Royal Academy of Engineering funding to make UK world leader in areas of emerging tech

The Royal Academy of Engineering has announced long-term support for 10 engineering global-visionaries to develop areas of emerging technology from bioelectronic therapies for damaged central nervous systems to improved safety in robotics & artificial intelligence.

The Academy brings together the UK's leading engineers, from across all engineering sectors - image courtesy of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
The Academy brings together the UK’s leading engineers, from across all engineering sectors – image courtesy of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The 10 Royal Academy of Engineering Chairs in Emerging Technologies will focus on developing technologies that have the potential to bring significant economic and societal benefits to the UK.

The aim is to ensure that the UK is a driving force for global technological innovation.

Supported by the UK government’s National Productivity Investment Fund, the Academy is committing £1.3m to each of the ten-year programmes.

The support provided to the Chairs in Emerging Technologies will enable these engineers to focus on advancing the novel technologies from basic research through to real deployment and commercialisation.

The areas of emerging technology covered by the Chairs reflect the UK’s wider technology goals; last year the government identified several priority areas of innovation for the UK, spanning healthcare, robotics, clean energy, driverless vehicles, materials of the future, and space technologies.

In recognition of the importance engineering will play in driving these areas of innovation, the government has provided the Royal Academy of Engineering with a significant increase in funding to support the translation of research to application.

The Academy has previously only awarded two of these prestigious Chairs, making single awards in 2009 and 2012.

 The ten Chairs in Emerging Technologies and their projects are:

  • Professor Ana Cavalcanti, University of York – Software Engineering for Robotics: modelling, validation, simulation, and testing
  • Professor Timothy Denison, University of Oxford – Brain engineering: towards closed-loop, non-invasive bioelectronic therapies for neurological disorders
  • Professor Brian Gerardot, Heriot-Watt University – Integrated two-dimensional classical and quantum photonics
  • Professor Alessio Lomuscio, Imperial College London – Trusted learning-based autonomous and robotic systems
  • Professor Colin McInnes MBE FREng FRSE, University of Glasgow – Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies: Space
  • Professor Jason Reese FREng FRSE, University of Edinburgh – PYRAMID: a platform for multiscale design, from molecules to machines
  • Professor Susan Rosser, University of Edinburgh – Engineered cells for combined diagnostics and therapeutics
  • Professor Jonathan Rossiter, University of Bristol – Smart materials and mechanisms for ubiquitous soft robotics
  • Professor Paul Shearing, UCL – Emerging Battery Technologies for Next Generation Energy Storage
  • Professor Sriram Subramanian, University of Sussex – Interactive Technologies Using Metamaterials

As part of their appointment, the Chairs will develop Centres of Excellence in their areas of emerging technology, building and maintaining contacts with industry and other partners to accelerate commercialisation.

Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “Emerging technologies offer enormous opportunities for the UK, both economically and socially, but often their potential is not widely recognised until it is championed by a visionary individual.

“The 10 researchers who have been appointed as Chairs in Emerging Technologies are global leaders in their fields, seeking to transform their pioneering ideas into fully commercialised technologies with important and widespread applications.

“The UK has a rich history of championing disruptive technologies – from the development of the steam engine to the invention of optical fibre communications.

“Early stage technologies offer enormous potential for the UK to continue this legacy and it’s vital that we invest in both the technology, and the people behind it, to remain competitive in the global marketplace.”

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