Department of Engineering / News / Cambridge joins collaborative project to strengthen the Internet of Things

Department of Engineering

Cambridge joins collaborative project to strengthen the Internet of Things

Cambridge joins collaborative project to strengthen the Internet of Things

The Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), part of the Department of Engineering, has been selected to help enhance the Internet of Things (IoT) as part of a new collaborative project.

Pitch-In greatly strengthens the IfM’s digital manufacturing research programme, and supports engagement with the Cambridge cluster of high technology companies.

Dr Alexandra Brintrup

IoT refers to the internet connection of physical objects, where physical objects are coupled with digital monitoring and analytics capabilities. The Pitch-In project (Promoting the Internet of Things via Collaborations between HEIs & Industry) will be led by the University of Sheffield in collaboration with the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, and Newcastle.

It supports the Government’s Industrial Strategy by significantly enhancing the commercialisation and wider exploitation prospects of UK IoT research and technology.

The £4.9million project, funded under Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund (CCF), is one of 14 successful bids awarded across England.

The Pitch-In project will investigate the barriers to successful IoT take-up. The project teams will trial solutions, and capture and share good practice learning outcomes. It will focus on four priority sectors which are early adopters of IoT:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Digital Manufacturing
  • Energy systems
  • Smart cities.

The IfM has been awarded £1million of the total funding to lead the manufacturing theme, while also supporting the smart cities theme. Dr Alexandra Brintrup will lead the manufacturing theme as Cambridge’s principal investigator for the Pitch-In project.

The IoT supports a host of so-called ‘smart’ applications ranging from industrial process control, such as remotely monitoring when a factory machine needs maintenance, through to enhanced support for patients with dementia, such as reminding someone to take their medicine.

It is estimated that we will have 50 billion connected elements online within the next decade. Effective implementation of IoT is critical to industrial, societal and economic development in the UK.

Dr Brintrup said: “This will be a great opportunity for us to increase the technology readiness levels for some of the state-of-the-art research the University of Cambridge conducts in Industrial IoT.

“The project will provide funding for feasibility studies and demonstrators, as well as creating pathways to remove industrial knowledge transfer barriers in this field through the development of best practice guidelines. Pitch-In greatly strengthens the IfM’s digital manufacturing research programme, and supports engagement with the Cambridge cluster of high technology companies.”

Professor Tim Minshall, Head of IfM, said: “The adoption of digital technologies will be key to the ongoing competitiveness of UK manufacturing firms of all sizes. We are really excited by the opportunity this project offers to accelerate research and its application in this critical technology area."

David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England, said: “In the Industrial Strategy, the Government asked us to improve our ability to turn exciting ideas into commercial products and services. Universities have stepped forward in these projects to show that they can do world class commercialisation, alongside world class science.

“I believe these projects present important innovations that should inform our strategic approach to commercialisation in UK research and innovation for the future.”

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