The question of what the world might look like in 60 years’ time was the challenge given to delegates at Cranfield’s Manufacturing 2075 event.

Sixth-form pupils from Bedford Modern School, Bedford School and Kimberley College joined businesses, industry speakers and academics to offer their thoughts on what a future manufacturing world might look like.

Attending the presentations from industry and academia in the morning, which included speakers from the UK, the Netherlands and Japan, the pupils were then given the opportunity in the afternoon to come up with some fresh ideas of their own.

They were asked to consider future lifestyles, healthcare, environment, education and other opportunities. This resulted in some innovative suggestions which included in-ear multi-language translation; self-healing materials and a cosmic Noah’s Ark to preserve endangered species.  

Manufacturing 2075 is a new annual event at Cranfield University which provides a forum to consider global challenges faced by modern manufacturing and the research and skill requirements needed in the future.

Professor Raj Roy, Director of Manufacturing, Cranfield University, said: “This event provides the ideal environment for discussing views on the long-term future of manufacturing which will shape the direction of our research and education.  It will help us to understand the requirements of society and business and to ensure we develop timely, practical and innovative solutions.”

He continued: “It’s also a perfect environment for schools to hear and participate in the debate, and do some dreaming for themselves.”

Julian Krishna, Physics Teacher, Bedford Modern School said: "The students greatly enjoyed their day at the Manufacturing 2075 symposium. They relished being in the academic atmosphere, taking a great interest in the talks and they particularly enjoyed the probing of the speakers by other academics. It was great that they were given a task and it was very useful that they had the opportunity to work collaboratively with another school and to present a series of brief talks to experts in the field, which seemed to be well received.

Sixth form students
Sixth form students

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

About Cranfield Manufacturing

We provide world-class and niche research, education, training and consultancy in manufacturing and play a key role in ensuring that the UK remains at the cutting edge of manufacturing research.

We are unique in our multi-disciplinary approach by bringing together design, technology and management insight. We are a driving force for both the rapid growth of established areas of manufacturing expertise and the development of new research areas.

Research partnerships are undertaken with more than 500 organisations of all sizes and disciplines and industry advisory panels ensure our graduates move seamlessly from the academic world into the world of work and provide skills the sector needs.

Our world-class facilities include the Ultra Precision Machining Laboratory, which houses a range of ultra-precision diamond turning machines and is the UK's national facility for large x-ray optics manufacture.