim to drive the de-risking and adoption of highly innovative flexible, agile and scalable manufacturing technologies through a culture of collaboration that will drive the growth of this critically important manufacturing sector.

Made Smarter | Innovation Network

Made Smarter | Innovation Network

From 2021 to 2025, Innovate UK Business Connect will be working on behalf of UKRI to join communities together to transform UK manufacturing. Join the Made Smarter Innovation Network and help us drive positive change.

For general enquiries regarding our Manufacturing sector contact us now


Connect with Innovate UK Business Connect

Join Innovate UK Business Connect's mailing list to receive updates on funding opportunities, events and to access Innovate UK Business Connect's deep expertise. Please check your email to confirm your subscription and select your area(s) of interest.