Collaboration, whether between technology-led companies and universities, or between businesses with distinct areas of expertise, is so often the lifeblood of the innovation process.
Once again, The Engineer Technology & Innovation Awards, now in its fifth year, is turning the spotlight on some of the sector’s most innovative and exciting collaborative projects. And together with our main sponsor BAE Systems and our category sponsors, we’re delighted to present the 2011 shortlist. Representatives of the shortlisted entries will be invited to attend the awards final ceremony at the Royal Society, London in December where the overall winners chosen by an expert panel of judges will be announced. One of the category winners will also be named as recipient of The Engineer Grand Prix Award, chosen by The Engineer ’s editorial team as the entry that particularly embodies the spirit of technology, innovation and collaboration.
The following pages feature details of the entries shortlisted in each of the 10 categories. Between them, the projects embody many of the challenges the UK faces and how collaboration can meet them head on: the twin challenges of developing cleaner systems of power generation and technologies and systems that make more efficient use of energy; the need for healthcare technology that can help reduce the demands of an ageing population; and a requirement to maintain and build on the UK’s positions in areas such as defence and aerospace while developing the skills and systems that will help it compete in emerging areas.
“Today’s technology companies appear to inhabit a more fruitful climate”
Plus – a critical point in these financially straitened times – developing the technology that can help us achieve more with fewer resources: systems and technology that reduce waste in our manufacturing processes, or that can help our armed forces become more nimble and more efficient.
Despite its obvious benefits, collaboration hasn’t always come naturally to UK industry. Indeed, there’s a good argument that conservatism and a lack of joined-up thinking has, in the past, hampered the commercialisation of some of the UK’s greatest innovations. Thankfully, as the following pages show, there’s plenty of evidence that today’s technology companies inhabit a more fruitful climate, one where ideas are shared, university research has a clear route to market, and problem-solving expertise flows from one sector to another.
Congratulations to all our finalists and good luck to each of them for the final.
Jon Excell Editor