Owlstone Medical Finalist in MacRobert Award

Winners of prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering prize will be announced in June.

Published on: 4 Jun 2018, under Breath Biopsy

Innovations in healthcare, space and energy go head-to-head for top UK engineering prize worth £50,000

Finalists for the 2018 MacRobert Award revealed by the Royal Academy of Engineering

A pioneering breathalyser that could diagnose disease, a new generation of lighter, retractable satellite antennas, and the application of Formula 1 technology that makes supermarket fridges more energy efficient are in the running to be named the ‘next big thing’ in engineering. These innovations have been selected as finalists for the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award. Since 1969, the Royal Academy of Engineering has presented the award to the engineers behind the UK’s most exciting and impactful innovations.

The 2018 finalists are:

  • Owlstone Medical for its ReCIVA® Breath Sampler, the first device capable of capturing breath samples for analysis in a robust and reproducible way. The system can identify chemical ‘biomarkers’ in human breath for a variety of diseases, including cancer. The company aims to save 100,000 lives by enabling easier and quicker diagnosis and ensuring the correct treatment is prescribed to each patient.
  • Oxford Space Systems for developing a new generation of origami-inspired, innovative and cost-competitive satellite antennas and structures, that will enable satellite missions and services ranging from telecommunications to environmental monitoring.
  • Williams Advanced Engineering and Aerofoil Energy for their aerodynamic shelf-edge technology, Aerofoil, which significantly reduces energy consumption in supermarket and convenience store fridges. The device is inspired by state-of-the-art Formula 1 engineering and offers significant potential energy savings. Sainsbury’s is rolling out the technology in all 1,400 of its stores.

The three finalists are competing for a gold medal and a £50,000 prize. The 2018 winner will be revealed at the Academy Awards Dinner at the Tower of London on Wednesday 27 June 2018 in front of an audience of top engineers, business leaders, politicians and journalists.

The MacRobert Award is the UK’s longest running and most prestigious award for engineering innovation. Previous winners have transformed the world we live in, delivering outstanding innovation, commercial success, and tangible social benefit. The first award in 1969 was won jointly by Rolls-Royce for the Pegasus engine used in the iconic Harrier jets, and Freeman, Fox and Partners for designing the Severn Bridge. In 1972 the judges recognised the extraordinary potential of the first CT scanner developed at EMI – seven years before its inventor Sir Godfrey Hounsfield received the Nobel Prize.

MacRobert Award finalists and winners are chosen by a judging panel of Fellows of the Academy – some of the UK’s foremost engineers – using a rigorous selection process.


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