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Manufacturing Policy Portal [beta]

Hosted by the Centre for Science, Technology & Innovation Policy (CSTI)

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Actors & Institutions

Central Government Policy Actors


The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) is the department for economic growth. It is a ministerial department supported by 49 agencies and public bodies. The department “invests in skills and education to promote trade, boost innovation and help people to start and grow a business”.

The Government Office for Science is an office that seeks to “ensure that government policies and decisions are informed by the best scientific evidence and strategic long-term thinking”. “GO-Science”, which works with the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, conducts what are termed Foresight projects that “examine either an important public policy issue where science might be part of the solution, or a scientific topic where potential applications and technologies are yet to be realised”. A Foresight report published in 2013 addressed the manufacturing sector.


  • (Manufacturing) Sector Teams in BIS

BIS operates a number of sector teams, one of which is focused on manufacturing and materials. The BIS manufacturing sector team work with manufacturers and their supply chains, while also encouraging innovation, business investment, technology commercialisation, skills and exports.

  • Automotive

The BIS Automotive Unit supports the UK’s automotive industry in several ways. It seeks to encourage best practice in design and manufacture, supports inward investment, and is involved in the delivery of the Automotive Industrial Strategy. Components of this unit include the Relationship Management Team, the Automotive Policy & Regulation Team, the Innovation and Technology Team, the Analysis Team and the Automotive Council.


  • Life Sciences

The UK Government has created an Office for Life Sciences, which is a part of both BIS and the Department of Health.  The UK boasts a significant life sciences sector, generating turnover of over £50 billion, and employing close to 200,000 people. It is a diverse sector, spanning bio-pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, devices and medical technology engineering. In recent years, the Government has committed £1 billion through the Research Councils and £2 billion through the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).

An important initiative in this area is the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership, established by the UK’s biopharmaceutical industry, which seeks, in partnership with Government, to position the UK as a world leading economy for existing and advanced medicines manufacturing capability.



Agency actors

  • High Value Manufacturing Landscape (Innovate UK)

Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, is the new name for the Technology Strategy Board.  The aim of Innovate UK is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. 

One of Innovate UK’s priority areas is High Value Manufacturing.  Manufacturing makes up 10% of UK Gross Value Added (GVA) and 54% of UK exports and directly employs 2.5 million people. Prominent industries include aerospace, in which the UK ranks second globally, and chemical and pharmaceutical industries, which add £20m per day to the UK balance of trade.  Innovate UK also seeks to take advantage of the “re-shoring” phenomenon, in which some production is coming back to the UK.

Innovate UK defines high value manufacturing as the “application of leading-edge technical knowledge and expertise to the creation of products, production processes, and associated services which have strong potential to bring sustainable growth and high economic value” [to the UK]. And it encompasses a wide range of activities, spanning R&D to recycling. Innovation in manufacturing “requires new knowledge to generate entirely new products, processes or services, or new technology to improve existing processes”. For many enterprises, introducing new technologies, products, processes and services is a significant challenge, which can constitute a barrier to innovation. It is here where Innovate UK intends to play a beneficial role. 

The UK Government wants to enlarge the role of manufacturing in the economy (including emerging technologies such as composite materials, plastic electronics and industrial biotechnology), and a High Value Manufacturing strategy has been published that articulates that vision. It identifies five strategic themes where there is potential for innovation in high value manufacturing to contribute to multiple sectors, and which will inform investment decisions over the coming years:

  • Resource efficiency
  • Manufacturing systems
  • Integration of new materials with manufacturing technologies
  • Manufacturing processes
  • New business models

“National competencies”, as defined in the 2012 Future Landscape Study, will need to be developed by business in order to exploit the opportunities for innovation in these areas. They will be supported through feasibility studies and collaborative research and development competitions, and through the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. 

The strategy outlines means by which innovation can be accelerated, from concept to commercialisation. That includes a doubling of direct investment in high value manufacturing innovation to around £50 million a year, focusing investment in the most attractive technologies and market sectors, utilising those manufacturing competencies to make investment choices, investing in the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult, and providing open access to the most effective platforms for knowledge exchange.


  • Manufacturing Advisory Service

Funded by BIS and in part by the European Regional Development Fund, the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) is a business support service for manufacturing businesses in England. It comprises a team of 80 advisors who “work with management teams to plan long-term strategies, improve processes and bring new products to market, helping to develop activity and capacity in supply chains”. Their particular focus is on assisting manufacturing SMEs.