Hunt is on for the best in British innovation

SMEs are just as likely to develop cutting-edge technologies as are the big players in engineering, according to leading technology innovators, which is why there will be much interest in this year’s MacRobert Award, the UK’s longest running prize for engineering innovation.

Dr Sue Ion, chair of judges, said: “The innovation landscape is changing dramatically. While the UK has long been famed for its engineering heavyweights, there are now just as many opportunities for small businesses to develop and exploit game-changing technologies capable of having global impact.

“In the last 10 years the award has been won by SMEs five times. It’s great to see the spirit of innovation embodied in thriving engineering businesses of all sizes, and for small organisations to be gaining in confidence.”

The judging panel includes Professor Ric Parker CBE, previously director of research & technology at Rolls-Royce. He said: “The MacRobert Award is the most prestigious for UK engineering innovation and I am always inspired by the excellence and diversity of those nominated. Even the UK’s largest engineering firms rely on the agility and innovation of SMEs throughout their supply chains.”

The award, to be presented on June 29, recognises outstanding engineering innovation combined with proven commercial success and tangible social benefit. Winners receive £50,000, a gold medal (and national acclaim). The 2016 winner, Blatchford, was recognised for developing its Linx prosthetic leg which judges hailed as the first of a new generation of prosthetics.