Download Manufacturing and materials week 2020 report.

Between Monday 30 November and Thursday 3 December 2020, Cranfield hosted its first Manufacturing and Materials Week - a virtual event bringing together industry professionals from all over the globe to celebrate manufacturing and the green recovery.


Manufacturing and Materials Week included a mix of live debates, lectures, workshops and pre-recorded videos, looking at the challenges the industry faces right now, as well as how we must adapt and innovate to support future global challenges.

Cranfield is currently working with Government funding to investigate how materials flows in transport systems can be made greener. We are also looking at manufacturing across the fundamental materials sectors - including cement, ceramics, chemicals, glass, metals and paper - in order to achieve the Government's targets of net zero 2050.

Who now wants to touch the metal bars we used to grip on public transport? Can engineers develop virus-repelling materials to help society?

The event aimed to help us to understand the pivotal role of manufacturing in everyday life. Through our research and teaching, Cranfield is working to solve problems of the future. Post-COVID, manufacturing has the potential to address important psychological and social challenges. In a world where touchscreen technology has become the norm - from the screen in our doctor's surgery to ticket machines in train stations - we now find ourselves unable to touch anything for fear of contracting the virus.

Just some of the questions that were considered therefore included:

  • Can the UK seize the net zero opportunity?
  • What are the opportunities for the manufacturing sector to support the social and economic needs of people in the wake of a global pandemic?
  • Can engineers develop virus-repelling materials to help society?
  • During the week, potential solutions - that will undoubtedly have a global impact - will be shared by some of the best and the brightest in the manufacturing industry.


Rosa Wilkinson spoke to a variety of professionals including Chief Executives and MPs about their opinion on the green recovery, how manufacturing can influence the net zero goal and, of course, how COVID-19 has impacted industry.

Registrations for all events are now closed but you can view the programme details and watch recordings below.

Event programme 

Monday 30 November

14:30-15:30 - Your future in manufacturing and materials (for prospective students)

This free online event is an introduction to Manufacturing and Materials Week 2020 and will highlight some of the key aspects for prospective students to be involved with throughout the week.

We will also showcase our courses, giving you the chance to hear from some of our current students and to ask any questions you may have. You will find out how our courses are relevant in today’s society and how you can contribute to combating future global challenges. 

Watch recording

Passcode: YFhaf*n0

Tuesday 1 December

11:30-12:30 - Manufacturing alumni awards and lecture

During this online celebration we will be recognising the winner of the 2020 Distinguished Manufacturing Alumnus Award, Dr Ayotunde Coker (MSc in Engineering and Management of Manufacturing Systems, 1989), Managing Director/CEO, Rack Centre Ltd.

Dr Coker will be delivering a lecture as part of the event on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and 21st Century industries, and the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices using modern smart technology. Recently identified in the 'Power 200: The World's Most Influential Data Economy Leaders' by the UK’s Data Economy Magazine, Dr Coker will share how the adoption of digital services and the explosion in mobile consumption is driving investors into Africa. 

Watch recording

Passcode: hA@91KFC

Wednesday 2 December

14:00-16:00 - National Manufacturing Debate

The National Manufacturing Debate is an annual event hosted by Cranfield University that brings together manufacturing professionals from a range of sectors to discuss current challenges in the industry, and encourage networking and collaboration across the sector to enable continued and long-term growth.

At this year’s event, covering the topic of decarbonisation: opportunities for the manufacturing sector, notable speakers from industry and academia will give presentations and participate in a facilitated debate. The event will provide the opportunity to connect the theme to the latest discourse on the UK’s net zero targets and explore the big questions: is British manufacturing ready to seize the net zero opportunities and is it really possible for decarbonisation to enhance the UK’s competitiveness?

Find out more      Watch recording

Passcode for recording: B07Q1#k^

Thursday 3 December

14:00-16:00 - Manufacturing 2075

Manufacturing 2075 is a global forum to discuss very long-term manufacturing challenges (i.e. Manufacturing Futures) for the UK and other countries. The 2020 theme is post-COVID-19 paradigms in manufacturing of materials.

The event includes a set of keynotes from manufacturing thought leaders, medical experts, educationists and technology innovators, followed by a series of workshop sessions to capture delegates' imaginations.

Find out more      Watch recording

Passcode for recording: 56J2=Kzf.

Careers in manufacturing

Career Development Manager Katrina Armstrong is delighted to be joined by industry professionals from a variety of organisations including Airbus, Avieco and WAAM3D. She is also joined by Professor Helen Atkinson CBE FREng, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Aerospace, Transport Systems and Manufacturing.

During these short sessions, our guests will discuss different manufacturing job roles and career paths, development opportunities, and their experience in the industry.

The interviews can be viewed below.

To find out more, please contact