Rachel Fort, working with BP and King's College London, is researching new modelling tools for developing complex chemistries for lubricants.

Industrial fellowships help turn great ideas into viable products

Industrial fellowships provided by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 help fund doctoral research with commercial potential, with financial support of up to £80,000.

Ten young engineers have each been awarded £80,000 worth of funding by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, established by Prince Albert to stage the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace. Using the profits from the first 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.

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 up to £80,000 worth of funding over three years for their work, which must be carried out in collaboration with an academic institution and a business partner.

The new technologies supported this year include a synthetic eye lens that doesn’t degenerate, new materials for much cheaper solar cells, research that could create much longer lasting batteries, and new modelling tools for developing complex chemistries for lubricants that will enable more fuel-efficient car engines. 

There is also backing for medical and chemical research, including understanding how to treat a currently incurable spinal condition and a rapid way to create new chemicals for industrial processes such as waste management.
“Britain is renowned for carrying out world-leading research but often we have fallen behind in turning that expertise into commercial applications. These fellowships have been designed to identify research with potential to solve current problems in a commercially viable way. In doing so, we continue the spirit of the Great Exhibition of 1851 which showcased the inventive genius that led the world in innovation,” says Bernard Taylor, chairman of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.

Applications for the 2016 Industrial Fellowships are now open. To learn more visit www.royalcommission1851.org/awards/.

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