Four leading engineers, each specialising in vastly differing disciplines have won the Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal for successfully taking their innovations into the marketplace.

Dr Shaun Fitzgerald, Dr Karin Hing, Professor Doug King and Professor Eric Yeatman have each been awarded the 2011 Silver Medal for their contributions to driving unique engineering feats into the commercial world.

Dr Shaun Fitzgerald - Cambridge

A specialist in natural ventilation, Dr Fitzgerald completed a PhD in Geothermal Reservoirs at the University of Cambridge before moving to Stanford University, California. He later returned to Cambridge to carry out research into energy reduction through natural ventilation at the BP Institute. The 44-year-old from Harston in Cambridgeshire, applied his research to patent e-stack technology, which uses the principles of natural mixing ventilation in winter and natural upward displacement ventilation in the summer. He co-founded Breathing Buildings in 2006 - a spin-out company from a major research programme at the University of Cambridge - his expertise in natural ventilation helping to make the company the UK’s leading low energy ventilation company and a multi-million pound success.

Dr Karin Hing - London

Dr Karin Hing, a senior lecturer in biomedical materials at Queen Mary, University of London was the “technical linchpin” behind an orthobiologics company sold recently for more than £200m. Karin, aged 42, used her research into the bioactivity of bone graft substitutes - materials used in orthopaedic surgery as scaffolds for guided bone regeneration - to develop the hypothesis that bone healing could be enhanced through optimisation of both graft pore structure and chemistry, and invented a novel production route for the manufacture of these pore structures.

Professor Doug King  - Bath

43-year-old Professor Dough King, from Bath, worked for a number of leading consultancies before forming King Shaw Associates in 2002. The company was set up to integrate a high level of research and teaching with a commercial design consultancy. While running the company, Doug continued to lecture at the University of Bath, tutoring architecture and civil engineering students on the sustainable aspects of their projects. Doug is now a much sought after advisor to the industry, providing consultancy to institutions such as the British Library and the Royal Albert Hall. King Shaw Associates has grown into a million pound company, employing 15 staff and operating in the UK and overseas. He is also Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor of Building Engineering Physics at the University of Bath.

Professor Eric Yeatman - London

48-year-old Professor Eric Yeatman co-founded one of the UK’s first research groups into micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS) at Imperial College London in the mid-1990s, and together with a colleague went on to invent a number of new research methods, helping to position the university as a world-leader in the field. In 2001, he and his colleagues used their wide portfolio of technologies and intellectual property to found Microsaic Systems Ltd, a company which had grown to 20 people by 2006. In 2011, Microsaic was admitted to the London Stock Exchange. It is the first firm in the world offering MEMS-based mass spectrometers and a desktop sized instrument for liquid analysis.

Professor Dame Julia Higgins FREng, who chairs the Academy’s Awards Panel, said: “We are delighted to award all four 2011 Silver Medals to these exceptional engineers. The engineering community needs entrepreneurs to help inspire the next generation of world-leading engineers in the UK.”

All four will receive their Silver Medal at the Academy’s annual awards dinner in London’s Guildhall on June 6.

Notes for editors

  1. The Silver Medal

    The Academy's Silver Medals were instigated in 1995. They are awarded annually to engineers who have made outstanding contributions to British engineering but have been working as an engineer for no more than 22 years. Up to four medals may be awarded each year
  2. 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.

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Ed Holmes or on 0207 766 0655