The Engineer Technology and Innovation Awards 2009

The Engineer’s Technology and Innovation Awards returned to The Royal Society last week to celebrate this year’s most successful UK engineering projects.

The event, sponsored by BAE Systems and hosted by Scrapheap Challenge and Red Dwarf star, Robert Llewellyn, saw winners in seven categories receive awards for ground-breaking technologies as a result of collaboration between universities and industry.

The top prize of the event, the Engineer Special Award, was presented to the Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology, Cancer Research Technology and The Technology Partnership for their work on medical imaging.

The research consortium, which also won the award in the Medical and Healthcare category, has developed a system called CyMap that can examine organisms as they divide, grow and die to further research into future cancer therapies. Using no lenses or other optical components, CyMap is a low-cost but robust device, which also has promise in applications such as testing drinking water quality in developing countries, in the development of stem cell therapies, and in disease diagnosis.

The ALADDIN project, run by Southampton University, Oxford University, Imperial College, BAE Systems and Bristol University, received this year’s Aerospace and Defence Award for the development of response systems to improve the way emergency services work together during major disasters. Meanwhile, technology firm Magna Parva and Leicester University received a special commendation for their work on the life marker chip for Europe’s ExoMars mission.

The Energy award went to Aquamarine Power, Queen’s University Belfast and Edinburgh University for the Oyster device. The system, which is the world’s largest working hydroelectric wave energy converter, is a large, buoyant flap made from steel and hinged at its bottom edge, which sits on the sea bed. As waves roll over the device, the flap oscilates, pumping two water pistons attached to each side.

Nottingham University’s work on energy-saving methods and materials for new-build homes won the Civil Engineering category. Alongside local materials suppliers such as Tarmac, the University has built six low carbon homes to demonstrate how energy efficient buildings can be constructed using traditional masonry techniques.

Bristol University and Bristol Water won the Process and Production category for their development of ice pigging – a technique that uses crushed ice particles to clear drinking water pipes, removing the need for harsh chemicals.

The award for Environment Technology was received by Matthew Juniper of Cambridge University and Rolls-Royce, who have jointly developed the FlowTool computational simulator in an attempt to understand how jet engines can be operated using more air and less fuel.

BAE Systems Surface Ships received the award for the Automotive, Rail and Marine category along with Strathclyde, Malta and Newcastle-upon-Tyne Universities. Their computer modeling techniques are being used by shipbuilders to reduce the distortion of steel from welding.

The judges award a special commendation for environmental technology to a team from Oxford University’s Electric Power Group and Delta Motorsport, for their development of a lightweight but high-torque electric motor, which is to be mounted on the wheels of a high-performance electric coupe, currently being developed by Delta.

Speaking at the event, Jon Excell, acting editor of The Engineer, said: ‘The Engineer Awards recognise that we have to unlock the full potential of the UK’s world-class universities if we want to build an innovative, competitive technology economy for the future.

‘We believe that the fantastic collaborative work between our academic sector and the UK’s most innovative companies is overlooked too often. These Awards were launched in a bid to redress the balance.

He added: ‘By working together, companies and their academic partners are achieving more than they could possibly do alone. All the finalists here today demonstrate that, and all of them can be very proud of what they have achieved.’


Award 1

Automotive / Rail / Marine

Sponsored by Shell UK Oil Products


BVT Surface Fleet 
University of Strathclyde/University of Newcastle

Ironing out the Bumps


Award 2  


Sponsored by Culham Centre for Fusion Excellence


Aquamarine Power
 Queen’s University, Belfast



Award 3  

Aerospace & Defence

Sponsored by National Instruments


University of Southampton / University of Bristol / University of Oxford and Imperial College BAE Systems



Award 4 

Environmental Technology

Sponsored by IXC UK


University of Cambridge



Award 5  

Medical / Healthcare

Sponsored by Mathys & Squire


The Technology Partnership / Cancer Research Technology 
Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology / University of Oxford



Award 6

Process & Production

Sponsored by KSB


Bristol Water 
University of Bristol

Ice Pigging in the Water Supply Industry


Award 7

Civil Engineering
 Sponsored by The Sainsbury Management Fellows’ Society


Eon / BASF / Tarmac
 University of Nottingham

Creative Energy Homes


Award 8

Grand Prix: The Engineer Special Award

Sponsored by BAE Systems


The Technology Partnership / Cancer Research Technology 
Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology, University of Oxford