Royal Commission announces Industrial Fellowships

The recipients of this year’s Industrial Fellowships from the Royal Commission of the Exhibition of 1851 have been announced, with 10 young scientists and engineers awarded funding for their work.

Founded by Prince Albert in the lead up to the Great Exhibition, the Commission continued to operate in the aftermath of that event, investing the profits in the advancement of British industry. The Industrial Fellowships, worth up to £80,000 over three years, are presented to recent graduates developing innovative technology with commercial potential while completing a PhD or EngD. Work is carried out alongside an academic institution and a business partner.

This year’s projects include hydrogen peroxide vapour to prevent hospital superbugs, a technique to prevent tumours building resistance to chemotherapy, and a snake robot for on-wing jet engine inspections. In the past, the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 has provided funding for Nobel laureates Professor Peter Higgs, Sir James Chadwick and Paul Dirac.

“Britain has a tremendous history of invention and world leading research. Now more than ever, we need be doing everything we can to turn fledgling ideas into commercial reality to maintain the pace of innovation,” said Bernard Taylor, chairman of the Royal Commission.

“Our Industrial Fellowships are a crucial part of bridging the gap between research and industry, ensuring that the very best ideas that have the potential to impact society are given every chance to succeed. Equally our new Enterprise Fellowships, an award made in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, will give graduate entrepreneurs help, guidance and funding to bring their inventions to market. It is an exciting new initiative for the Commission and we are looking forward to watching the first Fellows progress through the year.”

The full list of winners can be seen below. Applications for the next year’s Fellowships are now open, with entries closing on January 26 2017. More information can be found at the Royal Commission’s website.

· Susanna Challinger, KP Technology and the University of St Andrews: Applying electronic imaging to forensics: using Kelvin Probe technology to recover fingerprints from metal surfaces and improving the efficiency of novel solar cell technology.

· Fergus Watson, Bioquell UK and the University of Southampton: Research to eliminate biofilms, which are thought to be one of the main causes of hospital superbugs and multi-drug resistant infections.

· Aaron Chadha, BAFTA Media Technology and University College London: High speed analysis of big video data for classification and retrieval purposes, using deep learning and compaction techniques.

· Arnau Garriga Casanovas, Rolls-Royce plc. and Imperial College London: Snake-robot technology to enable on-wing inspections of aeroplane engines, eliminating the costly need to dismantle.

· Sheun Oshinbolu, GlaxoSmithKline and University College London:  Developing a high speed method to analyse aggregation of monoclonal antibodies developed by biopharmaceutical companies to treat diseases.

· Thomas Fleming, AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford: Restoring the efficacy of chemotherapy on cancers that have developed resistance to anti-cancer drugs by inhibiting DNA repair processes in cancerous cells.

· Jordan Homan, Qinetiq and Imperial College London: Acoustic mixing technology as an alternative to metal mechanical mixing in developing volatile/explosive materials.

· Louisa Waine, AkzoNobel and the University of Sheffield: Low energy curing technology that can eliminate the need to heat large vessels, such as ships, to apply paint.

· Adam Funnell, BBC Research and University College London: A network capable of supporting 8k Ultra-High Definition broadcasting.

· Tim Sudmeier, Siemens Corporate Technology and the University of Oxford: Creating ammonia for battery storage by electrolysis, using the electricity produced by wind farms and other renewable sources as an alternative to the CO2 intensive Haber-Bosch process.