The new panel was announced today as nominations and applications for the 2015 MacRobert Award are opened. Dame Sue is joined by three new judges: John Baxter FREng FRSE, Group Head of Engineering at BP International; Dr Frances Saunders CB FREng, President of the Institute of Physics; and David Gow CBE FREng, Head of SMART Services at NHS Lothian – a former MacRobert Award winner with Touch Bionics.

The new appointments come just weeks after the Royal Academy of Engineering announced the election of its first female President, Professor Dame Ann Dowling DBE FREng FRS. With women accounting for fewer than 10% of professional engineers, the appointments of Dame Ann, Dame Sue and Dr Frances Saunders provide excellent senior role models for young women coming into the industry.

The MacRobert Award has become synonymous with spotting the ‘next big thing’ in technology, having been established 45 years ago to identify outstanding innovation with proven commercial promise and tangible societal benefit. The very first award in 1969 recognised the extraordinary Rolls-Royce Pegasus engine, used in the iconic Harrier jets, and in 1972 the judges highlighted the achievement of the first CT scanner - seven years before its inventor Sir Godfrey Hounsfield received the Nobel Prize.

More recently, judges predicted that 2013 winner RealVNC could be a billion dollar company within five years, such is the potential of its remote access software. This year’s winner, SME Cobalt Light Systems, has developed technology that is already being applied in a liquid scanning system for airport security and has demonstrated huge potential in other areas including real-time diagnostic tools for cancer screening.

Paul Loeffen, CEO of Cobalt Light Systems, said “Winning the MacRobert Award was a wonderful experience for the whole company and had a truly positive impact on the whole team. As a small, rapidly growing company, everyone takes personal ownership and pride in our engineering achievements, and all employees of Cobalt were delighted by the recognition of our success, especially in light of such tough competition. As well as the fantastic exposure at the time, we have benefited from a higher profile with our customers, suppliers, and other business partners.”

As one of the UK’s foremost nuclear engineers, Dame Sue was appointed Chair of the Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board by the Government in January 2014. She has served two terms between 2004 and 2011 on the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, where her contributions were acknowledged as substantial in its energy-related work. She represents the UK on the European Commission EURATOM Science and Technology Committee and is an international member of the US Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee. Dame Sue was elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1996, and earlier this year was awarded one of the Academy’s most prestigious accolades – the President’s Medal.

Applications for the 2015 Award are now open to outstanding innovations with proven commercial promise and tangible societal benefit. The Award, which is linked with the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Hub and supported by the Worshipful Company of Engineers, is open to individuals and teams from organisations of all sizes in the private, public and charitable sectors. As well as benefiting from the prestige of the award and national recognition, MacRobert Award winners receive a £50,000 prize and a gold medal.

Dame Sue said “The MacRobert Award recognises UK engineering innovations that make a real difference to our lives. It’s no coincidence that many previous winning technologies are now ubiquitous in modern medicine, transport and technology.

“The MacRobert Award judging process is rigorous and engaging, and really puts nominees through their paces. I’m looking forward to taking a lead role and previewing the UK’s rich engineering future alongside the committee of some of the UK’s most successful engineers.”


Notes for Editors

1. About the MacRobert Award. First presented in 1969, the MacRobert Award is widely regarded as the most coveted in the industry. Founded by the MacRobert Trusts, the Award is now presented by the Royal Academy of Engineering supported by the Worshipful Company of Engineers. The prize fund was originally established with donations from the MacRobert Trusts, the Academy and British industry. For more information, visit:  MacRobert Award

Previous winners include EMI Ltd, who in 1972 developed the CT Scanner, a vital medical device that can now be found in almost every hospital in the developed world. In 2002 Cambridge Display Technologies won the MacRobert Award for its light emitting polymer displays for televisions and smart phones. This year's winner was Cobalt Light Systems, which pioneered a technique to determine the chemical composition of materials in containers and behind a range of other barriers including skin, for use in airport scanners and medical diagnostics. The 2015 MacRobert Award judges are:

Dr Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng (Chair)

Consultant; Chair, Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board

John Baxter FREng FRSE

Group Head of Engineering, BP International Ltd; Master, the Worshipful Company of Engineers

Nick Cooper FREng

Director, JN Cooper & Partners Ltd

Keith Davis

Chairman, The MacRobert Trust

Professor Sir Richard Friend FREng FRS

Cavendish Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge

David Gow CBE FREng

Head of SMART Services, NHS Lothian

Dr Andrew Herbert OBE FREng

Formerly Chairman, Microsoft Research EMEA; Emeritus Fellow, Wolfson College, Cambridge Visiting Professor, UCL

Dr Gordon Masterton OBE FREng FRSE

Vice President, Jacobs Engineering; Deputy Chairman at Construction Industry Council

Peter Saraga CBE FREng

Chairman of the Advisory Board, Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme

Dr Frances Saunders CB FREng

President, Institute of Physics; Trustee, Engineering Development Trust; formerly Chief Executive, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)


2. About the Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK's national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK's role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK's world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook. We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.


For more information please contact:

Jane Sutton

T: 020 7766 0636

E:  Jane Sutton