One of the most important aspects of delivering 3D printing consultancy is the ability to develop robust methods of road mapping, scouting future innovations and monitoring trends within the sector. One of the most valuable ways of doing this is to look towards the science base, such as universities and government research labs and the map the work they are doing in collation with industry. Of course, a lot of work takes place behind closed doors, but in most cases where public funds are involved, there is a lot of data in the public domain, if you know where to look.
In 2012 we were lucky enough to be asked by Government to map the research activities taking place within the UK science base and to benchmark this against the report of the world. Our work was then used to inform government on future research priorities and where best to apportion funding.
We were therefore delighted to be asked again in 2015 to repeat this exercise and to see what changes have ensued.
The results of this analysis were positive, demonstrating high growth in the UK’s additive manufacturing research base. Additive manufacturing research funding has seen a 100% increase, growing from the £15 million committed in 2012 to almost £30 million spent on research by 2014. Moreover, by February 2015, some £25 million of funding had already been committed to projects taking place that calendar year. The funding was attributed to 244 research projects, representing an 80% increase in the number of research projects identified since the 2012 analysis. A similar positive trend was also seen when looking at the number of organisations involved in research projects which had increased 200% to 243 organisations. Most of this growth has come from greater engagement within commercial organisations, resulting in higher engagement from the additive manufacturing supply chain. In 2012, there were 57 commercial organisations involved in additive manufacturing research – a figure which has now grown to 165 commercial organisations. There has also been an increase in the number of academic institutions engaging in research, with 24 universities identified in 2012, compared to 41 universities in 2015.
The full research report can be found below, including the latest recommendations to stimulate, grow and sustain a world-class additive manufacturing research base within the UK