A groundbreaking piece of research on the impact of the acoustics industry in the UK was presented at the leading industry conference Acoustics 2019 on 13 and 14th May. The research was carried out by the UK Acoustics Network (UKAN) in conjunction with the Institute of Acoustics (IOA) and demonstrates that:
- The industry contributes £4.6 billion turnover nationwide, generated by more than 750 different companies
- The largest concentration of acoustics industrial activity is in the North West, Scotland and South East regions
- The industry is made up of over 98% small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), although the 7% of medium and large operations generate over 80% of acoustics revenues
- The acoustics industry is underpinned by a vibrant knowledge base with over 200 active research grants, worth in total more than £150 million and involving over 47 separate UK universities
Acoustics feeds into many major global markets, including the $10 billion market for sound insulation materials in construction, the $7.6 billion ultrasound equipment market and the potential $31 billion market for voice recognition.
Professor Barry Gibbs, President of the Institute of Acoustics, commented: "We became involved in this seminal research because for the first time, we have a way to demonstrate that acoustics is heard above the noise to inform policy, support agencies, researchers, career decisions and wider industry about the scale of acoustics capability available in the UK."
Gibbs added, "The four Grand Challenges identified in the 2017 UK Industrial Strategy will all require acoustics innovation. Challenge leaders are encouraged to engage with the UK acoustics community through the Institute of Acoustics (3000 members) and the EPSRC UK Acoustics Network (over 600 members) as a priority to ensure that acoustics innovation is built into solutions at the earliest opportunity."
Acoustics is a vibrant field that touches so many industries, and the UK is a world leader. It is vital to industries such as in developing new airplanes, manufacturing plants, naval vessels, cars and buildings, and underpins most major developments in our modern society.
The research findings were presented for the first time at Acoustics 2019 held this year in Milton Keynes.