Research at the innovative manufacturing research centres: analysis from the mid-term review of the innovative manufacturing programme

Dekkers, R. (2010) Research at the innovative manufacturing research centres: analysis from the mid-term review of the innovative manufacturing programme. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 21(1), pp. 63-99. (doi:10.1108/17410381011011498)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


Purpose – An extensive mid-term review in 2005 of the Innovative Manufacturing Programme, followed by sporadic individual reviews in 2006, provided the opportunity to draw inferences from the overall performance of 12 research centres in the UK and to review the impact of block funding. Previous studies of research centres (in this case with a multidisciplinary character) are rare – none for operations management were found – and to that purpose of the paper proposes (new) metrics in addition to the peer review.

Design/methodology/approach – The rich data provided during the mid-term review provided input for the analysis.

Findings – In general the analysis indicates that the centres gravitate towards consultancy, stimulated by criteria set by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Consequently, setting the industrial agenda to improve the competitive position of the UK manufacturing industry rarely occurs. Furthermore, centres with a stronger research strategy and with motivated research staff did outperform others in attracting additional funding. A focus on specific sectors correlates with a negative impact on research output. Despite an increased responsiveness to industry and the concentration of motivated research staff, stronger management cultures at the centres and more collaborative efforts between the centres would benefit performance.

Practical implications – Even though the metrics proved an important tool, the combination of quantitative analysis and peer review made it possible to arrive at these conclusions, possibly setting the scene for the new REF in 2015. The lessons learned from the review and the analysis might be beneficial for research centres in operations management.

Originality/value – Since this type of study – the in-depth evaluation of the performance of research centres – has never been conducted before, it paves the way to a better understanding of research management in a national context. Implications of the study might exceed that of the domain of research into manufacturing technology and manufacturing management.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dekkers, Dr Rob
Authors: Dekkers, R.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management
ISSN (Online):1758-7786

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record