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MacRobert Award

Award Winners 1969−2013

Photo of RealVNC team at the Awards Dinner

For the innovation of VNC Remote Access Software

RealVNC's technology gives computer, smartphone, and other device users the power to 'take over' another device remotely from anywhere in the world. It is now used on over a billion devices worldwide, and VNC protocols have even become an official part of the internet.

Photo of Jaguar Land Rover team at the Awards Dinner2012 -Jaguar Land Rover - Range Rover Evoque: World Class British Design and Innovation
The Range Rover Evoque from Land Rover has carved out an entirely new market segment with its striking concept-car design which still retains the ground clearance necessary for true all-terrain capability. In order to maintain the original concept's low profile design, Jaguar Land Rover's engineers packaged the under-floor components, the all new front and rear suspension systems, new chassis frame and 70L fuel tank with millimetre accuracy.

2011 – Microsoft Research, Cambridge - human motion capture in Kinect for Xbox 360

Five engineers from Microsoft Research won the award for their machine learning work on the human motion capture in Kinect for Xbox 360, allowing controller-free gaming and opening up a whole new future for human interaction with computers. In the two months after its launch in November 2010, Kinect sold 8 million devices, making it the fastest selling consumer electronics device in history.

2010 – Inmarsat - Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN)

Inmarsat plc for providing global 3G broadband coverage via satelliteThe award was made for Inmarsat's groundbreaking Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service, which provides internet data connectivity anywhere on earth and is widely used for remote connectivity for business, government, broadcasters, aid and relief agencies, and emergency services. The service brings TV reports into our homes from even the most remote parts of the world and is used by many major broadcasters.

2009 − Arup – The Water Cube

Beijing Aquatic Centre, known as the Water CubeThe Award was given for Arup's visionary Beijing Aquatic Centre, known as the Water Cube, and the setting for so many phenomenal swimming events at the 2008 summer's Olympic Games The project team made revolutionary use of virtual prototyping, which is changing the way both Arup and the building industry approach new projects.

2008 − Touch Bionics − i-LIMB Hand

i-LIMB Hand - the i-LIMB Hand is a prosthetic device that looks and acts like a real human hand with five individually powered digitsThe key innovation behind Touch Bionics' i-LIMB Hand is the multi-articulating finger technology, which has underpinned the product's resounding commercial success since its launch. The i-LIMB Hand is developed using leading-edge electronic and mechanical engineering techniques and is manufactured using high-strength plastics. The result is a next-generation prosthetic device that is lightweight, robust and highly appealing to both patients and healthcare professionals.

2007 − Process Systems Enterprise Ltd − gPROMS advanced mathematical modelling software

gPROMS multiscale modelling - from dynamics of entire plants to distribution of properties on individual catalyst particlesThis company’s gPROMS advanced mathematical modelling software allows engineers to build and solve extremely complex models simply by describing the physical and chemical phenomena that are taking place, without worrying about the details of the mathematical solution.

2006 − Optos plc − Panoramic200 - Optos' scanning laser ophthalmoscope

Picture of a retinaOptos plc, the company that has revolutionised eye care and the early detection of retinal defects with its ultra-wide retinal imagers, has won the UK's most prestigious engineering innovation accolade - The Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award, securing a gold medal for the company and a £50,000 cash prize for the three team members.

2005 − CSR plc − single chip BlueCore™ family

Picture of the CSR's Single Chip Wireless for BlueCore™CSR plc, the Cambridge-based wireless silicon company, has won this year's Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award for its single chip BlueCore™ family, the revolutionary devices which have fuelled the inexorable rise of Bluetooth wireless products, from mobile phones to medical devices.

2004 − IBM − WebSphere MQ

Picture of the WebSphere MQ softwareBritish engineers at global IT giant IBM have won the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award for an innovation that most people have never come across. WebSphere MQ software has helped businesses save billions of dollars by providing a failsafe means of exchanging business-critical information between computer systems, irrespective of their location and regardless of whatever hardware, programming language, operating system or communication protocol they use.

2003 − Randox Laboratories Ltd − Evidence®

Picture showing a Randox staff working at a fully automated diagnostic analyserRandox Laboratories Ltd of Northern Ireland has developed a fully automated diagnostic analyser (Evidence®) using protein biochip array technology. The finalist team is made up of Dr Peter Fitzgerald, managing director, John Lamont, R&D manager, and Ivan McConnell, divisional R&D manager of biochip research, manufacture and instrument design. The Randox vision is to 'develop a complete diagnostic system that will provide more accurate patient diagnosis and enable selection of the most appropriate therapeutic treatment on an individual patient basis.'

2002 − CDT − Light-emitting polymers

Picture of a futuristic wrist watch with LCD screenIn 1989, researchers at Cambridge University found that passing an electric current through certain polymers made them emit light. Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) was formed in 1992 to commercialise the technology that evolved from this discovery. CDT owns the fundamental intellectual property and expertise in light-emitting polymers (LEPs), a form of Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED). The team of Dr. David Fyfe, Professor Richard Friend, Dr. Jeremy Burroughes, Dr. Karl Heeks and Dr. Carl Towns are responsible for the development of this technology.

2001 − Sensaura Ltd − for Sensaura 3D Positional Audio (S-3DPA)

For Sensaura 3D Positional Audio (S-3DPA), a new three-dimensional audio technology, capable of reproducing sounds all around the listener – even above and below – using only two conventional stereo loudspeakers or a pair of ordinary headphones. The technology is based on over 11 years of research and development including recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios. It has been shipped on over 40 million PCs and soundcards worldwide and has now been selected as the 3D audio technology for Microsoft's Xbox™ video game system.

2000 − Johnson Matthey

A schematic of a CRTFor the Continuously Regenerating Trap (CRT™), an emission control device for trucks and buses, that simultaneously controls particulate matter, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions from diesel exhaust.

1999 − Buro Happold

Picture of the Millenium Dome in LondonAwarded for the roof structure of the Millennium Dome, the largest tented structure in the world using straight tensioned cables and flat fabric. The structure weighs less than the air it contains and the technology developed has the potential to be used in the building of covered cities within extreme climate zones.

1998− Norton Healthcare Ltd

Picture of Easi-Breathe inhalerFor the Easi-Breathe inhaler, a novel breath-activated inhaler for the treatment of asthma. It automatically releases a measured dose of the asthma drug at exactly the right time for it to reach the lungs most effectively.

1997 − Whipp & Bourne − a division of FKI plc

Picture of a gas-filled vacuum recloserFor the compact, maintenance-free Gas-Filled Vacuum Recloser. This device will increase the reliability of the power supply networks in remote areas, greatly reducing the frequency of power cuts, while at the same time being easier to install and less environmentally obtrusive.

1996 − Rolls-Royce plc
for the Trent aero-engine

Through innovative engineering and continued involvement in the development and exploitation of current and emerging technologies, Rolls-Royce has created a world leading aero-engine.

1995 − British Gas and Gill Electronic R&D
for the ultrasonic domestic gas meter

Picture of two solid-state gas meters with no moving partsThis outstanding engineering achievement was the result of a bold, forward-looking project with the objective of creating a solid-state meter with no moving parts.

The technology has further applications outside the field of domestic gas metering.

1994 − Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD) of Newcastle upon Tyne
for the development of subsea cable and pipeline ploughs

SMD has become a world leader in its field through the innovative application of soil mechanics to underwater soil, the development of new control systems and the effective integration of many engineering disciplines.

A night time picture of a process and manufacturing plant1993 − ICI Klea
for the process and production technology for manufacturing the ozone-benign refrigerant KLEA 134a

1992 − BP International
for advancing the application of hydraulic fracturing technology used in the exploitation of oil and gas reserves

1991 − Joint winners:
Rover Group
for the new Rover Metro car and the
Defence Research Agency and GEC Sensors
for the Nightbird night vision system

Picture of James Clerk Maxwell Telescope1990 − The Science and Engineering Research Council
for the design, construction and commissioning of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope

1989 − British Gas
for the 'intelligent pig', allowing internal inspection of operational pipelines.

1988 − Quantel Limited
for the Paintbox television graphics system and the Harry video editing system

1987 − Renishaw Metrology Limited
for the development of a range of accurate industrial measurement probes

Picture of a nurse preparing a patient for diagnosis1986 − Oxford Instruments Group
for superconducting magnet systems used in medical diagnostic applications

1985 − Joint winners:
The National Institute of Agricultural Engineering
for forage conditioning machinery and
for techniques for high energy X-ray examination of gas turbines during testing − Rolls-Royce plc

1984 − Netlon Limited
for the development of high-strength polymer grids used in the civil engineering and construction industries

Picture of a gas turbines in production1983 − Ruston Gas Turbines
for the Tornado and other industrial gas turbines

1982 − Kaldair Limited
for the Indair/Mardair waste gas flare systems used on offshore platforms

1981 − Lucas CAV Limited
for the Microjector, a miniaturised fuel injector for car diesel engines

1980 − Johnson Matthey Group
for the development of catalytic systems for motor vehicle exhausts

1979 − Post Office Telecommunications
for the Prestel viewdata software system

1978 − Pilkington Brothers Limited
for the Triplex Ten-Twenty laminated windscreen for cars and aircraft

1977 − Royal Signals Research Establishment and Malvern Instruments Limited
for the Malvern Correlator which measures the movement of particles or molecules

1976 − No Award was made

Picture of a helicopter1975 − Joint winners:
Westland Helicopters
for the semi-rigid rotor system and conformal gearing of the Lynx helicopter and
British Railways Board
for developments in railway vehicle suspensions

1974 − The agricultural division of ICI Limited
for the development and manufacture of high-activity catalysts used in methanol production

1973 − Dunlop
for the Denovo tyre and wheel system

1972 − EMI Limited
for the application of X-ray techniques for diagnosing brain disease

1971 − The Gas Council
for a range of gas manufacturing processes

1970 − British Petroleum
for techniques enabling accurate surveying through permafrost in Alaska

Picture of the Severn Bridge1969 − Joint winners:
Freeman, Fox and Partners
for the superstructure of the Severn Bridge and
for the Pegasus engine used in the Harrier aircraft


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