The 2009 Short List: Reaping the rewards of collaboration

Innovation in engineering and technology is currently higher up the UK’s national agenda than it has been in decades. That can only be a positive development and one that makes The Engineer Technology & Innovation Awards more relevant than ever.

Now in their third year, the Technology & Innovation Awards celebrate and reward outstanding collaboration between the UK’s most innovative technology-led companies and its world-class universities. Together with our main sponsor BAE Systems and our category partners, The Engineer is delighted to present 2009’s final short list. Representatives of all the short-listed 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.

If any proof was needed of how much importance is being attached to forging stronger links between the UK’s productive economy and its academic base, it is provided by the high profile given to the subject by business secretary Lord Mandelson. He has spent the recent months extolling the virtues of engineering, technology and applied science as the foundations of a successful, sustainable and stable economic future for the UK. Universities have a crucial role to play in laying those foundations, not just as providers of the highly skilled employees of the future but as active partners in the innovative projects that will make those ambitions a reality.

“The short-listed projects embody the challenges the UK faces and how collaboration can meet them head on”

The following pages feature details of the entries short-listed in each of the seven categories. Between them, the projects embody the challenges the UK faces and how collaboration can meet them head-on. The challenge of developing cleaner energy systems that can reduce carbon emissions while meeting the need for stable, secure sources of supply. The need for medical technologies that can help us live longer, healthier lives against the background of an ageing population that will place greater demands than ever on the healthcare system. A requirement to maintain and enhance the UK’s existing world-leading positions in areas such as defence, aerospace and automotive technologies at a time of unparalleled competition from emerging economies.

Fortunately for the UK, its university engineering, technology and science departments are more prepared than ever to play their part. The days of the ivory tower of academia are, fortunately, a thing of the past and academic institutions are well aware of the benefits of working with industrial partners.

University campuses are often far more than a source of technical expertise. Many have invested in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, turning them into a valuable partner for technology-led companies that need to carry out specialised work in a particular field. This can be a particular asset for small or medium-sized enterprises that would otherwise be unable to access such resources.

Congratulations to all our finalists and good luck to each of them for the final. The Engineer welcomes enquiries from companies or institutions interested in becoming involved with the Technology & Innovation Awards as partners or sponsors. Please contact Andrew Rees, for more information.