Innovation in engineering is something to encourage, recognise and celebrate, and Edinburgh-based engineering entrepreneurs, Neil Tierney and Neil Farish are heading for great things – with a little help from their friends.

Founders of Lightweight Medical Ltd, they have been awarded an Engineering Professional Development Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering to enable them to develop and expand their engineering skills and realise the business plans they have for their company, including expanding their workforce.

Both are graduates of Glasgow University and Glasgow School of Art in Product Design Engineering, and they set up Lightweight Medical Ltd in March 2003, aged just 24 and 25 with the mission statement "To research and find opportunities then design, prototype and subsequently licence superior medical devices. We utilise the most advanced materials in order to save weight, improve usability, efficiency and reliability. We also ensure our designs have environmental and social integrity through the application of sustainable design principles. Our bottom line is to help save lives and become a market success".

Lightweight Medical Ltd’s launch product was a ‘critical neonatal product’, which will save the lives of many newborns. It was first displayed at The Lighthouse, Scotland’s premiere design space, between November 2003 and January 2004. In collaboration with a manufacturing company the project has entered the final development stages before commercial release in late 2006.

Currently the only company dedicated to designing lightweight, ergonomic and well-engineered medical devices, they also recently won the Shell LiveWIRE Lothian’s final of the annual Young Entrepreneur of the Year competition - the Scottish final is on the 6th May in Edinburgh.

Neil Tierney says,

“The training money from the Royal Academy of Engineering is brilliant. We have primarily spent it on advanced computer aided design training. We’re now well under way with more speculative projects and are expanding the team with additional product design engineers in the near future. Lightweight Medical is continuing to gain recognition and we’ll definitely be applying for an Academy award again this year!”

Notes for editors

  1. Founded in 1976, the Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship - comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers - provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.
  2. Engineering Professional Development Awards are open to all UK companies in the engineering, manufacturing, construction and building service sectors. The award scheme aims to help companies to stay competitive by providing funds to support professional training programmes for their engineers.
  3. Further information about the scheme is available from The Academy’s Education Affairs Department.
  4. The closing date for application for 2004/2005 awards is 22 October 2004.
  5. The Awards form part of the Postgraduate and Professional Development Phase of the Engineering Education Continuum promoted by The Academy. This consists of four industry-based programmes to encourage able people to take up careers in engineering and develop them to their full potential.
  6. The Engineering Professional Development Awards are financed by the UK Department of Trade and Industry.

For more information please contact

Claire McLoughlin at the Royal Academy of Engineering