The Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, is open for entries, seeking the best of UK engineering innovation for 2019.

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

Over the past five decades the MacRobert Award has been remarkably accurate in predicting the key innovations that would shape the world we live in. The inaugural winners in 1969 were Rolls-Royce for Pegasus - the world’s first short takeoff and vertical landing engine, used in the iconic Harrier aircraft - and Freeman, Fox and Partners for the Severn Bridge, which heralded a new era of bridge building and was Grade I listed in 1999.

The MacRobert Award has celebrated a string of engineering firsts developed in the UK that have impacted on many sectors, including medicine, transport, manufacturing and technology. In 1972 it recognised the life-saving potential of the CT scanner, with Sir Godfrey Hounsfield and his team at EMI winning the MacRobert Award seven years before he was awarded the Nobel Prize. CT scanners are now found in almost every hospital in the world.

Cambridge-based Owlstone Medical won the 2018 award for the ReCIVA Breath Sampler, the world’s first ’breath biopsy’ system. The system can identify chemical biomarkers in human breath for a variety of serious diseases, including cancer, and the company aims to save 100,000 lives by enabling earlier diagnosis.

Dr Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng FRS, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award judging panel, said: “The UK has a rich heritage of engineering innovation and has been the driving force behind many technological developments that we now take for granted. A quick look through the MacRobert Award’s 50-year history, from Johnson Matthey for the catalytic converter in 1980, to Buro Happold in 1999 for the Millennium Dome’s roof structure, and to the Raspberry Pi in 2017, highlights why the UK is famed for its engineering prowess.

“Engineering innovation is not just part of the UK’s legacy, it’s also key to our future success, as government has recognised through its industrial strategy. It’s vital that we recognise and celebrate the innovations that have a demonstrable benefit to our lives. Each year I am delighted by the excellent engineering advances that are submitted and I look forward to seeing the entries for this special anniversary year.”

In celebration of five decades of the UK’s finest engineering innovations, the Academy will be running a programme of special events and activities throughout the anniversary year. Finalists will be announced in June and the 50th MacRobert Award will be presented at the Academy Awards Dinner at Banqueting House in London on 11 July.

Notes for Editors

  1. Entries for the 2019 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 2019.

  2. 2018 MacRobert Award winners Owlstone Medical will be In Conversation at the Academy on Wednesday 7 November about their experience of setting up a pioneering new British company that aims to save 100,000 lives, see https://www.raeng.org.uk/events/events-programme/2018/november/in-conversation-with-2018-macrobert-award-winner-o

  3. 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.

    Previous winners include Cambridge Display Technologies who 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. Past awardees have also included Blatchford, for the development of the world’s most intelligent prosthetic limb; Jaguar Land Rover for the Range Rover Evoque; and Microsoft Research for Kinect for Xbox 360.

    For more information and a full list of previous winners and finalists, visit: www.raeng.org.uk/prizes/macrobert

  4. Royal Academy of Engineering

    As the UK’s national academy for engineering and technology, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers from academia and business – our Fellows – to advance and promote excellence in engineering for the benefit of society.

We harness their experience and expertise to provide independent advice to government, to deliver programmes that help exceptional engineering researchers and innovators realise their potential, to engage the public with engineering and to provide leadership for the profession. 

We have three strategic priorities:

  • Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation and businesses
  • Address the engineering skills and diversity challenge
  • Position engineering at the heart of society

We bring together engineers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics, educators and the public in pursuit of these goals.

Engineering is a global profession, so we work with partners across the world to advance engineering’s contribution to society on an international, as well as a national scale.

For more information

Siobhan Pipa at the Royal Academy of Engineering

T: 020 7766 0745

E:   Siobhan Pipa