Manufacturing 4.0

  • To critically evaluate the rise of the Manufacturing 4.0 model from a conceptual point of view
  • To compare debates in Europe, US, Japan and Asia
  • To analyse in particular the increased servitisation in the Manufacturing 4.0.

Innovation and Knowledge Transfer

  • To explore the impact of technological change and of key enabling technologies on manufacturing sectors.
  • To understanding how national innovation systems are adapting to incorporate key enabling technologies in mature manufacturing sectors through the mechanics of knowledge transfer from universities and research organisations.
  • To map the globalisation of knowledge flows in sectors where both manufacturing and R&D processes have stretched across continents, due to the offshoring of less strategic R&D functions.
  • To identify objectives and priorities for an innovation policy that encouraged new innovation and the adoption of innovation, especially in view of maximising the impact to the economy of new technology.

SMEs and local production systems

  • To analyse how the new manufacturing model will affect the role that small business, large multinational firms and local production system -such as industrial districts and clusters- have in the manufacturing sector and implications for regional economic growth and resilience.


  • To ascertain the extent of the current reshoring, nearshoring and onshoring trends
  • To explore the attractiveness of the EU economy to home Manufacturing 4.0 activities

Glocal value chains

  • To outline the reconfiguration of global value chains in advanced manufacturing sectors
  • To conceptualise and map the emergence of glocal (global and local) value chains that are integrated at different spatial levels to leverage localised external economies and the advantages of global subcontracting networks.

Socio-economic-environmental sustainability

  • To examine processes and systems in manufacturing value chains in order to identify changes that will provide holistic solutions to embed socio-economic-environmental sustainable management practices.

Skill development

  • To understand the transformation of occupations in Europe following the production reorganization caused by cross-border fragmentation of production processes and EU manufacturing de-industrialisation.
  • To study and compare education programmes (higher education, vocational education and training) across Europe and in other advanced economies to address the skill demand from European manufacturing companies.
  • To recommend policy on how education programmes could rebuild EU manufacturing skill base.

An industrial policy for EU New Manufacturing

  • To formulate a pro-manufacturing policy for Europe that can complement the smart specialisation approach currently adopted for EU regional policy.