Made Smarter Network+

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Business and Economics


The Made Smarter Network+ (MSN+) has two primary roles. To:

1. Develop and support the creation of an effective digital innovation ecosystem to accelerate the innovation and diffusion of Industrial Digital Technologies.
2. Ensure that the full range and depth of social and economic science insights are accessed across the Made Smarter challenge and wider UK manufacturing sector

This is an exciting £3.83m, 38 month programme of work that will commence on 1st November 2021 and end on 31st December 2024. The programme is led by the MSN+ co-directors Prof. Jan Godsell (Loughborough University) and Prof. Jill MacBryde (Strathclyde Business School) with support from a dedicated Network Management Team (network, communications and impact managers) and a core research team (from Loughborough, Strathclyde and Sheffield Universities). There are 5 key elements to the programme:

- Commissioned research programme - will provide the opportunity to curate, augment and amplify insights from the ESS to support the diffusion and adoption of IDTs. 5 different funding mechanisms have been adopted to broaden the appeal of the programme and increase participation. These include systematic reviews, small projects, a sandpit, Early Career Researcher (ECR) Fellowship programme, and an impact acceleration fund resulting in18 interdisciplinary projects.

- Knowledge exchange programme - is critical to the diffusion of ideas from the ESS to the policy makers, manufacturers and IDT providers who could benefit from the adoption of IDTs. The comprehensive programme includes a range of activities that amplify the core research programme (international webinars, discovery days, annual conference), provide education and insights (impact workshops, insight days, summer school), support academic publication (special tracks, journal special issue) and enable and amplify the diffusion of ideas (website and curation platform, mentoring programme, access to Emerald impact services).

- Core research programme - compliments the commissioned research programme base by addressing more systemic problems that require a longer term and more in-depth research. It has the additional benefit of providing a common purpose to galvanise the team. Future focused it considers the future of manufacturing ecosystems (Prof. Jan Godsell and Dr Alok Choudray, Lougborough), future of work (Prof. Jill MacBryde and Prof. Colin Lindsay, Strathclyde) and the future of the economy (Prof. Vania Sena and Prof. Philip McCann, Sheffield).

- Impact acceleration programme - there are lots of ESS insights currently in existence, that are not in a form that is easily accessible to policy makers, manufacturers and IDT providers. Researchers often lack the time and skills to turn their work into more accessible outputs. An impact acceleration programme has the dual benefit of building impact capacity within the ESS community whilst making the insights more accessible to end users.

- Storytelling fellowship programme - the ability to use storytelling as a methodology and form of dissemination is a key research skill for economic and social scientists. The storytelling fellowship programme has the dual benefits of building storytelling capacity within the ESS whilst using stories to make insights more accessible to the end users, the network and society at large.

Outputs from the programme are aligned to the Made Smarter business case. Conservatively through the core and commissioned research programmes alone, we deliver 19 new inter-disciplinary collaborations, 30 journal papers and 11 case studies.


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