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Event Details
Date & Time

Monday, 03 October 2022

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The InterAct Network is a £4.4 million, Made Smarter Innovation funded, Economic and Social Research Council-led network that aims to bring together economic and social scientists, UK manufacturers, and digital technology providers to address the human issues resulting from the diffusion of new technologies in industry.

Now 10 months into the project, the InterAct team is offering exciting new opportunities for stakeholders to get involved with the programme. The two main upcoming avenues to engage with InterAct are the first Annual Conference and Open Funding Call.

Annual Conference:

The inaugural Annual Conference will take place on Monday 3 October 2022 at the IET Savoy Place in London. Tickets are free to book and can be secured through the InterAct website. The theme of the event will be ‘creating the digital manufacturing future we want’. To create the future digital manufacturing ecosystem we want, we need to work together and to combine our expertise from the broadest range of perspectives around this common goal, we need to InterAct.

By attending the InterAct conference, you are becoming part of the movement for change.  Actionable insights will be delivered through talks from 12 world-leading experts and provide the building blocks for a new approach to the future of digital manufacturing.  Participants will further shape these ideas through a storytelling workshop and co-creation of a series of ‘critical questions’, which will be posed to our expert panel.

Whatever your background, if you want to play a part in shaping the digital future of manufacturing, join the InterAct team on 3 October to:

  • Gain actionable human insights into the future manufacturing environment.
  • Network and build relationships with cross-sector experts interested in creating a positive, forward-thinking vision for UK industry.
  • Build your narrative development skills to enhance the reach of you messaging in the digital environment.
  • Take part in a collaborative workshop on the theme ‘How do we create the digital manufacturing futures we want to see, together’.
  • Engage with a panel of highly regarded speakers from the world of manufacturing, policy, and academia for an interactive Q&A session.
  • Learn more about the InterAct Network, our future development and funding opportunities.

Open Funding Call:

In addition to this event, the InterAct Open Funding Call is a chance for researchers to apply for up to £62,500 for research projects relating to the overall aims of Made Smarter Innovation and InterAct. The network will be accepting applications until 9 September 2022, with the insight driven outputs being made available towards the end of 2023.

Funding is available for eight projects that we believe will be of interest to the Made Smarter community.

Projects are welcomed from a broad range of economic and social sciences, that will create ‘actionable insights’ to support the delivery of the five MSI challenge objectives.

Potential project themes for exploration, could include:

  • Innovation Ecosystem: What is the role of IDTs in enabling an effective innovation ecosystem for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) at the core of UK manufacturing? What are the digital challenges are sector-specific and which are more general? How relevant is a sector perspective to the future manufacturing ecosystem?
  • Resilience, productivity, and sustainability: What is the role of digitalisation in enabling the trade-off between resilience, productivity, and sustainability within the UK manufacturing ecosystem? What is the behaviour change required to drive this change?
  • Resource efficiency and energy efficiency (REEE): What is the empirical evidence base to demonstrate the role of REEE in achieving Net Zero by 2050? What is the role of IDTs in supporting this goal? What are the barriers and drivers to adoption?
  • Business model innovation: What are the future business models required to enable more resilient, productive, and sustainable consumption and production? How can IDTs contribute to their development? How do we ensure that these are digitally secure?
  • Digital technology and wellbeing: Do IDTs support the health and well-being of manufacturing employees by improving their job quality? How can we encourage a more inclusive and healthier workplace in the future? 
  • Levelling up: What is the role of IDTs in ensuring a more equitable manufacturing ecosystem, regionally and nationally within the UK? Are there ideal conditions for a future digital manufacturing ecosystem to develop in certain clusters (i.e., does it matter where the digital technology is developed?) How will this affect the future of work in specific sectors or regions?
  • Resilient economy: What is the relationship between a resilient manufacturing ecosystem and a resilient economy? What role can IDTs in improving the resilience of the UK economy?

If you are interested in applying for funding you can find full details and download application documents on the Open Funding Call webpage.

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