Industrial Fellowships boost promising technologies


Alex Raymond, a University of Cambridge PhD student, is one of 12 people to have been awarded an Industrial Fellowship by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. The £80,000 funding will support his work to create a system that will allow driverless boats to talk with humans through radios to make sure they stay safe.

Funding awarded to projects that include using microspheres to fire radiotherapy at liver cancer, a ‘photocopier’ of human blood cells, and a computational model that describes how the human mind processes complex choices

The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 has awarded Industrial Fellowships worth up to £80,000 to 12 of the UK’s most gifted young research scientists and engineers. The funding from the Commission, set up by Prince Albert to organise the Great Exhibition of 1851 and continued in perpetuity to use the profits to ‘extend the influence of Science and Art on productive industry’, will enable them to make an impact on their industry and wider society, by accelerating the development and commercialisation of new technologies.

These Industrial Fellowships recognise the best research projects that could advance British industry, allowing companies to conduct innovative research that accelerates the creation of exploitable IP.

The technologies funded by the Fellowship include a cancer therapy that uses microscopic spheres to deliver radiotherapy balls internally towards a tumour, a system that allows autonomous boats to talk to humans through existing communication systems, and a ‘photocopier’ that helps white blood cells grow and could significantly reduce the cost of cancer therapies. They also feature a machine learning model that could help nudge consumers towards healthier purchasing habits, a temperature-sensing coating that can map the inside of a jet engine to enable more fuel efficient gas turbines, and a solution to increase the reliability of radar systems and improve the safety of driverless cars.

Bernard Taylor, Chairman of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, said: “It is critical that the young scientists and engineers that form the future innovation landscape of Britain are supported in their efforts. Our Industrial Fellowships provide funding to the most promising technologies that will enrich British industry, and allow the research to be directed towards commercialisation from the start of its development. We are proud to have awarded twelve impressive innovators with Fellowships this year. Their projects span a wide range of fields, including cancer therapies, autonomous boats and cars, aerospace engineering, and laser power, demonstrating the broad diversity of talent within the science and engineering resources of this country”.

The Industrial Fellowships provide graduates with up to £80,000 each to complete their doctoral studies, enabling them to develop innovative technologies with commercial potential in collaboration with an industrial partner and academic institution. The projects, funded for up to 3 years, will ideally lead to a patent or substantial business development, allowing the young researchers to conduct impactful research while gaining valuable industrial experience. The Fellowship programme plays a crucial role in facilitating the relationship between universities and industry in the UK, by offering highly valued funding for research and development into new intellectual property, totalling around £1 million every year.

The full list of 2018 Industrial Fellows are:

  • Alex Raymond, L3 ASV and the University of Cambridge: Helping autonomous ships talk to humans using existing vehicle communications methods, such as radios
  • Jonathan Vince, BTG Biocompatibles and the University of Oxford: Improving the distribution of internal radiotherapy in tumours using microspheres
  • Adam Hornsby, dunnhumby and University College London: A new computational model of consumer decision making, to help nudge consumers towards healthier purchasing habits
  • Aleksandr Kovaltsuk, UCB Pharma and the University of Oxford: Using big data to classify antibodies and improve therapeutic drugs
  • Christopher Magazzeni, Rolls-Royce plc and the University of Oxford: Predicting fatigue in jet engines to make travel safer
  • Ben Barnes, ReNeuron and University College London: Developing techniques to speed regenerative treatment, using purified exosomes
  • Euan Ward, Leonardo and the University of Edinburgh: Improving the reliability of low cost radar systems for drones and driverless cars
  • Carlos Julià, Aglaris Limited and University College London: Reducing the cost of next generation cancer therapies by 60% using a white blood cell ‘photocopier’
  • Marta Ferran Marqués, Sensor Coating Systems and Cranfield University: Mapping engine insides using temperature sensing coatings, to help reduce CO2 emissions and fuel costs
  • Jasmine Bone, NPL and the University of Surrey: Predicting the degradation of polymer composites in marine environments
  • Adam McKenzie, Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global Ltd and the University of Glasgow: Growing compound semiconductors for optical communications to meet future high-speed data demands
  • Mariastefania De Vido, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Heriot Watt University: Developing advanced gain materials for high energy, high average power lasers

Applications for the 2019 Industrial Fellowships opened yesterday (1st October 2018). To learn more visit the website here.

About the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851

The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 offers major awards to scientists and engineers for research, development and design. First established to stage the Great Exhibition in 1851, the Royal Commission's extraordinary history is founded on an inspired vision of the importance of education to economic success. It has previously funded luminaries such as Nobel laureates Professor Peter Higgs, Sir James Chadwick and Paul Dirac.