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“Today we are presented with a unique opportunity to rewrite the rules of manufacturing created by the advancement of digital technologies”
Prof. Svetan Ratchev – Director of Research Centre for Connected Factories

What is the Research Centre for Connected Factories? 

The centre aims to develop a blueprint for the factories of the future that will be able to respond to changing market requirements by being resilient, adaptable, and reconfigurable. The centre is led by the University of Nottingham in collaboration with the Universities of Cambridge and Sheffield and funded by EPSRC and the Made Smarter challenge.


The future prosperity of the UK will increasingly depend on building and maintaining a resilient and sustainable manufacturing sector that can respond to changing supply and demand by adapting, repurposing, relocating and reusing available production capabilities. The pandemic which emerged in 2020 has influenced our perspective of future manufacturing operations and, in particular, has brought into focus the capacity challenges of delivering critical products and maintaining production in the face of major disruptions. It also accelerated the emerging trend for more localised, greener and cost-competitive indigenous manufacturing infrastructure with the ability to produce a wider set of complex products faster, better and cheaper. To meet the long-term structural and post-pandemic challenges, we need transformative new methods of building and utilising future factories by embracing complexity, uncertainty and data intensity in a dynamic and rapidly changing world.


The research will deliver the concept of the “connected morphing factories" as a platform for next-generation resilient connected manufacturing services where manufacturing operations to be delivered by ubiquitous production units that can be easily repurposed, relocated and redeployed in response to changing market demand.

IFAM research photos at the University of Nottingham. Photos by Alex Wilkinson Media (112

Project Overview

Find out more about the Research Centre for Connected Factories.

More Information

More about the Research Centre for Connected Factories 

Who should be interested?

Primary Audience:


Manufacturing Companies (small, medium and large) who are looking at introducing digital technologies or have experienced challenges when implementing digital technologies.

Our specific focus is on low volume high complexity products with variable demand.



  • Industry

  • Government

  • Trade Unions

  • Employees

Who can get involved?

The centre has three levels:

  • Key strategic partner (help shape the research),

  • Partners (provide data, case studies, test beds etc)

  • Members (kept informed of the research).

The level people/organisations join at will depend on the resources they are willing to commit, their needs, and how these relate to the research streams the centre is working on.


To help the Research Centre for Connected Factories gather information on organisations interested in reaching out to their Research Centre, please use the Contact Us section below.

What are the benefits? 

The overall aim of the Centre is to create the next generation of factories in the UK to make manufacturing more efficient, adaptive, resilient, and robust in the uptake of digital technologies. The centre supports different businesses in their digital transformation and aims to impact the wider society in delivering significant economic, societal, and environmental benefits from its research.

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