Collaborate to Innovate 2020 awards shortlist announced

We’re delighted to reveal the shortlist for The Engineer's 2020 Collaborate To Innovate (C2I) Awards.

Now in its fifth year, The Engineer's Collaborate To Innovate awards (C2I) was established to uncover and celebrate great examples of technology-led engineering collaboration across a range of different disciplines and sectors. It’s fair to say that it’s more than delivered on this vision, and has regularly uncovered a fresh pipeline of innovations, showcasing the UK’s strength and breadth in cross-disciplinary collaboration, and providing plenty of reasons to optimistic about the future of UK engineering.

And, in a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many sectors of the economy grinding to halt, this year’s shortlist – one of the strongest in the competition’s history - provides gratifying evidence that the UK’s culture of innovation and appetite for collaboration is alive and well.

The shortlisted projects are listed below , and we’ll be looking at all of them in more detail over the weeks and months ahead, with the winners being announced early next year.


In place of our annual party (which can’t take place owing to current restrictions)  winners of this year’s competition will be unveiled during a special C2I Week that will hosted on The Engineer’s website ( from 1st to 5th February.

Whilst it will be a shame not to congratulate our winners face-to-face, C2I 2020 promises to be no less a compelling celebration of the incredible things that happen when engineers from different groups come together to solve a challenge, and we can’t wait to share their stories with you.

With special thanks to this year’s headline sponsor Frazer-Nash Consultancy

Click here to read comment from Frazer-Nash Consultancy Managing Director Neil McDougall


What the judges said

Judging for the 2020 C2I awards took place throughout October and November. Here's what our judging panel had to say about this year's list of finalists

“The encouraging thing is the response we’ve seen in difficult times – which has been equal to prior years. We’re not seeing a dip in applications or the quality of those applications. It’s been a real challenge to differentiate between some really good  submissions. I’m encouraged and heartened by the capability we have as a nation – and that makes me think that the future is secure.”

Neil McDougall - Managing Director, Frazer-Nash Consultancy 

“What struck me was the breadth of entries.  Our communities are addressing the problems of today and tomorrow – and they’re looking at the immediate things to do with COVID this year - but they have also thought long term, and are really addressing societal challenges”

Sam Francis - EPSRC Deputy Director- Research Base

“I was impressed by the breadth of applications and the endeavor and collaboration shown in what are quite challenging times at the moment. It’s my third year doing this and year on year you can definitely see the progression in terms of new ideas and applications of technology. People are still finding new ways to think about things.”

Steve Penver – Head of data and Analytics, Babcock International Group

“We’ve all had a very challenging year – but innovation has endured and prospered – and it’s really heartening to see that that human spirit and that desire to improve lives and make the world better is still there and is still flourishing. It’s really inspiring to see that people have taken on the extra burdens that have been given to them but have continued to think about the future and innovate and dream.”

Abbie Hutty - STM and GTM Delivery Manager and Structure Supplier Operations Manager, ExoMars Rover Project at Airbus 

“I’ve been really impressed by the breadth of applications this year. The medical sector has really come to light, particularly given the challenges around COVID.”

John Halton – Director, Business & Industry, Engineering UK  

“This year’s entries show that even under challenging circumstances, innovation remains in good health across a wide range of traditional and non-traditional areas to address society’s challenging needs.”

Alan Newby – Director Aerospace Technology and Future Programmes, Rolls-Royce Plc 

“I was struck by the real diversity of entries and I was pleased that that had remained the case in this most unusual of years. The most exciting entries for me were those that brought together people who in the past wouldn’t necessarily have talked to each other because they were coming from different sectors – and that holds real potential for innovation in this country in the longer term. The thing that I think we should all celebrate is that so many of the entries are about making life better for people – yes more productive, faster and cheaper – but also better for human beings and the way that we occupy this planet of ours. These are great projects and they absolutely matter to us as individuals.”

Rosa Wilkinson - Director of Communications, High Value Manufacturing Catapult 

“This has been a year of extraordinary challenges – but what we’ve got here is a fantastic competition with some great entries and incredible diversity. What’s really come to the forefront this year is the whole area of energy and environment and healthcare which gives a great illustration of how engineering has a bearing on all aspects of society."

Professor Andy Wright – Director Strategic Technology, BAE Systems Programmes and Support 


Category: aerospace & defence

UK Volcanology Field Robotics Team: University of Bristol with University College London, University of Cambridge and University of Manchester

H-ATMP KTP Partnership: SC Group-Global with the University of Exeter

DRAMA: National Centre for Additive Manufacturing / MTC with ATS Global, Autodesk, Ansys Granta, Midlands Aerospace Alliance, National Physical Laboratory, Renishaw and the University of Birmingham

Sponsored by High Value Manufacturing Catapult 


Collaboration is in the DNA of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.  Every day we bring together innovation-hungry businesses with world-leading technical experts to help boost company competitiveness and develop the products and processes that capture and secure market share.  We know that when people collaborate intractable problems can be solved and great results emerge. We see that daily in the dozens of collaborative R&D projects we work on with business, academia and government. Entrants to the Collaborate to Innovate Awards demonstrate the value of collaboration very clearly.  We are proud to support these awards and encourage their endeavours.

Category: Automotive

i-CoBat (Immersion Cooled Electric Vehicle Battery Packs): M&I Materials Ltd with Ricardo Ltd, Warwick Manufacturing Group at University of Warwick.

ACRIM-Wheel (All Composite Reduced Inertia Modular Wheels): Carbon ThreeSixty Ltd with Far-UK Ltd and Bitrez Ltd

AutoAir: UK 5G Test Bed for Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs): Dense Air with Millbrook, Blu Wireless Technology, McLaren Applied Technologies, University of Surrey, Quortus, Real Wireless, Celestia Technologies, Telefonica (O2) and Atkins.

Composite Hybrid Automotive Suspension System Innovative Structures (CHASSIS):  Ford Motor Company with Gestamp, National Composites Centre, University of Nottingham


Equipmake with Hieta, Altair and Ariel

Category: Energy & Environment

Development of In-process Liquid Sampling Device:  Advanced Sampling Process Instruments (ASPI) Ltd with Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU)

A Novel Thermoelectric Heat Pump/Heat Recovery System (EcoPump): University of Nottingham with Environmental Process Systems, EPS Ltd, P.A.K Engineering Ltd, Thermo Electric Devices Ltd  Gaoke Applied Science Research Institute Co. Ltd, China and Southeast University, China

Alpha Sort and Segregation Active Demonstrator Project: James Fisher Nuclear with Sellafield Ltd and CNSL Ltd.

ERM Dolphyn: ERM with Offshore Design Engineering (ODE), Tractebel Engie, Principle Power Inc (PPI), NEL, and Doosan

Gravitricity's Demonstrator Energy Storage System: Gravitricity with Huisman Equipment

SUNRISE:  Swansea University with Indian Institute of Science Education and Research,

Imperial College London, Brunel University London, and others.

Aerofoil: Williams Advanced Engineering  and Aerofoil Energy Limited

Category: Healthcare & Medical

Adhesive Drug Eluting Devices for Unmet Clinical Needs in Oral Medicine: University of Sheffield with AFYX Therapeutics

Quanta SC+Haemodialysis System: Quanta Dialysis Technologies Limited with Smallfry

A distinctive medical technologies research, innovation and translation system, delivering economic and social impact: University of Leeds and UKRI; Medical Technologies IKC (UKRI EPSRC); Grow MedTech (UKRI Research England)  + 27 academic research organisation partners

234 industry/clinical research organisation partners and a wider network of 928 associate members.

TraCer: University of Oxford, King's College London, Aga Khan University, MRC Unit The Gambia at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Oxford Computer Consultants.

Machine learning for enhanced diabetes care: Quin Technology Ltd, University of Bristol

Category: Healthcare & Medical: COVID response

Zephr Plus Ventilator: Babcock International with Raytheon, Kohler Mira Limited, Kinneir Dufort, Future Advanced Manufacture, PDD, Amtek Precision, Plexus

CE Imperial Lather: Imperial College London- Department of Chemical Engineering with Sipsmith London

OxVent: Oxvent Ltd with University of Oxford, King's College London and Smith+Nephew

3D printed auxetic nasopharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 sample collection: University of Wolverhampton with 6DME UK

Emergency Ventilator for Covid-19: Jenton International Limited with B&R Industrial Automation Limited, Festo Limited, Dero Fabrication Limited and Shearmans Limited

The InVicto Ventilator: JFD  with Frazer-Nash Consultancy, Angus 3D Solutions, MDU, Narayana Health and Innovhealth

Category: Data & Connectivity

Improving the data quality of low-cost air pollution sensors: South Coast Science with Ricardo

AutoAir: UK 5G Test Bed for Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs): Dense Air with Millbrook, Blu Wireless Technology, McLaren Applied Technologies, University of Surrey, Quortus, Real Wireless, Celestia Technologies, Telefonica (O2) and Atkins.

Radio Frequency Pipeline Communications - Electromagnetic Research: Innerpath Technologies Ltd  with University of Edinburgh, Heriot Watt University, Oil and Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC)

Novel vibration-based scour monitoring technique: University of Cambridge (Laing O'Rourke centre, Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction, and Scofield Centre) with Bradford Metropolitan Council, Gaist Solutions and TMS Maritime Ltd

Machine learning for enhanced diabetes care: Quin Technology Ltd, University of Bristol

Sponsored by Babcock International Group


Babcock International is proud to continue our support of The Engineer’s C2I Awards.  We are a leading provider of complex and critical engineering services across defence, emergency services and civil nuclear, both in the UK and increasingly internationally.  Our partnerships span from industry through to academia and through our deep engineering expertise we are able to identify, adapt and integrate new technologies in the critical and complex assets we manage for our customers, and ourselves. Engineering is embedded in our DNA and technology underpins everything we do, and so does the way we collaborate.

Category: Manufacturing Technology

DRAMA:  National Centre Additive Manufacturing - MTC with Ansys, Granta, Autodesk, ATS Global,

Midlands Aerospace Alliance, National Physical Laboratory, Renishaw, University of Birmingham

PowderCleanse: Carpenter Technology Corporation with Farleygreene, Malvern Panalytical, Aegleteq, Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).

Topology Optimisation of a heat exchanger with turbulent flow: Baker Hughes with

Imperial College London, TOffeeAM LTD.

Concrete Reinforcement of the Future: MTC with MetLase, ParaPy and Leeds Beckett University

PowderBond: Powdertech Surface Science with Stalcom Automotive Technologies, Ariel Motor Co, MacNeillie (Babcock), Innovate UK NVN

Sponsored by Mazak 

Collaboration and innovation are the lifeblood of British industry. If we are to win in an ever more competitive world, then our ability to collaborate with suppliers, customers, academia and even our peers to further the cause of innovation is ever more vital.  In my own industry, machine tools, the breadth of our collaboration with automation suppliers, software developers, tooling companies and universities is now on a scale few imagined only a decade ago. The results are being seen every day across industry, but we cannot be complacent. That’s why Mazak is supporting Collaborate to Innovate.

Category: Wild card

UK Volcanology Field Robotics Team: University of Bristol with University College London, University of Cambridge and University of Manchester

Automating an Antarctic Research Station: British Antarctic Survey with Newenco, Landfill systems and Capstone

Tactile Telerobot: Shadow Robot Company with  ANA Holdings,  Tangible Research, HaptX

Platform Construction System - Construction Innovation Hub with Akerlof and 40 industrial partners

FASTBLADE : The University of Edinburgh with Babcock International Group, Artemis Intelligent Power, FOX VPS Ltd, NI, MatchID, SIMEC Atlantis Energy and Orbital Marine Power

ReDRESS Project : Precision Acoustics Ltd with Ionix Advanced Technologies, TWI Ltd

and the University of Sheffield

Category: Young Innovator

Automated Snooker Scoring System:  - Jonathan Lim - Nottingham High School / University of Southampton

PPE Cooling Fans:  Toby Weymouth, Kings School, Worcester

Collaborate to Innovate is also supported by:


Engineering UK