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Young Scientists and Engineers Awarded Great Exhibition Funds

Published: Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 05, 2013
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Recent graduates awarded £80,000 to develop innovative commercial technologies.

Eight young scientists and engineers have been recognized by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, established by Prince Albert to stage the Great Exhibition in the eponymous Crystal Palace.

The Industrial Fellowships provide recent graduates with the means to develop innovative technology with commercial potential, ideally leading to a patent, while completing a PhD or EngD.

Each Fellow receives £80,000 worth of funding for their work, to be carried out in collaboration with an academic and a business partner.

Using the profits from the first and still the most successful ever world trade fair, the 1851 Royal Commission now awards a range of fellowships and grants to support science and engineering research and industrial education across the UK. It has previously funded luminaries such as Prof Peter Higgs, Sir James Chadwick and Paul Dirac.

The Industrial Fellowships form a crucial part of the Commission’s work, with the specific aim of encouraging profitable innovation in British industry. The scheme also facilitates collaboration between Universities and industry, offering much sought after research funding, while providing valuable career opportunities to promising scientists and engineers.

The 2013 Fellows were recognized at an award ceremony attended by the Rt Hon David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science. In the spirit of the Great Exhibition, they encompass the depth and breadth of British industry in the 21st century. Winning proposals include:

• A sports drink, which could improve physical and cognitive performance by up to two per cent
• A ‘Laboratory on a chip’, which promises a wide variety of applications, including detecting antibiotic resistant infections
• Plans for developing a fabric chimney up to 1000m tall, which could greatly reduce the cost of solar power generation

Bernard Taylor, Chairman of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, said: “Building on our rich history, the Royal Commission remains at the cutting edge of science and engineering, through investing in young talent across the depth and breadth of modern British industry. This work continues the legacy of Prince Albert and the Great Exhibition, which brought science, art and industry together, with the aim of driving innovation.

“The vision and diversity of this year’s Fellows is a good as it has ever been and reflects the wealth of talent that exists across the UK on an extraordinarily broad front.”

The Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, said: "The Government is committed to ensuring that the UK is the best place in the world to do science. To achieve this we must support the development of scientific ideas into commercially viable and profitable technologies. These in turn drive the economy and keep the UK ahead in the global race.
“The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 has been supporting this aim for a number of years. I would like to congratulate all the talented young scientists and engineers who have taken part in the Fellowships Award Ceremony. Their achievements, and ambitious plans for the future, show the diversity of talent and innovation that exists across the UK.”

2013 Fellows are:

• Campbell Brown - working with Sharp Laboratories and University of Southampton to develop a ‘Laboratory on a chip’, for a wide variety of applications including detecting antibiotic resistant infections
• Jordan Conway - working with SIRAKOSS and the University of Aberdeen, to produce a material that mimics bone growth, to reduce the need for metal implants
• Jethro Coulson - working with Renishaw and the University of Nottingham on a technique for measuring metal components at a microscopic level to maximize their efficiency, particularly within the aerospace industry
• Stephen Greenland - working with Clyde Space and the University of Strathclyde to progress work on the first ever UK space agency commissioned nano-satellite
• Brianna Stubbs - working with TdeltaS and the University of Oxford, to produce a ketone based sports drink, with the potential to improve performance by as much as two per cent
• Patrick Cottam - working with Lindstrand Technologies and University College London (UCL) to research methods for developing a fabric chimney up to 1000m tall, which could greatly reduce the cost of solar power generation
• Julian Hodgson - working with Passion Pictures and University College London (UCL) to develop artist friendly tools for fluid simulation in visual animation
• James Dimmock - working with Sharp Laboratories and Imperial College London to develop high efficiency solar cells, which generate significantly more power than traditional cells through transforming the sun into a laser. James has been selected as this year’s ERA Foundation Fellow, an award for a candidate from the electro-technology sector made possible by a generous donation from the ERA Foundation.

David Clark, Executive Secretary of the ERA Foundation, commented: “The ERA Foundation contributes to the economic vitality of the UK by raising the profile of engineering, supporting young engineers at formative stages of their careers, and investing in early stage technology companies.

“The Foundation is proud to be one of the supporters of the 1851 Industrial Fellowship Awards. These prestigious awards allow the ‘brightest and the best’ of our engineering talent in industry to enhance their qualifications even further to the very highest levels. UK economic competitiveness requires the nation to continue to produce world-class engineers, and the 1851 Industrial Fellowship Awards are helping to realize this ambition."

Since they were established in 1990, the Industrial Fellowships have supported over 180 young scientists and engineers, plus numerous UK companies and universities, investing a total of over £12m in research. The Commission counts 12 Nobel prizewinners amongst its alumni, including recent winner Peter Higgs.

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