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Celebrating outstanding British innovation – 2020 MacRobert Award finalists announced


30th Jun 2020

For over 50 years the MacRobert Award has been recognising world-leading engineering innovations developed in the UK.  Originally founded by the MacRobert Trust in 1969, the award has since become the UK’s longest-running and most coveted prize for UK engineering ingenuity.  The annual award is now run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, and honours engineering achievements that demonstrate outstanding innovation, tangible societal benefit and proven commercial success.

The list of past winners of the award serves as an impressive reminder of the wide-ranging capabilities of British engineers.  Notable former winners include:

  • Rolls-Royce for the Pegasus engine used in the Harrier jump jet (1969);
  • EMI Ltd for the application of X Ray techniques for diagnosing brain disease using the first CT scanner (1972 – seven years before Sir Godfrey Houndsfield received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine);
  • ICI KLEA for the process and production technology for manufacturing the ozone – benign refrigerant KLEA 134a (1993);
  • Bombardier for their innovative, resin-infused composite aircraft wing, which underpins the Airbus A220 and is the first certified commercial aircraft wing made using the resin transfer infusion (RTI) process (2019).

Each of the former winners’ outstanding achievements over the last 50 years has been celebrated in a series of striking photos by London based photographer Ted Humber-Smith.

The Royal Academy of Engineering has now announced the finalists for the 2020 MacRobert Award.  All of the finalists for the 2020 award represent British teams that have developed world-first engineering innovations that are reducing vehicle emissions, contributing to the green revolution in motoring, construction and shipping.  The finalists for the 2020 MacRobert Award are:

  • Babcock’s LGE business (Fife, Scotland), for developing a system called ecoSMRT®, which dramatically improves the efficiency of transporting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) by capturing and reliquefying “boil off” gas.
  • Jaguar Land Rover (Warwickshire) for developing the I-PACE®, the world’s first premium battery-electric sports utility vehicle (SUV).
  • JCB (Staffordshire) for developing and manufacturing the world’s first volume-produced fully electric digger (19C-1E).

The winner of the 2020 MacRobert Award will be announced in July, and the winning team will receive the signature MacRobert Award gold medal and a £50,000 cash prize.

The shortlist of finalists for the 2020 award highlights that British engineering expertise is at the forefront of green innovation in vehicle design, and demonstrates that such green innovations continue to be commercially successful.

Commercial success for engineering innovations is seldom achieved without effective intellectual property (IP) protection.  Obtaining appropriate IP protection for an engineering innovation can help to ensure that the innovator reaps the rewards for their innovation.

British engineers have long recognised the importance of IP protection, with past winners of the MacRobert Award filing patents on the Pegasus engine (GB881663), CT scanner (GB1475303A), and the RTI process (GB2316036).  The value of IP protection can also be seen from the record numbers of patent applications being filed around the world.  As such, it is now more important than ever to develop an effective IP strategy en route to commercialisation of an innovation.

If you are developing the next award winning innovation, and would like to discuss how to protect your IP, please contact us.

This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.

Author
James Spencer
Senior Associate
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Would you like to know more? You can talk to James Spencer who will be able to help. Call +44 (0)20 7242 0901

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