The joint winners in 1969 were Freeman, Fox and Partners for the superstructure of the Severn Bridge and Rolls-Royce for the Pegasus engine used in the Harrier aircraft

MacRobert Award for engineering open for applications

Applications for the UK’s longest running national prize for engineering innovation, the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award, open today.

Leading nuclear engineer Dr Dame Sue Ion will chair the judging panel of leading figures in engineering who decide the winner of the prestigious award, becoming the awards first female chair.

The MacRobert Award was established 45 years ago to identify outstanding innovation with proven commercial promise and tangible societal benefit and the very first award in 1969 recognised the extraordinary Rolls-Royce Pegasus engine, used in the iconic Harrier jets, alongside the design of the superstructure of the Severn Bridge as joint winners.

In 1972 the judges highlighted the achievement of the first CT scanner – seven years before its inventor Sir Godfrey Hounsfield received the Nobel Prize – and more recently, judges predicted that 2013 winner RealVNC could be a billion dollar company within five years, such is the potential of its remote access software.

Dame Sue said: “The MacRobert Award recognises UK engineering innovations that make a real difference to our lives. It’s no coincidence that many previous winning technologies are now ubiquitous in modern medicine, transport and technology.

“The MacRobert Award judging process is rigorous and engaging, and really puts nominees through their paces. I’m looking forward to taking a lead role and previewing the UK’s rich engineering future alongside the committee of some of the UK’s most successful engineers.”

Dame Sue is joined by three new judges: Group Head of Engineering at BP International John Baxter, President of the Institute of Physics Dr Frances Saunders and Head of SMART Services at NHS Lothian David Gow – a former MacRobert Award winner with Touch Bionics.

The 2014 winner Cobalt Light Systems has developed technology that is already being applied in a liquid scanning system for airport security and has demonstrated huge potential in other areas including real-time diagnostic tools for cancer screening.

CEO of Cobalt Light Systems Paul Loeffen said: “Winning the MacRobert Award was a wonderful experience for the whole company and had a truly positive impact on the whole team.

“As a small, rapidly growing company, everyone takes personal ownership and pride in our engineering achievements, and all employees of Cobalt were delighted by the recognition of our success, especially in light of such tough competition.

“As well as the fantastic exposure at the time, we have benefited from a higher profile with our customers, suppliers, and other business partners.”

The award is open to individuals and teams from organisations of all sizes in the private, public and charitable sectors and winners will receive a £50,000 prize and a gold medal.

Visit the academy's website to apply for the 2015 MacRobert Award. The closing date for applications is 31 January 2015.

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