Simon Edmonds reports on some of the big players in this year’s awards, and the help that entering can provide a company in gaining increased recognition and international sales.
Manufacturers have always featured prominently in the Queen’s Awards and this year’s list was no exception. I am also very encouraged to see a strong representation of firms supported by Innovate UK.
The 2019 Queen’s Award for Enterprise has listed 201 businesses who are among the best in the country, of which 31 received Innovate UK support.
One of the most distinguished decorations for British business, the Queen’s Award was established in 1965 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday.
The categories for the awards are: International Trade, Innovation, Sustainable Development, and Promoting Opportunity. Winners will join more than 6,000 UK businesses that have received a Queen’s Award.
According to research from the University of Strathclyde, 73% of previous winners have credited the award with helping them achieve increased recognition and international sales.
Applications for the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise 2020 opened on 1 May and will close on 10 September 2019. It’s free to enter, and it’s a self-nominating process.
Applicants may apply for more than one award and entries are welcomed from all sectors. For more information and to apply, click here.
Manufacturers among the 2019 winners that have received support from Innovate UK include: C Brandauer & Co (Birmingham), Niftylift (Buckinghamshire), and Silverlining Furniture Group (Wrexham).
KTP Best of the Best 2019 winners
More recognition has also been given for the exceptional outcomes from industry-academic partnerships supported through the highly-valued Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) programme.
The KTP scheme helps businesses in the UK to innovate and grow, linking them with an academic or research organisation and a graduate.
The KTP Best of the Best 2019 awards celebrate the strength and diversity of impact made possible through this successful programme. The awards were judged on criteria including business growth, innovation, transformative change, and team and individual contributions.
KTPs are three-way partnerships between UK businesses, academic teams and qualified postgraduates that support advances in business-led innovation through greater use of knowledge, technology and skills.
There were many categories featured, for example the winner of the Engineering Excellence Award is LMK Thermosafe from Haverhill, which entered a KTP with Queen Mary University, University of London, and associate Dr Harshit Porwal, to develop novel conductive polymer composites.
For more information on other winners, click here.
Variable buoyancy-powered craft
Three High Value Manufacturing Catapult centres – the Manufacturing Technology Centre, the National Composites Centre and the Centre for Process Innovation – are playing a major role in a ground-breaking project to develop the world’s first unmanned variable buoyancy-powered ultra-long endurance aircraft.
The autonomously-controlled Phoenix aircraft has undergone successful test flights and has the potential to take the lead in the world development of pseudo-satellites – vehicles able to fly, remotely-controlled or autonomously, at very high altitudes for long periods of time, often months.
They fly above commercial aircraft routes and above turbulence and moisture, and can complement conventional satellites, to offer opportunities for effective earth-mapping, scientific observation, and intelligence gathering.
The 15-metre-long Phoenix spends half its time as a heavier-than-air aeroplane and the other as a lighter-than-air helium balloon. The repeated transition between these two states provides its sole source of propulsion.
The vehicle’s fuselage contains helium (allowing it to ascend) and an air bag, which sucks in and then compresses air, enabling the craft to descend. The power for moving flight-control surfaces and the valves and pumps comes a solar-powered battery.
Phoenix has been developed by a consortium of industrial partners (Banks Sails, Stirling Dynamics, IQE and TCS Micropumps); universities (Bristol, Newcastle and the Highlands &
Islands), and members of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult (the MTC’s Advanced Production Systems Group,the National Composites Centre, and the Centre for Process Innovation).
UK Smart Grants funding
The next round of funding for Innovate UK smart grants is beginning right now. This is an opportunity to apply for a share of up to £25m to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations with significant potential for impact on the UK economy.
This competition closes on Wednesday 24 July. For more information click here.
As part of the process, £25m is being made available through an Innovate UK and Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) competition to support pre-production projects that can enhance the UK’s long-term capabilities and supply chain in zero-emission vehicles.
The APC 13 competition is seeking collaborative R&D projects that can support the development and supply chain of zero-emission vehicles. The deadline for registration is at midday, 10 July 2019 – for more information, click here.