Manufacturing Futures Research Institute

The Manufacturing Futures Research Institute supports Australia’s economic growth based on advanced manufacturing integration in the global value chain.

Industry 4.0 is an emerging era of connectivity and interaction among parts, machines and humans that will create enormous production and efficiency dividends and improvements in quality of life and environmental outcomes.

The Institute is strategically positioned at the intersection of design, business, engineering and information systems. We will focus on developing the industrial innovation leaders of tomorrow and addressing questions of national importance, including:

  1. How can Australia develop bespoke manufactured goods of high value?
  2. What new materials can be developed into high-value products?
  3. How can Australia’s manufacturing base become more agile and productive?
  4. How can Australian industry implement Industry 4.0 strategies?

Swinburne’s world-leading capabilities include: materials processing, materials science, manufacturing, robotics/mechatronics, nanotechnology, bio-devices, surface science, physical chemistry, biotechnology, solar materials, photonics, data science and business analytics, internet of things, business modelling, industrial design and technology innovation.

The Institute will combine Swinburne’s capabilities with the complementary know-how and expertise of our partners.

Manufacturing Futures will distinguish itself from more conventional advanced manufacturing research initiatives by focusing on globally relevant projects identified by key industry partners to deliver real-world outcomes. As these iconic projects are selected, significant funding and business development opportunities will arise.

Potential projects include:

  • Automation of carbon fibre parts manufacturing
  • Implementation of Industry 4.0 strategy for high value-add manufacturing
  • Advanced surface engineering
  • 3D printing for bespoke manufacturing and rapid repair/replacement of critical parts
  • Industrialisation of graphene products manufacturing.

Success will be measured through delivery of high-impact solutions to industry and through commercialisation of iconic projects via start-ups and new enterprises being formed. Swinburne’s significant capital investment in the new Innovation Precinct will provide an excellent environment to nurture such developments.

The ‘living lab’ environment of the Manufacturing Futures Research Institute will challenge research orthodoxy by forging interactions by fundamental science and applied research with real-world imperatives.

Research programs

  • Industrial automation
  • Industrial internet
  • New manufacturing processes for next generation materials
  • Design driven manufacturing innovation.


The Institute will draw on existing partnerships with Shandong University, Coventry University, Stuttgart University (ARENA), CSIRO, Siemens, Boeing, Ford, Sandvik, Tata amongst others. New strategic international links will also be formed.

Meet the Institute Director

Professor Bronwyn Fox is the Foundation Director of the Manufacturing Futures Research Institute. Bronwyn joined Swinburne in 2015, initially taking on the role of Director of the Factory of the Future. Prior to that appointment, she was the Research Director of Carbon Nexus at Deakin University. She has significant international research experience in composites and advanced manufacturing, with particular interest in translating research into high impact industrial outcomes.


Professor Bronwyn Fox, Foundation Director of the Manufacturing Futures Research Institute