A new era for manufacturing in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – Smart Manufacturing Alliance to launch on 13 October with support of top industry leaders
A new era for manufacturing in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough - Smart Manufacturing Alliance to launch on 13 October with support of top industry leaders

The Smart Manufacturing Alliance is a brand new sector network for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough. Established as a joint venture between economic development company, Opportunity Peterborough, and the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, the Alliance has been tasked with building on the sector’s strengths in the region to develop a world-class manufacturing cluster.

The free launch event is taking place on 13 October at Cambridge Bar Hill Hotel. Speakers include Mayor Dr Nik Johnson and a selection of industry leaders including the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) and NAAME as a taste of what the Alliance will offer manufacturers. The event will open at 8.30am with the first talks starting at 9.00am. The half-day agenda will allow time for networking amongst the delegates ahead of the event close at 12.30pm.

The Alliance’s work is being guided and overseen by a steering group of local industry leaders, ensuring it delivers value for the sector. Members include the likes of Photocentric, Metalcraft, Le Mark Group, the Institute for Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge, TWI, MAKE UK, Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, and Anglia Ruskin University.

Confirmed expert speakers for the launch event include:

  • Mayor Nik Johnson – the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority – the Combined Authority’s Business Board is part of the joint venture, which aims to create a step-change in the region’s manufacturing to drive up innovation, increase collaboration, safeguard jobs and stimulate job creation with manufacturers and related industries.
  • Jamie Thumms, MBE – Chief Operating Officer, Lintott Control Systems Limited and Chair of New Anglia Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering (NAAME): A member of the Alliance’s Advisory Board, Jamie will give a first-hand account of how NAAME, an already successful sector network covering East Anglia, has impacted the local economy, and manufacturers themselves.
  • Professor Duncan McFarlane – Institute for Manufacturing: Discussing how manufacturers can adopt Industry 4.0 technologies and working methods on a shoestring
  • Mark Stone – Industrial Consulting Ltd: Discussing how to make Industry4.0 work for SMEs and the power of peer groups.

The Smart Manufacturing Alliance will offer a variety of services to manufacturers across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough including:

  • operational diagnostics to identify and address performance gaps
  • support to access grants and finance
  • creating more opportunities for innovation and collaboration by nurturing working relationships between manufacturers, academic institutions and research specialists.
  • facilitating pilot projects with challenge-led innovation platforms
  • networking through business visits, events, and workshops with local manufacturers and engineers.

In addition, delegates will hear about plans for a £1.2 million ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) funded programme specifically designed to support the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies which includes a grants programme. This will be run by Opportunity Peterborough in partnership with the Smart Manufacturing Alliance.

Membership to the Alliance will also give manufacturers affiliate membership to MAKE UK.

Tom Hennessy, chief executive of Opportunity Peterborough, said “The Smart Manufacturing Alliance marks a new era for one of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s most important sectors. The team will be creating fresh opportunities for our region’s manufacturers to work together, test out new ideas and bring them to fruition, and unlock funding to boost their growth and development.

“Industry 4.0 technologies are playing an increasing role in manufacturing and while the team will help manufacturers to get the most out of new tech, they’ll also be supporting other aspects of the business so the workforce has the right skills, we’re developing future leaders, and helping businesses make larger gains in new and emerging markets.”

Austen Adams, Chair of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority Business Board, said:

“The launch of this Alliance, backed with investment from the Business Board, will be a significant moment. It represents a shared mission across the region to take our manufacturing excellence to the next level. It brings together some of the most experienced and talented people we have in the sector and will help our local businesses to grow, invest and create jobs.

“Manufacturing is already a key sector for the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough economy and this Alliance will help it to realise more of its potential.”

To find out more about the Alliance, visit or email:

Free places can be booked online at: