Seven innovative engineering projects that could become the commercial success stories of tomorrow have been chosen as finalists for the 2011 Innovation Hothouse.

Innovation Hothouse is a competition which showcases the very best design projects of final year students on engineering, materials and product design degree schemes. It is also aimed at helping to foster the commercialisation of the students’ work.

The finalists from seven regional heats held across the nations, have now been assigned a business mentor while they fine-tune their submissions for the final, which is to be held as part of the London Design Festival in September 2011. There, they will be judged by a panel of three venture capitalists and business angels. In true Dragons’ Den style, each project has the option of being able to be funded by one or a combination of judges.

The 2011 Hothouse Innovation finalists are:

- The University of Reading, School of Systems Engineering - Stephen Gould
HARP Home Automation Remote Power

University of Bath, School of Mechanical Engineering - Chris Hanton
Expansion of RepRap project for use in the manufacture of custom orthotic insoles

University of Durham, School of­ Engineering and Computer Science - Doug Cartwright
Orchestra Application

Royal College of Art, School of Innovation Design Engineering - Peter Kuschnigg
Dots, the natural running shoe

University of Strathclyde, School of Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management - Robert Macdonald
Access System for Offshore Wind Turbines

University of Nottingham, School of Mechanical Engineering - Bill Margerison
Low Cost Polymer Recycling for Rapid Prototyping

University of Nottingham, School of Mechanical Engineering - James Simonds
MPV tandem roof rack

Innovation Hothouse, now in its second year, is run jointly by the Royal Academy of Engineering; Institution of Engineering Designers; Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining; and Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Ian Bowbrick, Head of Professional Formation at the Royal Academy of Engineering said: “The number of applications we received for the Hothouse shows the great depth of innovation that is alive within our universities and that engineering students are not talented designers but also aware of the need for commercial acumen in their work.

“All seven finalists greatly impressed at the heats and it will be fascinating to see what the judges think at the final in September.”

For more information about Innovation Hothouse, visit

Notes for editors

The Royal Academy of Engineering

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.

For more information please contact

Ed Holmes on 0207 766 0655