The UK’s premier engineering award launches this year’s search for the best of UK innovation.

Entries are now open for the 2018 Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award and will close on 31 January 2018.

The MacRobert Award recognises outstanding engineering innovations that have proven commercial success and a tangible benefit to society. The team behind the winning innovation receives a £50,000 cash prize, gold medal and national acclaim.

The award has successfully predicted ‘the next big thing’ in engineering for the last four decades, from the catalytic convertor to the CT scanner. The 2017 winner, Raspberry Pi, was recognised for its low-cost, and small but mighty, microcomputer that has revolutionised control systems and redefined how people engage with coding.

The judging panel includes some of the most renowned names in UK engineering and innovation, and is this year joined by Professor Nick Jennings CB FREng, current Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) at Imperial College London and previously Chief Scientific Advisor for National Security to the UK Government; Professor Sir John McCanny CBE FREng FRS, Regius Professor of Electronics and Computer Engineering and Director of the Institute of Electronics Communications and Information Technology at Queen's University Belfast; and Professor Sir Saeed Zahedi OBE FREng RDI, Technical Director of Blatchford, the 2016 winners of the Award.

All shortlisted candidates are visited by at least two members of the judging panel before the finalists are selected, with judges providing invaluable feedback and insight to the companies they visit. The whole judging panel then visits each of the three finalists.

Dr Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng FRS, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award judging panel, said:

“I am always inspired by the quality and variety of MacRobert Award entries. Over the last few years I have been honoured to judge engineering innovation of the highest distinction – ranging from medtech to software, electronics to aeronautics and from thriving businesses of all sizes including SMEs and engineering giants. Recognising these achievements, which demonstrate UK engineering innovation, commercial success and benefit to society, is extremely important.”

Dr Eben Upton CBE FREng, co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation and CEO of Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd, said: “Winning the MacRobert Award has been the ultimate recognition, not just for us, but for the whole team at Raspberry Pi, and for the vast movement of volunteers, educators and innovators that has grown up around the platform. It validates the work that all of us have done over the last decade to address the UK's engineering skills challenge, and to deliver low-cost computers to hobbyists, educators and industry.

“As a nation, we are hugely talented and innovative when it comes to engineering. It's almost impossible to predict which sector the next winner will come from as we have so many engineering strengths in the UK. I could easily see a winner emerging from computing, medtech, materials engineering or fintech next year. I would urge companies to apply so that we can continue to celebrate forward-thinking, ground-breaking UK businesses.”

Notes for editors

  1. Entries for the 2018 MacRobert Award are currently open at http://www.raeng.org.uk/grants-and-prizes/prizes-and-medals/other-awards/the-macrobert-award. The deadline for applications is 31 January 2018.
  2. 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 Trust and supported by the Worshipful Company of Engineers, the Award is managed and presented by the Royal Academy of Engineering. For more information, visit: www.raeng.org.uk/prizes/macrobert

    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. In 2014 the Award was given to 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.

    Last year’s winner was the Cambridge-based Raspberry Pi Foundation, for its low-cost, easy to use, credit card-sized microcomputers, which are redefining how people learn about and engage with computing. The inexpensive micro PC can be used as the control centre of just about anything, from creating video games to robots, multi-room sound systems, pet feeders, or even scientific experiments. Raspberry Pi is now the third best-selling computer of all time and has sold more than 16 million devices.
  3. 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:

- Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation
- Address the engineering skills crisis
- Position engineering at the heart of society
- Lead the profession 

For more information please contact:

Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering

T: 020 7766 0636

E:  Jane Sutton