Department of Mechanical Engineering


Innovative Design & Manufacturing Research Centre

Developing research for application in the manufacturing industry.

8 East building

Established in 2001, the Innovative Design & Manufacturing Research Centre (IdMRC) conducts world-leading research in engineering design and manufacturing.  The centre is supported by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) and is unique in the UK for its emphasis on the relationship between manufacturing and design in engineering.

Contact us

Director: Professor Stephen Culley
Tel: 01225 386456

The centre is equipped with superb facilities that support its long-established research strengths in machine design and design information systems, and in manufacturing processes and systems. Its work is widely supported by industry, especially from the aerospace and packaging sectors and with emerging strengths in shoe and electronics manufacture.

Our research

In modern manufacturing, the definition, manufacture and verification of a product are intimately interlinked, where each aspect must be undertaken in full recognition of the importance of the other two. The IdMRC embraces this concept and applies it to a wide range of engineering subjects and disciplines.

Our research spans the complete life cycle of the engineering process, from initial idea and design through to a product's end-of-life, across many industry sectors including aerospace and automotive engineering, packaging, pharmaceuticals, medical engineering and mining.   Our research reflects this diverse spectrum of application in its key themes:

  • Advanced machining processes and systems
  • Constraint-based design and optimisation
  • Design information and knowledge
  • Metrology and assembly systems and technologies.

Further details

The IdMRC moved into 8 East at the beginning of 2003, and occupies the top floor of the building in additon to locations in the laboratories. The building is equipped with an Access Grid node, and has been completely re-equipped with a new IT infrastructure.

Equipment available to the centre includes:

  • Rapid prototyping machines
  • DMG 5-axis CNC machining centre
  • CMM with scanning facility
  • 3-D Digitiser
  • Robotics/packaging facility
  • 100 Tonne CNC press
  • EDS Unigraphics and SolidEdge CADCAM software
  • Witness Manufacturing Simulation software
  • Video Conferencing Suite.

There are a number of ways in which we can work with industry.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs)  and consultancy

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) bring together the IdMRC and industry,  to collaborate on strategic development projects. We share our experience and expertise to help businesses

  • develop new products
  • improve performance
  • expand.

KTPs are partially government-funded. We have been involved with KTPs for more than 20 years and most of our partners are small to medium-sized companies, although we also work with larger organisations. For more information on our current KTP projects, visit the University's business site.

Our staff are also able to offer consultancy services, with a focus on applied problem solving and strategic advice. For more information, please contact our Research Development and Support Office.

Collaborative research

We are available to collaborate on research projects, including master's, PhD and EngD programme opportunities.

Industrial placement scheme

We work with employers across the UK and worldwide to provide year-long placements for our undergraduate students. Find out how your company can get involved.

Student projects

Individual and group project work is an integral part of our undergraduate programmes and are held in high regard by industry due to their focus on product design. Many companies have something they would like investigated, data to be gathered or studies that need undertaking. These are all opportunities from which an employers can benefit, while students welcome the challenge of being involved in real-world problems alongside their own learning objectives. 

If you think you have a project that we could help you with, contact us.

Since its establishment in 2001, the centre has received core funding that has allowed us to work with external organisations to carry out research with impact and real-world application, as highlighted in the projects below.

KTA project cost reduction and product innovation

Cost reduction and product innovation



KTA project Cryogenic Machining for Shoe Soles and Insoles (CRYOSIS)

Cryogenic Machining for Shoe Soles and Insoles (CRYOSIS)



naval engineering thumbnail

Processing unstructured data in naval engineering records



Optimising function and cost of orthopaedic implants



You can read about our Impact in industry and society by downloading our Impact Report.