The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council's (EPSRC) Manufacturing the Future theme has launched an opportunity to support a portfolio of Responsive Manufacturing research projects. The aims of the call are to:
- Support the novel research required to enable responsive manufacturing: processes that self-adjust and self-optimise in real time.
- Support research into responsive manufacturing processes with improved efficiency and optimised resource, asset use and interoperability, leading to more sustainable manufacturing systems.
- Develop responsive manufacturing technologies and processes (and/or combinations of technologies and processes) which will enable and form part of resilient manufacturing systems.
Proposals should target any current or future manufacturing system that is able to respond autonomously to emergent changes or disruption inside or outside the system and so contribute to its resilience and/or sustainability. Relevant changes could concern, for example: supply chain disruption or feedstock availability; workforce availability; output requirements such as product specifications; or uncertainty or error in one part of the manufacturing system. The main research focus must be within the factory or equivalent manufacturing setting; however, the responsive system may respond to changes inside or outside the factory.
Proposals must lie within the remit of the EPSRC Manufacturing the Future theme, focusing on fundamental research into the manufacturing technologies, the manufacturing process and/or its design and operation.
As this call is a targeted funding opportunity provided by EPSRC, eligible individuals from higher education institutions, and some research council institutes and independent research organisations may apply.
Inclusion of Project Partners is encouraged, although not a formal requirement. All applicants are however encouraged to think more broadly about industrial engagement, including building in plans to engage with a range of relevant manufacturing companies, including SMEs, throughout the project.
Grants may commence from April 2021 for a period of up to three years. Funding of up to £7 million is available for research projects, with proposals funded at 80% full economic cost (fEC). Although there is no stated limit to the amount of funding that can be applied for, applicants intending to request a particularly large grant of more than £2.5 million are strongly advised to contact EPSRC in advance.
Interested applicants should submit an outline proposal using the Research Councils' Joint electronic Submission (Je-S) System by the 11 August 2020 deadline.
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