The MacRobert Award is the UK’s longest-running and most prestigious national prize for engineering innovation.
It honours the winning organisation with a gold medal, and the team members a cash prize of £50,000. The presentation of the Award recognises outstanding innovation, tangible societal benefit and proven commercial success.
Past winners have included the engineers behind innovations such as the Pegasus jet engine, catalytic converters, the roof of the Millennium Dome and intelligent prosthetic limbs.
The other finalists for the 2021 Award were:
- Creo Medical for its healthcare innovation in developing advanced miniaturised surgical tools that uniquely integrate radio frequency and high frequency microwave energy for highly targeted, minimally invasive endoscopic surgery, dramatically improving patient outcomes for cancer care, while minimising the need for traditional surgical interventions, moving treatment out of the operating room. The tools promise to transform clinical outcomes for patients, reducing recovery times and avoiding the risks of open surgery. The new technology enables cost savings of up to £10,000 per procedure in NHS Hospitals, a 50% saving on traditional surgery.
- PragmatIC Semiconductor for its electronic engineering innovation that takes the silicon out of silicon chips, resulting in ultra-low-cost thin and flexible integrated circuits. These can be inexpensively embedded in everyday objects from food and drink packaging to medical consumables, a crucial step in achieving the Internet of Things and addressing a range of application sectors including the circular economy and digital healthcare. The technology reduces manufacturing cycle time from months to less than a day, allowing agile “just in time” production of microchips, avoiding the risks and waste of global supply chains. In addition, traditional silicon chip fabrication methods have enormous carbon and water footprints, while the PragmatIC approach reduces this by more than 100-fold.