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This is a series of funding calls that invites and encourages powerful collaborations to submit funding applications for joint project work.

These can unite partners of all sizes, with various skill sets. For instance, they can span technology development organisations working in the likes of additive manufacturing and machine learning, and manufacturing businesses in sectors such as pharmaceutical, food production, aerospace, and textiles.

More about the Made Smarter Collaborative R&D
  • Who is it for?

    You’d be perfect for the Made Smarter Innovation programme’s Collaborative R&D initiative if:

    • You’re taking technology solutions from the research phase and refining them in manufacturing settings
    • Your aim is to bring about solutions that are ready for industrial deployment
  • How does it work?

    Businesses work in close partnership over a period of up to two years to develop, test and refine these digital technologies – ultimately leading to solutions that aim to solve the biggest challenges in manufacturing.

    It all starts with a call. Head over to our Innovation Opportunities page for a list of the most recent calls.

  • What are the benefits?

    The main advantages are:

    • Bringing together the whole manufacturing industry
    • Producing cutting-edge solutions which tackle manufacturing’s greatest challenges
  • Get involved

    Find out more about this initiative on our Innovation Opportunities page or contact a member of the Innovate UK Business Connect team to get involved.

    Made Smarter Innovation: Sustainable Smart Factory
    Play your part and support Innovation in digital technologies to reduce environmental impact within manufacturing processes.

    For more information click here

    If you’re in any way involved in the UK manufacturing sector, then we’d love for you to join our growing community sign up here.

MSI Showcase – Collaborative R&D Project Event
Collaborative R&D Projects
  • Fully Distributed Systems – Ltd.

    SIMPLE – Smart InforMation PLatform and Ecosystem for Manufacturing

    CR&D Competition Type: Manufacturing Made Smarter Round 1 (Fast Start)

    A fundamental challenge in deploying effective digital capabilities is the integration of systems within and across the operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) layers of manufacturing organisations. This integration is currently hindered by either a lack of identifiable frameworks, design methods and engineering tools (technology diversity and fragmentation) or by the cost, complexity and long term strategic lock-in associated with the adoption of proprietary and monolithic commercial solutions. The SIMPLE project applies innovative software technology to address this need, proving the resultant solution in a practical and widely applicable industrial form.

    The SIMPLE platform will allow better monitoring and optimisation of their manufacturing operations by facilitating the collection of this core data set. The SIMPLE solution will also provide an open and scalable platform to stimulate the deployment of data centric application ecosystems, facilitating the development of wider digital capabilities in UK manufacturing organisations. The SIMPLE platform will benefit manufacturing SMEs in particular, as they lack either the skills to effectively take advantage of the currently fragmented technological landscape, or to invest in large integrated engineering solutions.

    The SIMPLE platform will focus on providing robust and scalable data models and reinforce the use of those models throughout the production system lifecycle and across all domains of engineering and production management. The platform will materialise as a combination of software components, web services, a design framework (recommendations, rules and guidelines) as well as a technology deployment road map for software and hardware technologies.

    The blend of organisations in the SIMPLE project's consortium guarantees that there will be a very strong incentive to achieve rapid deployment and validation of the solution (in the project end-user production environment), and to engage with and achieve commercialisation of the SIMPLE product across other domains of industry, agritech and construction in particular, in which commercial opportunities have already been identified.

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  • PragmatiC Semiconductor Ltd.

    SORT-IT: Increase plastic food and drink packaging recycling rates for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) - Using ultra low cost electronics to enable new methods of waste identification and sorting.

    CR&D Competition Type: Manufacturing made smarter: digital supply chain, feasibility studies

    The current F&D packaging supply-chain is well connected and tracked from feedstock to retailer outlets due to the need for food safety and stock control. However, beyond the retailer, the packaging supply-chain through the consumer, waste collection, recovery and recycling is very limited. Many challenges exist in separating recyclable, non-recyclables, compostables, and contaminates in F&D waste streams.


    This SORT-IT feasibility-study would analyse and evaluate the feasibility of digitalisation and intelligent automation in the F&D packaging supply-chain for waste-management through tagging technology to facilitate the tracking and sorting of packaging waste.


    Our vision is that, following later industrial-research, SORT-IT would increase the environmental and economic sustainability of the F&D packaging-manufacturing supply-chain, by enabling transition to a circular economy, drastically increasing recycling rates for food-grade plastics, and enabling packaging re-use.


    Implementing tagging technology should enable:

    • Increased rate of recycling and output of high-quality feedstock (including food-grade plastic) from waste.
    • Re-use.
    • Brand-owners to track packaging and recycling rates for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
    • Low-cost Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) linked to consumer accounts through reverse vending machines and identification at materials recovery facilities (MRFs).
    • Greater consumer engagement with brands through transparency of green credentials.
    • Reduction of plastics going to landfill or entering land or aquatic environments.


    The research would build on the unique technology for the manufacture of low-cost electronics (<1p) in very high-volumes (billions p.a.) by PragmatIC and link with the growing technologies of collaborative-automation, Industry 4.0 and machine-learning to tag and track packaging with unique identifiers.


    The tags would provide individual items with unique identifiers readable by RFID and NFC equipment, including smartphones; information would be exchanged via internet-enabled systems to cloud-storage to facilitate supply-chain tracking and consumer engagement. MRFs would employ multiple RFID readers in conjunction with low-cost vision systems to locate items and drive fast robotic-pickers and collaborative robotic arms to sort and separate packaging waste efficiently and safely.


    This feasibility-study would be led by PragmatIC working with Sheffield University's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC-Cymru) guided by an Industrial-Advisory-Board. PragmatIC is a high-growth innovation-driven SME, headquartered in Cambridge, with a billion-unit production-facility in Sedgefield, County Durham.

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  • Intelevita Ltd.

    REMP - Remanufacturing E-Marketplace for a Circular Digital Supply Chain

    CR&D Competition Type: Manufacturing made smarter: digital supply chain, feasibility studies

    Remanufacturing returns end-of-life (EOL) products to a like-new functional state with matching warranty, thus, extending product service life (200% to 300%), capturing residual value from EOL components and providing superior economic and environmental benefits compared to traditional Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) new production. Remanufacturing can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 80% in appropriate sectors, reduce new material requirements(costs) by a similar amount and create employment through increasing skilled labour hours by up to 120% [IRP 2018] while still reducing overall cost.


    However, despite these triple-win benefits the UK remanufacturing industry is still at its infancy, e.g. the ratio of remanufacturing to manufacturing is strikingly low, only at around 2% (ERN 2015). In addition, almost 98% of remanufacturers are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) [SIR 2020] and struggle with inadequate resources to establish their brand, limited access to cores (used products as starting material for remanufacturing) and scarce sales channels to reach their customer base. Crucially the sector has an image problem and customers do not trust the quality of remanufactured products. Furthermore, as a result of significant inefficiencies and inhibitive costs arising from small scale remanufacturing volumes, remanufacture is often abandoned in favour of other lower value end-of-life processes such as recycling of the materials.


    SMEs have benefited greatly from the Electronic Marketplace Places (EMPs) such as eBay and Amazon which introduce the network effect of bringing together market participants so that increasing numbers of customers to attract a greater number of merchants and partners, and vice versa. However, such EMPs are not suitable for remanufactured products as they do not address the fundamental issue facing remanufacturing, namely a lack of quality control for remanufactured products and intermittent access to cores.


    With an initial focus on automotive components, our project will develop a new concept of an EMP tailored for remanufactured products specifically one that is embedded with quality assurance mechanisms, blockchain and data analytics capability to enable remanufacturers to benefit from plug-in, modular, scalable services without the constraints of funding the full costs of a platform business up front, and access to cores, new markets and distribution channels via the platform.


    REMP will bring many benefits to the nascent remanufacturing industry: It creates and captures value along the supply chain and passes the benefits on to customers. A successful REMP will catalyse growth in sustainable use of materials through remanufacturing.

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  • Simply Do Ideas Ltd.

    Diverse Supply Chain Programme (DiSC)

    CR&D Competition Type: Manufacturing made smarter: digital supply chain, feasibility studies

    The benefits of having access to and adopting innovative Industrial Digital Technologies (IDTs) is well recognised. The Industrial Digitalisation Review (2017) states that over 10 years, industrial digitalisation could boost UK manufacturing by £455bn, increasing sector growth up to 3% per year; creating a net gain of 175,000 jobs while reducing CO2 emissions by 4.5%. However, access and adoption of IDTs within UK manufacturing (e.g. OEMs) remains a challenge due to the perceived risks of engagement with new suppliers (e.g. SMEs) and new digital products.

    The feasibility study will explore the identified problems of sifting, vetting, and engaging innovative start-up & SMEs in supply chains, and the related time, cost, and risk for suppliers of sharing intellectual property when engaging with larger organisations. The problem of lack of diversity in supply chains and intellectual property disclosure has been identified by Simply Do Ideas' manufacturing customer base, which includes global manufacturing organisations.

    The exploration of these identified problems will lead to exploration of an Industrial Digital Technology (IDT) that, in advance of contracting, (1) allows the manufacturer to automatically find companies based on search functionality, (2) indicate key supplier capabilities, (3) contact/engage suppliers before (4) automatically dealing with intellectual property management. This includes potential exchange of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and other forms of template contracting using new IDTs such as blockchain, which has huge potential for further R&D (Lawyer Monthly, 2020).

    The intended digital product will allow manufacturers to search, sift, pre-qualify and engage the latest start-ups & SMEs reducing the time, cost and risk of integrating these suppliers into their supply chain. In adopting these new transparent technologies to manage supplier engagement and contractual elements of the process will increase the number of innovative companies engaging and providing solutions for manufacturing industries. Thus delivering further collaboration to support a bridge across the "valley of death" to commercialise more of SMEs groundbreaking research, increasing the number of collaborations between large and small companies within the value chain (HMGov, 2015).

    This project will deliver both underpinning research and early-stage innovative digital development. The focus is on creating both new supply chain networks and optimising existing ones. The project will ensure clear outputs in that the problem is better understood whilst providing ideas for potential innovative digital solutions. It is anticipated that an industrial research project application will follow on from a successful feasibility study.

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  • Treegreen Ltd.

    Data-Driven Luminaire Remanufacture Supplychain

    CR&D Competition Type: Manufacturing made smarter: digital supply chain, feasibility studies

    EGG Lighting and Reath are investigating a luminaire data management system to accelerate and de-risk the industry's transition to "remanufacture not replace". This system will keep a "digital twin" for every light, providing any approved remanufacturer the necessary information on-demand. This digital technology will enable the UK lighting industry to remanufacture and upgrade good-quality luminaires instead of recycling used lights and importing more new ones -- saving 60 tonnes of waste per year by 2025.

    With Reath's asset data management system, luminaire remanufacture can be safe, compliant, 30-40% cheaper and 50% less environmentally damaging than buying new lights. At a time when businesses are looking to reduce capital and energy costs as well as environmental impact through circular economy practices, this project will urgently overcome the barriers to adoption across the UK lighting industry. The approach will enable approved remanufacturers to easily share data with previous and future users, suppliers and retailers; de-risking and streamlining the remanufacture process and strengthening their confidence in adopting circular economy business models.

    Remanufacturing is the best available technique in the circular economy and restores luminaires to new condition or better - with a warranty and guarantee to match. This approach will create at least 15 full-time jobs by 2025 and generate revenue from this undervalued waste stream -- simultaneously giving more businesses access to affordable, sustainable and high-quality lighting.

    As well as reducing waste and saving costs, data-driven remanufacture strengthens the domestic supply chain by retaining value in the local economy. This encourages a move towards high-quality luminaires; which the UK industry excels at but are often substituted by cheaper imported products. With climate change and the covid-19 pandemic, it's more important than ever that we look for innovative sustainability and cost-saving solutions to make our supply chains smarter, more resilient and less wasteful.

    This study aims to measure the value of the proposed digital technique and its ability to mitigate the technical, economic, logistic and compliance challenges the remanufacturing supply chain will encounter at scale, as well as defining the resources required to develop to market and implement this system.


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  • ATS Applied Tech


    CR&D Competition Type: Manufacturing Made Smarter Round 1 (Fast Start)

    International competitiveness requires the UK to modernise its industrial capabilities, which are steering industries towards widespread development and adoption of automation, and autonomous based solutions. These technologies have the potential to create novel and disruptive manufacturing capabilities leading to significant improvements in quality, accuracy, precision, and cost to manufacture.

    High integrity welding is a key enabling technology for UK manufacturing and the purpose of WeldZero is to develop and showcase the benefits of adopting intelligent welding robotic system solutions within a cyber-physical production system (CPPS).

    The WeldZero project will develop and showcase the benefits of digital technologies applied to welding operations in an industrial manufacturing context to support a zero defect strategy. By bringing together state-of-the-art data integration approaches and data handling with real-world manufacturing to work to the achievement of zero defects in a multi-stage production line. This will prove the effectiveness of digital welding and accelerate the wider adoption of the new Industry 4.0 strategies in the existing manufacturing systems -- improving the competitiveness of the UK.

    The system created will be based around a data rich manufacturing environment whereby both direct machine control and feedback can be collated and processed in real-time. Coupled to this system will be a number of additional technology applications such as weld toolpath planning and simulation, advanced sensor integration and control algorithms, machining learning and data analysis. This will then feedback into specific welding cell control systems to substantially improve manufacturing performance.

    The project will demonstrate the impact of WeldZero using four different welded product applications from the construction, automotive and off-shore manufacturing sectors; each using different welding process solutions; with the aim of increasing productivity by at least 40%.

    WeldZero contributes to all key innovation areas under the Manufacturing Made Smarter competition:

    1. Smart connected factory: application and use of use of real-time data to optimise operational efficiency capture, analysis and visualisation of manufacturing processes.
    2. Connected and versatile supply chain: Full process information integration, communication and traceability are a key aspects of WeldZero.
    3. Design, make, test, including: Primarily contributing to virtual product testing, verification and validation, quality monitoring and inspection -- in the context of weld processing and manufacturing sequencing design.
    4. Adaptable, flexible manufacturing operations: Enable adoption of advanced welding technologies in a human-centric automation and autonomy, enabling flexible manufacturing systems.

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  • Proctor & Gamble Technical Centres Ltd.

    ARGUS - Accelerating MICROBIAL innovation and transformation

    CR&D Competition Type: Manufacturing made smarter: digital supply chain, feasibility studies

    Protecting Home & Personal Care products (such as laundry detergents, shampoos and cosmetics) from problematic microbes is a critical factor in the design of products, manufacturing systems and integrated supply chains.

    The industry is increasingly seeking to introduce new, more biodegradable materials, reduce environmental footprints and increase the agility and resilience of these supply chains. However, current microbiology-based test methods for assuring product quality are too slow and lacking in diagnostic power to catalyse these supply chain transformations.

    ARGUS aims to create a real-time measurement solution to detect microbes at key points across the supply chain, and identify pinch points in production systems for targeted cleaning where microbial accumulation is more likely to occur. No longer reliant on offline testing, these instantaneous measures of material quality and supply chain health could combine to create digital Certificates of Analysis enabling frictionless movement of materials, lower cost operation, and acceleration of innovative new products to market.

    This Feasibility Study will evaluate the potential of three Industrial Digital Technologies to enable this transformation -- sensors for in-line microbial count across the supply chain, sensors for material accumulation points in static production systems, and digital Certificates of Analysis. Taking an established UK Home & Personal Care supply chain as a case study, it will characterise critical supply chain design criteria, assess potential value of these new technologies and propose a path through Industrial Research to market. It supports UK Government strategy to increase adoption of and create markets for Industrial Digital Technologies, amplify supply chain collaborations between larger and smaller companies, and increase resilience and sustainability of operations, ultimately helping to meet the UK's 2050 Net Carbon Zero target.

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  • SafetySpect UK Ltd.

    Quality and Freshness Assurance for Dynamic Pricing in the Seafood Supply Chain

    CR&D Competition Type: Manufacturing made smarter: digital supply chain, feasibility studies

    SafetySpect UK, Ltd. was founded to develop and commercialize advanced optical sensing technologies for applications in food safety, quality, adulteration, and traceability for the UK and European markets. Working with our partners at the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen's University Belfast, we are developing new tools to improve the way seafood is brought to market. Our advanced multi-mode spectral detectors and AI algorithms use optical signatures of chemical fingerprints to verify the species of seafood, its quality, and remaining shelf life. Integrated with a digital platform using blockchain and dynamic pricing technology, these tools will support the modernization of the UK fishing and seafood processing industries and provide accurate information to consumers about the sustainability, freshness, and quality of their seafood purchases.

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  • Miralis Data Ltd.

    Goods-as-a-Service - Feasibility with pallets

    CR&D Competition Type: Manufacturing made smarter: digital supply chain, feasibility studies

    The aim of this feasibility study is to prove that substantial efficiency gains, cost reductions, productivity improvements and vehicle emission reductions can be achieved through the implementation of a 'Goods as a Service' solution to replace the inefficiencies created through standard ordering.

    'Goods as a Service' uses the implementation of forecasting techniques and inventory routing to enable the manufacturer to predict the quantity of goods required by the purchaser / retailer. If such forecasting is accurately and consistently delivered then it removes the need to order goods, with the significant inefficiencies this creates as orders and expectations change.

    Miralis Data have worked with manufacturers around the world to optimise their logistics and supply chains and firmly believe that 'Goods as a Service' could revolutionise how supply chains operate. To deliver this they have partnered with CHEP, a global leader in the provision of pallets to move goods across the supply chain. They work closely with customers in the UK and all the major retailers.

    The first goods to be tested in the 'Goods as a Service' solution are CHEP's own pallets. These pallets enable the movement of billions of items of goods from manufacturers to retailers. Creating a solution where pallets are delivered and collected optimally without the need for the customer to order would transform CHEP's own business, as well as the thousands of customers it serves.

    Once proven, the solution could be turned into a technology platform and delivered into FMCG manufacturers in the UK and around the world for the benefit of them and their retail customers.

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  • Croda Europe Ltd.

    Delivering Digital Ingredient Transparency for Personal Care sector.

    CR&D Competition Type: Manufacturing made smarter: digital supply chain, feasibility studies

    The world has changed markedly with respect to transparency and need to know in the last years, particularly in relation to Personal Care formulated goods. Market trends for; cruelty-free, biodegradable, natural, 'free-from', coupled with increased social media and online influencers, growth in independent cosmetic companies and the need for established formulators to protect their brand image has meant "what" a product is, what it contains, and where it came from is as important as "how does it work".

    This project will explore the feasibility of developing a digital supply chain platform that is accessible to all in the Personal Care supply chain which furnishes Brand Owners with the data they require to support consumer needs. The platform will be developed by a UK-based technology start-up working with to UK based manufacturing companies producing specialty ingredients for Personal Care sector.

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  • Crossword Cybersecurity PLC

    A New Approach to Manufacturing Supply Chain Risk Management

    CR&D Competition Type: Manufacturing made smarter: digital supply chain, feasibility studies

    In this project we plan to devise a completely new way of managing risk in Supply Chains, supported by independent technology that allows very safe assurance and risk data sharing controlled by each participant in the Supply Chain. We will exploit this new methodology and data sharing mechanisms in our Third Party Risk Management software product, Rizikon Assurance, and will use the new thinking to treble our market share and generate significant new revenues.

    Suppliers have long been a huge source of risk for manufacturers of all types. With the business disruption caused by Covid-19, and new trade rules and tariffs being negotiated on an unprecedented scale, this risk is only increasing, possibly rapidly.

    At the same time, very few manufacturers successfully manage risk in their Supply Chains. In conversations with over 100 Senior Procurement and Supplier Management Managers, we have not encountered a single organisation satisfied with their visibility and management of Supply Chain Risk. Most do not know many of their suppliers past Tier One, except possibly on a small number of goods with mandatory or scarcity-driven traceability.

    This is because Tier One suppliers are generally unwilling or unable to share risk information about their sub-suppliers because of confidentiality, or competitive reasons. It can also be because there are no standard methods or technical standards that support sharing of Supplier Risk and Assurance information. There may well be many other reasons, which we intend to explore.

    We will carry out research to find out what is stopping organisations fully manage Supply Chain Risk. We will then propose new methods of identifying, visualising and managing Supply Chain Risk, data transfer standards and data sharing platforms to address this critical, systemic problem.

    The main deliverables we will publish along with our partners at Liverpool John Moores University for all in the Supply Chain Risk industry and wider UK economy to benefit from.

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  • Autolomous Ltd.

    Empowering the NHS advanced therapies ordering prototype IT system with Manufacturing insight from an electronic batch manufacturing system.

    CR&D Competition Type: Manufacturing made smarter: digital supply chain, industrial research

    Autolomous is a company founded by Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP)- and software development experts, who have combined their skills to deliver elegant solutions to the ATMP supply-chain. The company is creating a platform of software solutions to enable the scheduling of the patient for collection of their cells in a hospital; the transport of those cells to the production site; the tracking of the manufacturing process to meet regulatory obligations of production; the legal release of the medicine; and the scheduled delivery of the patient-specific medicine to the hospital in time to meet the on-going treatment of the patient. The software will enable increased automation of the process (increase efficiency necessary due to the time sensitiveness of this type of treatment), reducing the risk of errors (Right-First-Time, RFT) and ensuring that the correct product is returned to the right patient (The wrong product going to the wrong patient is catastrophic; in the best case the medicine won't work, in the worst case it will kill the patient).

    ATMPs are at the frontline of personalised medicines and are already driving remarkable changes in clinical practice across multiple fields of medicine, including new cancer therapies, regenerative treatments, and enhanced wound healing. Nearly all ATMPs are made from a patient's own cells, creating a truly personalised medicine targeted at their specific disease. This makes the manufacture and supply uniquely challenging, unlike any other type of medicine, making these therapies very expensive. The first ATMP for cancer treatment was Kymriah, produced by Novartis, costing £275k per dose in the UK. One recent gene therapy ATMP for a blood disorder costs $1m per treatment. Most of this is the cost of manufacture.

    Ordinary drugs don't require the drug company to organise the collection of patient cells, transfer to the manufacturing site, a complex manufacturing process, testing of a batch which will only treat one patient, and then the precisely timed delivery of the therapy back to the hospital in time to treat the same patient in line with their existing treatment pathway.

    This project aims to enhance/build upon existing ATTC infrastructure through enhancement of the NHS ATMP ordering system (NHS-ATOP) with manufacturing insights, further increasing the robustness of the scheduling and maximising the utilisation of expensive GMP manufacturing resources and facilitate Right-First-Time (RFT) ATMP manufacturing within the NHS ATMP process.

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  • SupplyVue Ltd.

    CarbonVue - integrated carbon and productivity end-to-end supply chain management.

    CR&D Competition Type: Manufacturing made smarter: digital supply chain, industrial research

    This project will be led by SupplyVue, with the support of CarbonChain and WMG to develop a new digital platform, CarbonVue, for adoption by UK manufacturers. It will provide visibility of carbon in the end to end supply chain, enable integrated real time carbon and productivity management, and provide a framework to foster greater collaboration, in order to reduce carbon emissions.

    The core innovation in this project is a system that will attribute carbon impact to each individual supply chain activity (every make or move operation), using a mass balance approach to generate an absolute measure of carbon per kg of product -- akin to the calorie measure of food.

    Manufacturers face a major challenge to deliver the UK's Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 commitment. Achieving Net Zero by 2050 will require businesses to make carbon a central tenant of managing their supply chains, adding to the classic management of cost, quality and service. Supply chain efficiency and carbon emission management need to be managed together, but this joined-up capability is currently not available.

    Poor supply chain collaboration is a barrier to end to end efficiency and low carbon cost. Our novel approach to improving supply chain collaboration is to use the measurement of carbon: independent of cost, but is a measure of efficiency, and can act as a point of arbitrage. This will enable conversations on how to re-configure the supply chain without having to share sensitive cost information. Unifying the supply chain partners against a common low carbon goal.

    CarbonVue will be tested by Tata Steel and GKN to optimise the flow of product between their businesses, showing how better collaboration can empower suppliers to add value for better outcomes for all. Babcock International will provide specific insights for product development from their sector and their position at the top of a supply chain with many SMEs, in preparation for a future deployment project.

    The need for the UKs' manufacturing sector to be more productive and to reduce carbon emissions is a clear imperative but improvement is slow and needs a catalyst. This project has that potential, but the approach needs to be proven. The funding from InnovateUK will enable this project to proceed, will make the development more efficient and effective, and provide a much faster route to market and scale by providing a validated credible industrial reference.

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