Delivering the key to growth

It is the third year of The Engineer’s Technology and Innovation Awards and, once again, it is our pleasure, along with our main sponsor, BAE Systems, to recognise and honour the best examples of innovation in the UK resulting from collaboration between academia and industry. As you will see in these pages, companies large and small understand the contribution that university researchers can make to engineering projects and are keen not only to support that research, but also to get involved and work with academia to achieve their goals.

This year, perhaps more than previous years, such collaborations are more important than ever. The financial crisis has shown that the UK should not — and probably cannot — depend on the banking and investment sector to underpin its economy, and many believe that this country’s engineering and technology know-how should be the true engine of economic growth.

Collaboration between industry and universities is absolutely crucial to this, delivering a steady stream of innovation that is aimed at solving problems that have commercial implications, or helping to identify the routes to market of more blue-sky research. The benefits go both ways:
companies can tap into the knowledge, expertise and facilities of cuttingedge research departments, while the students and academic staff can see how their research can affect and be affected by the world beyond the campus and the laboratory.

Projects such as the ones featured in this special edition of The Engineer demonstrate the contribution the UK’s research community can make. Congratulations once again to our winners and to all those who entered the awards.

Stuart Nathan
Special Projects Editor