The Innovative Manufacturing GRP’s core areas of circular economy, agricultural manufacturing and industrial biotechnology are all aligned to national and international priorities for both industry and society. The Innovative Manufacturing GRP brings together engineers, chemists, physicists, computer scientists, mathematicians, statisticians and life scientists to develop and promote Warwick as a global centre of excellence in the multidisciplinary research that underpins these innovative manufacturing priority areas.
The UK manufacturing landscape adapts rapidly to challenges that UK PLC faces in the global environment within which we operate. Innovative manufacturing approaches are a major focus for the UK government in generating jobs, wealth and prosperity across the board and Warwick is well placed to support many of these initiatives.
Circular economy is an alternative to the traditional linear economy where we make, we use, we dispose. Circular economy maximizes the length of time that a resource is used. It extracts the maximum value from the resource whilst in use, then recovers and regenerates products and materials at the end of the service life.
The market for clean and sustainable technologies has grown, building on decades of public and private investment in research and development. The ideas and concepts that make up the circular economy have always been a part of this. It's only relatively recently, however, with growing interest from industry and several third sector organisations such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, that specific interest in the circular economy has emerged.
Agricultural production faces many challenges. By 2050, there will be two billion more people on earth than at present. As a result, there will be a spike in global demand for the resources required to feed these people, such as land, energy and water. Increasing urbanization and industrialization will also put pressure on land requirements. Environmental change, water availability, soil degradation and biodiversity loss will likely threaten food security.
Through initiatives such as Eight Great Technologies, the UK government is addressing the challenge of global food security and the increasing pressure on UK land resources that are critical for the sustainable supply of food for a growing global population.
Industrial biotechnology refers to the use of living cells and/or their enzymes to create industrial products which are more degradable, require less energy, create less waste during production, and sometimes perform better than products created using traditional chemical processes.
Given its potential to provide resource-efficient solutions to looming future challenges concerning food production, chemical pollution, and health and environmental protection, the UK is committed to developing a strong bioeconomy.
In a bioeconomy, all economic activity would be derived from bio-based products and processes. The UK coalition government issued a report highlighting the opportunities from waste in 2015.