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InterAct is a collaborative effort that aims to bring together economic and social scientists, UK manufacturers, and digital technology providers to address the human issues faced by employers resulting from the diffusion of new technologies in industry.

It seeks to “pioneer human insight for industry” and is a call to arms for academics from the social sciences to support the innovation and diffusion of digital technologies that will result in a stronger, more resilient UK manufacturing industry. Working alongside other partners within the wider Made Smarter community, the long-term vision is to build a strong, vibrant, interdisciplinary community to support UK manufacturing.

More on InterAct
  • Who should be interested in InterAct?
    • Economic and social scientists
    • Senior and early career researchers
    • Manufacturers
    • Digital technology providers
    • Industry-relevant policymakers
  • What are the benefits of InterAct?

    Economic and social scientists will benefit from the creation of an inclusive community that embraces diversity and finds innovative ways to inspire collaboration between economic and social sciences to enable more successful adoption of digital technologies. They will also have access to numerous funding opportunities, activities, and support mechanisms including:

    • Funded yearly systematic reviews.
    • Traditional calls for research grants of up to £60,000.
    • Sandpits and associated projects are funded to a maximum value of £90,000.
    • Early career researcher fellowships.
    • An ‘Impact Acceleration Programme’ providing the resources and support to create highly effective and engaging outputs from research projects.
    • Storytelling fellowships giving researchers the tools to deliver compelling stories around their subjects of expertise.

    Manufacturers will benefit from insights generated by research into the way that the economic and social sciences can support the successful adoption of digital technologies within their businesses. Policymakers will benefit from a more holistic view of the policy levers that may be able to support UK manufacturers to more successfully adopt digital technologies. Technology providers will benefit from the connection and improved access to manufacturers (potential end-users of technology) provided by the network and the positive reputational impact for their technology from research addressing potential issues that could arise from it.

    Other academic disciplines will benefit from the insights that the ESS community can provide to their domain. This will provide an opportunity for a cross-disciplinary investigation to complement existing discipline-based research e.g. engineering, manufacturing, computing, digital technology fields.

  • Who can get involved with InterAct?
    • Social or economic science researchers interested in investigating issues around the diffusion of technology in the manufacturing sector.
    • Manufacturing and digital technology businesses seeking research insights into the problems they face.
  • InterAct co-director quotes

    “Looking to the future, our aspiration for InterAct is to create a community, with clear added-value for all, where stakeholder groups want to engage and be part of the network. We will embed diversity and inclusivity. Diversity of thought will bring benefits of multiple perspectives. Inclusivity will help us to embrace and collaborate with existing research groupings, rather than compete with them.

    Participation will be based on expertise, not status, and we will seek to develop people at all stages of their careers. Our vision of success would be that the InterAct is seen as a partner of choice; easy to work with, welcoming, and professional. Ultimately, we would like to be a one-stop-shop that curates existing & emerging knowledge and capabilities, research and education, and showcases leading practice.”
    Interact co-director, Professor Jan Godsell of Loughborough University

    “Our long-term vision is to build a strong, vibrant, interdisciplinary community to support UK manufacturing in the adoption and development of digital technologies that will result in a stronger, more resilient, manufacturing base. We know that technology alone is not enough. We need to harness the knowledge of people and society to really reap the full benefits that technology can bring.

    Whilst there are clear advantages of this network for the economy, manufacturers, and technology providers, there are also benefits for the academic communities. Collaborative working, new challenges, and contexts will open up new avenues for world-leading research.”
    - InterAct co-director Professor Jill MacBryde of the University of Strathclyde

  • Find out more

    Visit contact the team at for more details on how to apply as well as for information on upcoming InterAct events.

    Social media:

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