In recognition of the importance of engineering research and innovation to the UK, the Royal Academy of Engineering has secured £20 million over the next three years, to support expanded programmes for excellent engineers. The funding was announced in a speech earlier today by Business Secretary Greg Clark, as part of the Government’s plans to build the pipeline of high-skilled research talent in the UK.

The funding will allow the Academy to fund 25 Chairs in Emerging Technologies, providing long-term funding for up to 10 years to engineering global-visionaries. This includes a start-up package of £300,000 and expanded support for research costs throughout the life of the grant. Each of the Chairs will focus on developing emerging technologies that have the potential to bring significant economic and societal benefits to the UK.

The Talent Fund will also enable us to support an additional 23 early-career engineering academics to develop their research careers through the Academy’s Research Fellows scheme, and a further 24 Enterprise Fellowships will equip entrepreneurial engineers with the necessary skills, experience and networks of expert advisors to develop their outstanding innovations.

At least 44 further awards will help strengthen our commitment to supporting academic engagement with industry, including a relaunch of our Industrial Fellowship scheme, new initiatives to help researchers engage with the SME partners of their industrial sponsors and proof of concept funding for award holders to help them prove their innovations will be successful.

Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said:

“We are delighted by this extra investment by the UK government in supporting the finest engineering researchers and innovators, an important contribution to addressing the Academy’s strategic challenge of making the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation as well as reinforcing the government’s Industrial Strategy.

“This sustained investment in engineering research will enable us to run annual calls for Chairs in Emerging Technologies, allowing universities to make long-term plans on how to attract global leaders in priority areas of innovation to work in the UK. Similarly, doubling the number of our Research, Industrial, and Enterprise Fellowship schemes will support the best rising research and innovation talent. These engineers will contribute to the development of services and products that benefit the economy and society, repaying many times the value of this investment.

“To help ensure our researchers’ achievements are fully commercialised, we will also be introducing a new proof of concept funding scheme and continuing and broadening our support for our researchers to work with the SMEs associated with their larger partners. To make sure the right people benefit from this funding, we will redouble our efforts to ensure that we support excellent engineers from a diverse range of backgrounds in as inclusive a manner as possible.”

Dr Hayaatun Sillem, CEO, Royal Academy of Engineering, said:

“Investment in engineering research and innovation is vital for the UK’s economic and social wellbeing. This funding will help the UK to continue to attract and retain the world-leading engineering talent needed to be at the forefront of developing and applying new technologies.

“The government’s commitment to supporting highly skilled researchers and engineers is very welcome. Providing career-long support is essential if we are to establish the UK as the leading nation for engineering innovation.”

Notes to editors

  1. 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 three strategic challenges:
- Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation
- Address the engineering skills crisis
- Position engineering at the heart of society

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