Is Northern Ireland Home To The UK’s Best Engineering Innovation?
The MacRobert Award, which was first presented in 1969, is the UK’s longest running and most prestigious prize for engineering innovation.
In celebration of five decades of the UK’s finest engineering innovations, the Academy will be running a programme of special events and activities throughout the anniversary year. Finalists will be announced in June and the 50th MacRobert Award will be presented at the Academy Awards Dinner at Banqueting House in London on 11 July.
Dr Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng FRS, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award judging panel, said:
“Northern Ireland has a strong engineering heritage. While it is well known for its shipbuilding prowess, it also has a world-leading reputation in many emerging industries, including cyber security and fintech. We are confident that there are many examples of outstanding engineering innovation across the region and we would like to encourage companies to consider entering for the MacRobert Award in this special anniversary year."
Companies from Northern Ireland have previously been recognised by the Academy for their outstanding innovation, with Belfast-based Andor Technology reaching the final in 2012 for their vacuum-cooled scientific digital camera, a technology that enabled researchers to capture high resolution pictures of single cells and molecular structures with greater accuracy than was ever previously possible.
Also based in Belfast, Bombardier Aerospace was a finalist for the award in 2001 for a new aircraft engine thrust reverser and in 2003 Randox Laboratories won the award for the evidence rapid analysis system, which could run over 4,500 blood tests per hour, a market-leading achievement at the time.
Over the past five decades the MacRobert Award has been remarkably accurate in predicting the key innovations that would shape the world we live in. These have included the engineers behind innovations such as the Pegasus jet engine used in the iconic Harrier jets, catalytic converters and the CT scanner. The 2018 award went to Owlstone Medical for the ReCIVA Breath Sampler, the world’s first ‘breath biopsy’ system.
MacRobert Award judge and Emeritus Regius Professor of Electronics and Computer Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast Professor Sir John McCanny CBE FREng FRS comments:
“Engineering innovations from Northern Ireland can be found across the world, from the Routemaster buses driving through the roads of London to the portable defibrillators located in shopping centres, offices and health facilities globally. Some 40 per cent of the world’s plane seats are made by Rockwell Collins and Thompson Aero Seating, 40 per cent of hard disk drive read/write heads are made by Seagate, and 40 per cent of global production of crushing and screening equipment is made by Terex, CDE Global and Maximus in Mid-Ulster.
Northern Ireland is home to a large community of innovators and has the potential to grow into one of the most entrepreneurial knowledge economies in Europe, with initiatives such as the Belfast Region City Deal emphasising the vital importance of engineering and manufacturing to our future. The MacRobert Award helps to celebrate the very best of innovation from all engineering disciplines. I would encourage any companies considering applying for the Award to do so. It brings both national and international prestige, and an unrivalled platform to showcase your innovation.”
Applications for the 2019 MacRobert Award are now open and will close on 31 January 2019. For more information, visit http://www.raeng.org.uk/grants-and-prizes/prizes-and-medals/awards/the-macrobert-award
Log in to view