From the development of bioelectronic therapies for damaged central nervous systems, to the rapid advancement of new battery technologies, and improved safety in robotics and AI, the Royal Academy of Engineering has today announced long-term support to ten engineering global-visionaries to develop areas of emerging technology.

First row L-R: Professor Sriram Subramanian, Professor Brian Gerardot, Professor Paul Shearing, Professor Alessio Lomuscio & Professor Susan Rosser. Second row L-R: Professor Ana Cavalcanti, Professor Colin McInnes, Professor Timothy Denison, Professor Jonathan Rossiter & Professor Jason Reese.

The ten Royal Academy of Engineering Chairs in Emerging Technologies will focus on developing technologies that have the potential to bring significant economic and societal benefits to the UK, ensuring that the UK is a driving force for global technological innovation.

Supported by the UK government’s National Productivity Investment Fund, the Academy is committing £1.3 million to each of the ten-year programmes. The support provided to the Chairs in Emerging Technologies will enable these engineers to focus on advancing the novel technologies from basic research through to real deployment and commercialisation.

The areas of emerging technology covered by the Chairs reflect the UK’s wider technology goals. Last year the government identified a number of priority areas of innovation for the UK, spanning healthcare, robotics, clean energy, driverless vehicles, materials of the future, and space technologies.

In recognition of the importance engineering will play in driving these areas of innovation, the government has provided the Royal Academy of Engineering with a significant increase in funding to support the translation of research to application. The Academy has previously only awarded two of these prestigious Chairs, making single awards in 2009 and 2012.  

The ten Chairs in Emerging Technologies and their projects are:

As part of their appointment, the Chairs will develop Centres of Excellence in their areas of emerging technology, building and maintaining contacts with industry and other partners to accelerate commercialisation. 

Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “Emerging technologies offer enormous opportunities for the UK, both economically and socially, but often their potential is not widely recognised until it is championed by a visionary individual. The ten researchers who have been appointed as Chairs in Emerging Technologies are global leaders in their fields, seeking to transform their pioneering ideas into fully commercialised technologies with important and widespread applications.

“The UK has a rich history of championing disruptive technologies – from the development of the steam engine to the invention of optical fibre communications. Early stage technologies offer enormous potential for the UK to continue this legacy and it’s vital that we invest in both the technology, and the people behind it, to remain competitive in the global marketplace.”

The ten Chairs were selected by a panel of Fellows of the Academy, led by AI and open data pioneer, Sir Nigel Shadbolt FREng FRS.

Notes to editors

  1. The next application round for the Royal Academy of Engineering Chairs in Emerging Technologies is scheduled to open next month.
  2. 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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