The Institute of Manufacturing (IFM) provides an environment for the creation of new ideas and approaches to modern industrial practice. IFM is a part of the University of Cambridge, it brings expertise in management, technology and policy.

Working with business is fundamental to everything IfM do; their researchers work with industry to understand their challenges and to develop cutting-edge solutions to them; their student work in companies on real industrial problems; and their dissemination arm, IfM ECS, transfers new ideas developed  by IfM researchers to companies through consultancy and executive and professional development.

Research and practice networks

In some areas IfM have established networks in which companies can share their knowledge and experience in a non-competitive environment. These include:

  • The Strategic Technology and Innovation Management (STIM) Consortium is a practice-oriented research and networking collaboration between industrial member companies and the Centre of Technology Management
  • The IP interest group is for manufacturing companies where participants meet regularly to discuss IP related issues from a business perspective, such as technology acquisitions or how patent data can be used to identify development partners. The Strategic IP Forum is an open event for businesses from the Cambridge region and beyond  aimed CTOs, portfolio managers, VPs, Technology, Heads of Innovation/IP/Licensing.
  • The Open Innovation Forum in Food and FMCG brings  together a number of companies from different  stages  of the value chain to share best practice and explore ‘hot topics’.
  • The Digital Supply Chains Consortium enables  companies, using IfM frameworks and approaches, to share best practice and develop their capabilities in this rapidly changing.

Research Collaborations

They work with many  companies on a range of timescales. Some companies have built long-term relationships within them to collaborate on leading-edge research, for example with PhD students looking at fundamental topics of interest. Sometimes, there  will be contracts to fund Research Associates looking at more immediate issues, for example, the implementation of new technologies or capabilities. These programmes are managed by experienced academics and senior researchers who work closely with the company to establish the course for the collaboration and ensure it is delivered to a high standard.


IfM ECS has a team of Industrial Fellows, all with industrial experience at a senior level who work closely with IfM researchers to deliver solutions to companies in a number of key areas:

  • innovation and technology management
  • transforming global operations networks
  • making the shift to services
  • business strategy and business model innovation

Any profits made fund future research

Professional Development

IfM run bespoke executive and professional development programmes for manufacturing and technology companies to help them develop the  skills, knowledge and behaviours they need, particularly in this new digital era. They also run a range of open courses on key IfM research topics to support continuous professional development.

Student projects

Companies of all sizes – from multinational to SMEs – host student projects and benefit from the input of bright and highly motivated students. Either individually or in teams, the high calibre students, mentored by their lectures, address a significant organisational challenge and present a full report to the management team at the end of the project.

In recent projects, students have completely redesigned a company’s new product development process, proposed new ways of dealing with significant variance across a company’s fresh food product lines and created a plan for optimising the storage of large pre-cast concrete products across multiple sites.

The projects are carried out by students studying for the Industrial Systems, Manufacture and Management (ISMM).

To find out more about IfM please visit their website using the link provided  on the right hand side. Alternatively to contact a member of staff directly please use the contact information also provided on the right hand side.