Guy Barker from Warwick Life Sciences and Warwick Manufacturing Group reveals what he hopes to achieve on his overseas adventure.
Tomorrow’s Manufacturing: Mission to China
Handpicked for their innovative approaches to sustainable manufacturing, 18 forward thinking start-ups, SMEs, enterprises and academic organisations have gone to China for a week long, fact finding mission with fast-track introductions to leading potential technology collaborators across China.
The mission has been organised by the Technology Strategy Board and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China (MoST).
Tomorrow’s Manufacturing, Mission to China will help these organisations form collaborative partnerships in China.
The aim is to work together on research, development and innovation, with the hope of creating long-lasting partnerships between the UK and China.
See the first ‘TSB in China’ blog for an overview of the mission’s objectives.
Preparing for take-off and first impressions
Before we set off for China, I was extremely enthusiastic about the idea of this trip.
The collaboration between Warwick Life Sciences and the Warwick Manufacturing Group focuses on pioneering solutions to meet different market needs.
Sustainable manufacturing requires understanding of the supply chain and inherent variability to minimise waste and maximise efficiencies.
This is applicable from agricultural production to novel product development. This Mission will be an opportunity to explore innovative manufacturing and R&D partnerships with both Chinese industry and academia and will complement current projects with both global corporations.
We were lucky to have escaped the devastating effects of super typhoon Usagi and arrived safe and sound in Changsha ready for the first full day of mission activities.
Day 1 was led by the MoST and featured insightful talks regarding China’s recent growth within manufacturing. What was interesting was the indication that China is currently at a crossroad as it moves towards a middle income society.
To achieve the long-term goal of a well-structured manufacturing industry, China needs improvements in the high end manufacturing which explains the need for more R&D and innovation. Great news for the mission participants as this goal is underpinned by technological transformation and innovation.
Sustainable manufacturing is seen as key area of focus as outlined by China’s 5 year plan released in 2011. There is a shortage of resources and environmental pollution seen as major threat.
Key areas of development include the integration of IT with manufacturing; intelligent technology that facilitates green manufacturing and recycling as well as ways to improve energy efficiency.
Good news for Warwick as our expertise in industrial biotechnology and biorefining gives us a good position to promote our work in efficient product life cycle analysis and supply chain optimisation.
This was followed by a jam-packed afternoon of presentations from 30 organisations equally split between the delegation from the UK and China. The size of some of the Chinese companies and their facilities were certainly impressive and it was obvious that each is keen to improve its capabilities. There is a real sense of opportunity here as many of the Chinese delegates indicated that they were keen to collaborate with UK partners but often didn’t know how or what possibilities were available to them. The presence of Tomorrow’s Manufacturing, Mission to China will no doubt help to rectify this.
Click here to see Guy Barker’s profile.