A string of yellow lightbulbs hangs above the text '2024, Let's make it easier for people to make digital devices' against a navy background covered in small blue and yellow gears.

There’s no better time than the new year to reflect on how far you’ve come and where you’re headed next. 2023 was an exciting year for the pro² network+.

Some of the highlights from our past year include: 

⚙️ A well-attended launch event in April started things off with a lot of excitement and momentum. We heard talks from network members like John Hardy of Hardy & Ellis Inventions and our own Steering Group member, Steve Hodges of Lancaster University who explained why it is that making hardware is so hard. There were inspiring demos on display, including Air Giants’ inflatable robots and a haptics device for use with VR headsets by Senmag Robotics. The event was a great chance to bring together a diverse community of academics, entrepreneurs, inventors, makers and others to foster new connections. 

💡 In June we held our very first funding call on the theme of ‘Replicability’, which aimed to solve challenges related to the replication of digital devices for testing or production purposes. The call asked for academic and industry experts to work together in developing solutions to overcoming barriers beyond traditional production manufacturing.

⚙️ Following our funding call, three new projects launched in the autumn after successfully responding to the ‘Replicability’ challenge. These projects will develop resources and new manufacturing methods to empower others to easily and affordably produce digital devices in low-volumes. 

We have another busy year ahead of us in 2024. To best tackle the challenges facing low-volume digital device producers, we’ve broken down the pro² mission into three themes through which sustainability will run as a golden thread. Future pro² activities will be organised around the new themes, with room for cross-cutting and interdisciplinary work.


The pro2 logo is in the top right against a white background, with the text 'Themes, 1 Prototyping with Emerging Materials, 2 Isotyping - Refining and Scaling, 3 Infrastructure' surrounded by a green line with the word 'Sustainability' at the bottom.

Some of our big plans for 2024 include:

💡 An interactive online workshop on the 5th of February exploring the challenges innovators are facing when producing ‘non-traditional’ prototypes that include emerging technology and/or materials. We will hear from people who have been through this prototyping process, have small break-out groups to expand our understanding of the challenges, and examine what might be required to address those challenges. Spaces for this free event are limited, so register now to reserve your spot. 

⚙️ Our next funding call, centred around Theme Three challenges, will open in late February. We can’t say much about it yet, but keep an eye on our social media channels for updates!

💡 Outputs from our three funded projects will be released as they near their close in the autumn of 2024. The novel manufacturing tools and methods produced will be shared with the pro² community and beyond, to help many more people produce digital devices. 

The activities listed above are just the beginning of what we hope to achieve in the next year. To stay up to date, register for free as a network member. Our members receive periodic e-newsletters with details about upcoming events and funding calls, as well as access to the member’s section of the website for networking with others. You can also follow us on our social media channels: LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, and YouTube. 


From all of us at pro², we wish you a happy and healthy new year.