The team behind the MacRobert Award-winning Raspberry Pi will share their incredible success story at an event at the Royal Academy of Engineering on Tuesday 14 November, revealing how the creation of pocket-sized microcomputers led to a coding revolution with a myriad of unexpected business benefits.

Speaking in conversation with science journalist Dr Anjana Ahuja, Raspberry Pi co-founder and CEO Dr Eben Upton CBE FREng, co-founder Pete Lomas and Director of Communications Liz Upton will explain how the success of Raspberry Pi has spread far beyond the classroom, an achievement that was recognised when the team were awarded the 2017 MacRobert Award for UK innovation in engineering.

The MacRobert Award, first presented in 1969, is the UK's longest-running and most prestigious national prize for engineering innovation, worth £50,000 to the winner. The presentation of the Award recognises outstanding innovation, tangible societal benefit and proven commercial success. Originally founded by the MacRobert Trust, the Award is now presented and run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, with support from the Worshipful Company of Engineers.

“It was the sheer quality of the innovation that set the Raspberry Pi apart from other candidates for the 2017 MacRobert Award,” says Dr Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng FRS, Chair of the MacRobert Award judging panel. “By blending old and new technology with innovative systems engineering and circuit board design, the team has created a computer that is cheap, robust, small and versatile,” she added.

The organisation has sold 16 million units since the first Raspberry Pi was launched in 2012, thanks to a dedicated community of makers, uptake within schools, and an increasing demand from industry.

From initially setting out to help increase the number of computer science applicants to the University of Cambridge, the Raspberry Pi team has put the power of computing into the hands of people all over the world. The team’s work has also resulted in an intelligent, programmable controller that has found applications in many different industries. “We like that people are building businesses on the back of the Raspberry Pi,” says Dr Upton.

During next week’s ‘in conversation’ the team will also discuss the unique challenges of running Raspberry Pi as a not-for-profit organisation. Millions of pounds worth of profit generated by the commercial arm, Raspberry Pi Trading, are used by the charitable arm Raspberry Pi Foundation to help teach computing to thousands of young people. Through initiatives across the UK, Raspberry Pi helps 85,000 children in 5,750 weekly Code Clubs learn the basics of coding. This reach is not limited to the UK; there are another 4,500 Code Clubs worldwide, teaching basic computing skills in 27 languages through 1,084 Raspberry Pi Certified Educators.

Notes for editors

  1. In conversation with the 2017 MacRobert Award winner: Raspberry Pi will be held on 14 November 2017, 6:00pm-9:00pm at Prince Philip House, 3 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5DG. The event is free to attend but registration is essential. To register, please visit the Royal Academy of Engineering website.
  2. First presented in 1969, the MacRobert Award is widely regarded as the most coveted in the industry. Founded by the MacRobert Trust, the award is presented and run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, with support from the Worshipful Company of Engineers.
    More information: The MacRobert Award
  3. Dr Eben Upton CBE FREng was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2017. Please visit the website for further details.
  4. 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:
    - Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation
    - Address the engineering skills crisis
    - Position engineering at the heart of society
    - Lead the profession

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