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Present and emerging challenges for the European industry sustainable competitiveness call for excellence in:
  • innovative, high added-value, world-class competitive products,
  • novel business models providing the control of global networks and supply chains,
  • flexible, top-quality European manufacturing standards,
  • leadership in sustainable development: environmental friendly processes, low energy and materials consumption, safeguard of manufacturing employment in Europe.

The domain of the far front technologies and of the best organizational practices will undoubtedly be of paramount importance as to achieve and maintain competitiveness in the most relevant sectors.

However, mastering the latest technologies and the most effective organizations has proved to be clearly insufficient in an ever changing highly dynamic global context where knowledge flows freely and fast. It will grant occasional advantages, but it will not ensure sustainable competitiveness.

Only the ability to continuously develop and improve technologies, organization and business models will ensure leadership, but this is surely well beyond the reach of most companies. In fact, the transformation that each process, each company, each business needs to undergo lays also strongly on the economic tissue encompassing their transactional and contextual environments.

The wealth of the European economic tissue – this dense mesh of OEM’s, component and service supplier companies, engineering and R&D service providers, universities, etc., – offers unique advantages to manufacturing activities. But this narrow advantage of Europe is at stake, because USA, Japan and the emerging Asian economic powers are reinforcing and upgrading their regional and national innovation systems very fast.

These are crucial issues that the Manufuture 2007 Conference will put in the agenda of top industrialists, researchers and policy makers, after previous Manufuture Conferences in Milan, Enschede, Derby and Tampere have addressed the development of the “Vision for 2020” document and the Strategic Research Agenda for European Manufacturing, which were undertaken by the Manufuture Platform.

At the moment when the Manufuture ETP builds on 25 national and regional platforms, bringing together a vast majority of the relevant stakeholders of European manufacturing, the Manufuture 2007 Conference addresses new concerns. The topics covered pertain to the sustainability of manufacturing activities and operations in Europe and the global positioning of European manufacturing companies for the years to come.

The financing of strategic R&D activities is one of these important topics. Why companies should regard R&D as an investment with a foreseeable and quantifiable return and how to deploy novel risk-sharing models for financing R&D in manufacturing are two aspects being addressed.

The Asian perspective on some of the problems with which companies are being confronted in global manufacturing operations and support services, namely engineering and R&D services, is another theme that will be put into the centre of the discussion.

The transformation of the European research and innovation infrastructure in manufacturing – a theme that has been covered by the work undertaken within the Manufuture Platform – is also put into perspective at the precise moment when the knowledge and innovation community in European manufacturing clearly emerges as a key stakeholder of the European economy.

Finally, the main outcome of the work undertaken within the scope of Manufuture, namely the result of the road mapping activities undertaken for 25 different industry sectors, will also be presented.

Besides keynote presentations by top specialists from Europe, USA and Asia, a set of workshops-visits will offer fora to discuss focused themes in a hands-on case-based approach. Each workshop-visit will provide hard evidence on the success of a company or sector based on specific key factors that will be under scrutiny and debate.

At the end of the two working days, the main conclusions of the work undertaken will be wrapped-up into a Conference Statement that will be delivered to all stakeholders.

The Manufuture 2007 Conference Organizing Committee