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

The 2020 topic is Decarbonisation: opportunities for the manufacturing sector.

This is a subject of great relevance to the world and the UK’s ambitious net zero CO2 targets. Most industry leaders are acutely aware that the concept of sustainability is firmly on everyone’s agenda with climate change effects impacting global supply chains and quality of life. It is considered critical to survive and thrive in the background of accelerating change - the UK manufacturing industry sector, along with government bodies and institutions, need to adopt the right decarbonisation practices, policies and support strategies. Notable speakers from industry and academia will be keynote speakers and participate in a facilitated debate, giving the opportunity to connect the theme to the latest discourse on the country’s net zero targets.

With and the urgency placed on decarbonisation targets, manufacturing will continue to attract attention as the sector responsible for providing sustainable food, products, packaging and doing so with zero CO2. Giving tangible and practical examples of manufacturing’s state of play with decarbonisation, including opportunities for new business revenue, is necessary so that an upbeat 'can do' approach to this important and complex issue can get momentum, starting the debate with enthusiasm and hoping that manufacturing can play a big role towards net zero and IPCC 1.5.

Keynote and panel speakers will be announced as soon as they are confirmed. Please see the current confirmed speakers below. All speakers are subject to change.

Manufacturing alumni awards dinner and lecture

Following the debate, Cranfield's Alumni Office are hosting the 2020 Manufacturing Alumni Awards dinner and lecture. Alumni and NMD attendees are all invited to attend - if you are an alumnus/a of the University please sign up to attend the award dinner via the alumni portal.

If you are not a Cranfield alumnus/a and wish to attend the award dinner please email Hannah Campbell, Alumni Events and Volunteer Executive.

Sponsorship opportunities

There are sponsorship opportunities available. Please contact the National Manufacturing Debate team to discuss the options available.

Debate topics

Debate topics for 2020 are:

Morning panel debate - Decarbonising manufacturing: threat or opportunity?

Afternoon panel debate - Is Britain ready to seize the net zero opportunity?

Keynote speakers

The National Manufacturing Debate will be hosted by Rosa Wilkinson, Communications Director, High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

Confirmed keynote speakers for this year's debate are:

Andrew Storer, Chief Executive Officer, Nuclear AMRC

Dr Colin Herron CBE, MD, Zero Carbon Futures

Jane Gardner, Managing Director, European Resilient Flooring Manufacturers' Institute

Further keynote speakers and panellists are to be announced. All speakers are subject to change.

Location and travel details

Cranfield University
MK43 0AL

Cranfield University is located at the very heart of the UK - within the innovation triangle between London and the cities of Oxford and Cambridge.

Our central location provides easy access from the M1, excellent main line rail service as well as proximity to key international airports.

  • Road: we are just 10 minutes from Junctions 13 and 14 of the M1 motorway. There is free parking on campus.
  • Rail: Milton Keynes or Bedford.
  • Air: London Luton (22 miles), Heathrow (50 miles) or Birmingham (70 miles).

For further travel details please visit our location page.


Free to attend.

How to register

Please register for the National Manufacturing Debate 2020 using the link below.

Register now