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Ulster University, on behalf of the Irish Manufacturing Council, hosted the 39th International Manufacturing Conference (IMC39) on the Derry~Londonderry campus over the two days at the end of August 2023.

The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Smart Manufacturing; the Next Generation’, which encompassed the mission statement of the Irish Manufacturing Council by promoting state-of-the-art developments in manufacturing research and education across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Established in 1984, and in its 39th year, the IMC conference series is one of the longest-running technical conferences held on the island of Ireland. Ulster University last hosted the conference as IMC29 in Belfast in 2012, and was delighted to once again host its welcome return as IMC39.

This was the first time the IMC was hosted on the Derry~Londonderry campus, and the conference was chaired by Ulster University’s Dr Shaun McFadden with the support of co-chair Dr Emmett Kerr (now Head of Department in Electronic and Mechanical Engineering at ATU Donegal), along with a local organising committee of colleagues from across the School of Computing, Engineering, and Intelligent Systems and the School of Engineering.

In addition to the support of both Schools, the conference enjoyed the support of Seagate Technologies and Visit Derry who gave much assistance in arranging a Mayor’s reception and a guided walking tour of the City. The industry-led collaborative network of companies in the North West, known as the GEMX group, also listed the conference on their calendar of events.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Patricia Logue, welcomed conference delegates to the historic Guildhall for refreshments before they set out on a guided walking tour of the city and its famous walls (provided by Martin McCrossan City Tours) followed by a conference dinner held in Bishop’s gate hotel.

Professor Liam Maguire, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at Ulster University, opened the conference and highlighted the major Smart Manufacturing initiatives that Ulster University are leading on. Dr David Mulligan of Atlantic Technological University and chair of the Irish Manufacturing Council then gave a welcome address before Professor Maguire presented the invited plenary speakers with a specially-commissioned piece of Derry crystal as a token of appreciation for their contribution to the conference.

Plenary speakers discussed many common and cross-cutting themes of innovation, research, and training requirements for the next generation of manufacturing engineers and apprentices. These  included Gavin Killeen MBE DL, managing director of Nuprint Technologies; Cormac McAteer, Senior Engineering manager at Seagate technologies (Springtown campus); Emma Annette, Head of Youth Training Delivery and Performance at the Department for the Economy; and Philip Devlin, Product Design Centre Manager at the North West Regional College.

In his closing remarks, the Conference chair Dr Shaun McFadden, remarked on the high quality of all contributions made over the two-day event and was pleased to award Mr Babak Ziaie of Atlantic Technological University, with the best presentation award and Dr Natalia Lishchenko of Trinity College Dublin with the best poster award. Ms. Courtney Gallagher of Ulster University and Mr Pádraig Herbert of Munster Technological University were both awarded with prizes for highly commended presentations.

IMC39 Chair Dr Shaun McFadden , Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering and Undergraduate courses coordinator, at Ulster University, said:

“Overall, the conference was a forward-looking event that showcased the Northwest region as a hub for advanced manufacturing research, industry innovation, and cutting-edge technical education. The conference programme included both research and educational contributions featuring many of our, and a poster session was held over coffee, which gave early-career researchers and students the opportunity to discuss their work in a supportive environment.”

In his closing remarks, chair of the Irish Manufacturing Council, Dr David Mulligan, was pleased to announce that Munster Technological University have agreed to host the 40th International Manufacturing conference (IMC40) on their Cork city campus in 2024.

Find out more:

View a photo gallery of the conference – at this LINK.