Robotic snake plane inspection receives funding from Prince Albert legacy


The Royal Commission of the Exhibition of 1851 has awarded 10 of the UK’s most promising young doctoral engineers and scientists Industrial Fellowships worth £80,000 to help fund their projects and bring their technologies to fruition. The Commission, originally founded by Prince Albert to organise the Great Exhibition of 1851 and then use its profits to further British industry, has recognised the projects for their potential to impact health, environment and business.

The new technologies include research that could lead to a drug that inhibits DNA repair processes in cancerous cells, which could drastically improve chemotherapy treatments; research that could eradicate hospital superbugs using hydrogen peroxide vapour technology; and methods to speed up the development of antibodies used to treat patient diseases. They also include technology to recover fingerprints from metal surfaces to aid criminal investigations, environmentally friendly ammonia battery production, and a snake robot for on-wing inspections of jet engines.

Arnau Garriga Casanovas, in association with Rolls-Royce and Imperial College London, created the snake-robot technology to enable on-wing inspections of aeroplane engines, eliminating the costly need to dismantle the powerplants.

The Industrial Fellowships are an integral part of the Commission’s work, with the specific aim of encouraging the commercialisation of new British technologies. The programme plays a crucial role in facilitating collaboration between universities and industry, offering much sought after research and development funding for new intellectual property. It also enables promising scientists and engineers to conduct research whilst gaining industrial experience. This year the Commission has also established a new programme of Enterprise Fellowships, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, which were awarded at the same time.

Bernard Taylor, chairman of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, said: “Now more than ever, we need to be doing everything we can to turn fledgling ideas into commercial reality to maintain the pace of innovation. Our Industrial Fellowships are a crucial part of bridging the gap between research and industry, ensuring that the very best ideas that have the potential to impact society are given every chance to succeed. Equally our new Enterprise Fellowships, an award made in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, will give graduate entrepreneurs help, guidance and funding to bring their inventions to market.”

The Industrial Fellowships provide recent graduates with the means to develop innovative technology with commercial potential, ideally leading to a patent, while completing a PhD or EngD. Each fellow receives up to £80,000 worth of funding over three years for their work, to be carried out in collaboration with an academic institution and a business partner.

To learn more about the other award winners and to apply for the 2017 fellowships visit the website.

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