Academy President Sir John Parker GBE FREng and Fellows Sir John Armitt FREng, Dame Sue Ion FREng, Dr Scott Steedman FREng and Dr Martyn Thomas FREng are among leading figures who have endorsed their favourite engineering inventions as part of a quest to find the greatest British Innovation of the last 100 years.

The Great British Innovation Vote, a website inviting the public to vote for their favourite British innovation of the last century, launches today at

Devised by the GREAT Britain campaign, the Science Museum Group, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, British Science Association, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Engineering UK, the shortlist features around 100 British innovations; from the splitting of the atom to the invention of the World Wide Web and the discovery of the structure of DNA.

A number of leading figures have recorded online Audioboos championing their favourite British innovation for the website. Among them are Academy President Sir John Parker FREng, who has chosen radar as his favourite innovation, and Dame Sue Ion FREng, who explains why nuclear power gets her vote.

Engineers Mark Miodownik, Yewande Akinola and Chi Onwurah MP are supporting plastic electronics, maglev and fibre optics respectively as the greatest British innovation.

Members of the public will be asked to decide on the most important innovation in British science, engineering and technology from the last century (1913-2013). Voters will also get the chance to predict which recent innovations they think will have the greatest impact in the next century.

Professor Stephen Hawking, shortlisted for two innovations himself, explained his support for the vote via an Audioboo, “I am passionate about British innovations. They've kept me alive, enabled me to communicate and transported me around the world.”

Voting opens at on 15 March and runs throughout National Science and Engineering Week, with the winning innovation to be announced on 25 March. Voters are encouraged to celebrate their favourite innovations via twitter using #GreatVote.

Notes for editors

  1. The Great British Innovation Vote opens on 15th March and runs until 24th March during National Science and Engineering Week. Votes can only be cast online via

    Shortlisted innovations in the Great British Innovation Vote were compiled by GREAT, the Science Museum Group, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society, British Science Association, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Engineering UK.

    Follow the vote on twitter via #GreatVote and tweets from @GREATBritain @sciencemuseum @RAEngNews @royalsociety @BritSciAssociat @bisgovuk & @_EngineeringUK

    The full list of innovations can be found on the voting site, but highlights include:

    1910s - Birth of crystallography, First non-stop transatlantic flight and splitting the atom

    1920s - Penicillin and the Baird Model B Televisor

    1930s - Universal machine, Cats' Eyes, Radar and the discovery of the neutron

    1940s - Jet engine, Colossus and Holography

    1950s - Crick and Watson DNA Model, the Mini and the Atomic clock

    1960s - Strong carbon fibres, Plate tectonics and the discovery of pulsars

    1970s - Concorde, DNA sequencing and Hawking Radiation

    1980s - ARM chip, Genetic fingerprinting and the Hubble space telescope

    1990s - World Wide Web and Dolly the Sheep

    2000s - Quantum dots, Graphene and the discovery of the Higgs boson

    The Great British Innovation Vote Audioboo channel also includes recordings by Evan Davis (ARM chip), David Willetts MP (DNA sequencing), Sir Paul Nurse (Penicillin), Stephen Fry (Universal machine), Brian Eno (World Wide Web), Prof Jim Al-Khalili (Quantum dots) and many others.
  2. About 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 further information on the Royal Academy of Engineering please visit or follow the Royal Academy of Engineering on Twitter.
  3. About the Science Museum

    As the home of human ingenuity, the Science Museum’s world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. Welcoming over 3 million visitors a year, the Museum aims to make sense of the science that shapes our lives, inspiring visitors with iconic objects, award-winning exhibitions and incredible stories of scientific achievement. For further information, please visit or follow the museum via facebook and twitter.
  4. About the GREAT Britain campaign

    Launched in 2011,the GREATcampaign showcases the best of what Britain has to offer to encourage the world to visit, study and do business with the UK.It is designed to make the most of the economic opportunities presented by 2012 and focuses on trade, inward investment, tourism and attracting international students to the UK.The campaign is projected to help generate around a quarter of a billion pounds for the British economy over the next two years.
  1. About the Royal Society

    The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, as it has been since its foundation in 1660, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity. For further information on the Royal Society please visit or follow the Royal Society on Twitter or Facebook.

For more information please contact

Jane Suton at The Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. 020 7766 0636; email: Jane Sutton