Funding to boost UK’s most promising new technologies

Posted on 6 Oct 2016 by Jonny Williamson

The Royal Commission of the Exhibition of 1851 has awarded ten of the UK’s most promising young doctoral engineers and scientists Industrial Fellowships worth £80,000 to help fund and bring their technologies to fruition.

The new technologies include research that could lead to a drug which could drastically improve chemotherapy treatments; research that could eradicate hospital superbugs, and methods to speed up the development of antibodies used to treat patient diseases.

They also include a snake robot for on-wing inspections of jet engines, technology to recover fingerprints from metal surfaces to aid criminal investigations, and environmentally friendly energy storage production.

The full list of 2016 Fellows is:

  • Susanna Challinger, KP Technology & the University of St Andrews: Applying electronic imaging to forensics: using Kelvin Probe technology to recover fingerprints from metal surfaces and improving the efficiency of novel solar cell technology.
  • Fergus Watson, Bioquell UK & the University of Southampton: Research to eliminate biofilms, which are thought to be one of the main causes of hospital superbugs and multi-drug resistant infections.
  • Aaron Chadha, BAFTA Media Technology & University College London: High speed analysis of big video data for classification and retrieval purposes, using state-of-the-art deep learning and compaction techniques.
  • Arnau Garriga Casanovas, Rolls-Royce & Imperial College London: Snake-robot technology to enable on-wing inspections of aeroplane engines, eliminating the costly need to dismantle.
  • Sheun Oshinbolu, GlaxoSmithKline & University College London: Developing a high speed method to analyse aggregation of monoclonal antibodies developed by biopharmaceutical companies to treat diseases.
  • Thomas Fleming, AstraZeneca & the University of Oxford: Restoring the efficacy of chemotherapy on cancers that have developed resistance to anti-cancer drugs by inhibiting DNA repair processes in cancerous cells.
  • Jordan Homan, QinetiQ & Imperial College London: Acoustic mixing technology as an alternative to metal mechanical mixing in developing volatile/explosive materials.
  • Louisa Waine, AkzoNobel & the University of Sheffield: Low energy curing technology that can eliminate the need to heat large vessels, such as ships, to apply paint.
  • Adam Funnell, BBC Research & University College London: A network capable of supporting 8k Ultra-High Definition broadcasting.
  • Tim Sudmeier, Siemens Corporate Technology & the University of Oxford: Creating ammonia for energy storage by electrolysis, using the electricity produced by wind farms and other renewable sources as an alternative to the CO2 intensive Haber-Bosch process.

The Industrial Fellowships provide recent graduates with the means to develop innovative technology with commercial potential, ideally leading to a patent, while completing a PhD or EngD.

Each Fellow receives up to £80,000 worth of funding over three years for their work, to be carried out in collaboration with an academic institution and a business partner.

Applications for the 2017 Industrial Fellowships are now open.

To learn more visit the website here.

The Commission, originally founded by Prince Albert to organise the Great Exhibition of 1851 and then use its profits to further British industry, has recognised the projects for their potential to impact health, environment and business.

The Industrial Fellowships are an integral part of the Commission’s work, with the specific aim of encouraging the commercialisation of new British technologies.

The programme plays a crucial role in facilitating collaboration between universities and industry, offering much sought after research and development funding for new intellectual property.

It also enables promising scientists and engineers to conduct research while gaining industrial experience. This year the Commission has also established a new programme of Enterprise Fellowships, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, which were awarded at the same time.

Chairman of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, Bernard Taylor explained: “Britain has a tremendous history of invention and world leading research. Now more than ever, we need be doing everything we can to turn fledgling ideas into commercial reality to maintain the pace of innovation.

“Our Industrial Fellowships are a crucial part of bridging the gap between research and industry, ensuring that the very best ideas that have the potential to impact society are given every chance to succeed.

“Equally our new Enterprise Fellowships, an award made in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, will give graduate entrepreneurs help, guidance and funding to bring their inventions to market.”

Enterprise Fellowships

The winners of the RAEng 1851 Royal Commission Enterprise Fellowships, which aim to help graduates commercialise their disruptive early-stage engineering innovations through a start-up business, include the inventors of a bioengineered water filter to catch dangerous pollutants; a smart camera to improve transport planning; a pioneering wristband to help users keep calm or stay alert, and a 3D sensing material that could replace all electronic controls.

They will receive up to £50,000 to aid further development of their technology and become members of the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub, receiving mentoring, investment and networking opportunities as well as intensive business training to help bring their products to market.