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New, Industrially Focused Social Science Innovation Centre

Mon, 17 May, 2021

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and TWI Ltd have formed a strategic partnership which will see them jointly fund and establish the Anglia Ruskin Innovation Centre (ARIC), with the aim of positioning it as a world leader in industrially relevant, digital transformation and innovation management research.

ARU is passionate about transforming lives and communities through innovative, inclusive and entrepreneurial education and research.  It tackles global issues across 12 research areas, from climate change to mental health, educates students from over 185 countries and has helped more than 2,000 business to grow and perform better.  TWI, currently celebrating its 75th year, is one of the largest, independent, not-for-profit, membership-based research and technology organisations globally, with bases in Europe, South East Asia, India, the Middle East, Central Asia and the USA.  Its research and development (R&D) spans engineering, materials, structural integrity management and joining techniques.

ARIC will be based at TWI’s Cambridge headquarters, and carry out R&D programmes that will develop the next generation of business models and tools to help commercialise technologies which address societal challenges.

Social science encompasses a wide array of disciplines including anthropology, economics, human geography, linguistics, management science, psychology, political science and history.  The Industry 4.0 revolution is demanding changes in design, and to products and services, in sectors that require new management and organisational techniques coupled with the knowledge to realise the potential benefits of digital technology.  But this ‘human dimension’ is all-too-often neglected by policy makers and managers.

Therefore, ARIC will focus on the digitisation of products and services, as well as infrastructure solutions, new business models and transformative management, to drive innovation and sustainable economic growth.  R&D activity will also reflect the wider environmental issues being addressed by society and industry such as the drive for net zero and more circular economies.

Tat-Hean Gan, TWI’s Director of Innovation and Skills said “We are delighted to be hosting this new Centre at TWI – which will combine Anglia Ruskin University’s organisational, behavioural economics, logistics and workplace research expertise, and application of social science within the context of Industry 4.0 – with TWI’s knowledge and implementation experience in systems and software development and integration, including using artificial intelligence, machine learning, data capture and other new technologies.”

Gary Packham, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law at Anglia Ruskin University, said: "ARU prides itself on its innovative and entrepreneurial research, and the digitisation of products and services will continue to transform the economies of the future.  “We are delighted to be working with TWI to ensure that businesses in our region will have access to expertise which can really make a difference in helping them to succeed."

Robert Cooper, Director for Anglia Ruskin Innovation Centre, said “It is an honour to be leading this exciting new initiative between ARU and TWI.”  “Drawing on the complementary talent of these two organisations, I believe ARIC can make a significant contribution to the successful, effective adoption of digital technologies in the workplace, assisting both regional SMEs and TWI Industrial Member companies to increase their productivity, thereby contributing to innovation and sustainable economic growth for our region, the UK and internationally.”

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