Fourteen technologies awarded £80,000 each by Prince Albert’s educational legacy

CDT PhD student George Roberts becomes our 2nd CDT student to win the prestigious fellowship! His project is with Toshiba Research Labs in Cambridge.


The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 has awarded Industrial Fellowships worth up to £80,000 to the UK’s 14 most promising young doctoral engineers and scientists. The Commission has supported them to help bring their technologies to commercialisation and make an impact on businesses and society. Originally set up by Prince Albert following the Great Exhibition of 1851, the Industrial Fellowships recognise the best research that could advance British industry and award them funds to bring them to market.

The technologies include a new way to purify the immune system’s T-cells and genetically modify them to potentially identify and kill cancer cells, and a project to improve the yield of stem blood cells from umbilical cord blood to improve the treatment of blood based cancers. They also include research into the reactivation of stem cells in bones to reverse osteoporosis, and a DNA analysis technique that could help crime scene forensics make a digital e-fit and recreate a person’s likely physical features from trace samples.

Amongst the recipients of 2017’s Industrial Fellowships is Dina Abdulaziz, a Syrian national who left her country in 2016 to come to the UK for the first time to pursue her dream of completing her research and help victims of the Syrian Civil War. Dina aims to create new biosynthetic materials that surgeons could use to fill large missing spaces in bones following serious injury or trauma. Current bone transplants use material from the patient or a combination of animal or cadaver bones with the patient’s own tissue. Risk of infection increases with these types of procedures, leading to delays in healing and subsequent costly treatment. Dina’s new materials will minimise these issues.

Other projects include a dietary drink that could mimic the effects of low carb diets; an artificial intelligence sound mixer for live music performances that can automatically detect and eliminate distortion; a data transmitter that could standardise quantum communications; and improvements to Dearman Engines, a type of zero-emissions engine that uses liquid nitrogen.

Bernard Taylor, Chairman of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, said: “Ensuring Britain’s young scientists and engineers are supported is crucial to ensuring that the UK is at the forefront of innovation in the years to come. Our Industrial Fellowships are designed to fund and commercialise the most promising technologies that could shape our society in the future. This year, we have awarded more Fellowships than ever before, and the breadth of technologies we are supporting, from artificial intelligence, to clean power and potential cures for most deadly diseases demonstrates that the talent in the UK is only growing.”

The Industrial Fellowships provide 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, which they will carry out in collaboration with an academic institution and a business partner. The programme plays a crucial role in facilitating collaboration between universities and industry, offering much sought after funding for research and development for new intellectual property. It also enables promising scientists and engineers to conduct research whilst gaining valuable industry experience.

The full list of 2017 Industrial Fellows are:

  • Elsa Noaks, Autolus Limited and UCL: Purify t-cells that will be genetically modified to target and kill cancer cells
  • Chao Jiang, UCB Celltech and the University of Oxford: Reactivating stem cells in ageing bones to treat osteoporosis
  • Shaun Mansfield, Biovault Technical Ltd and UCL: Improving stem cell yield from umbilical cord blood to drastically improve blood based cancer and novel emerging treatments
  • Dina Abdulaziz, GTS Limited and the University of Leeds: Manufacturing alternative synthetic bone materials for transplants that don’t trigger autoimmune responses
  • Miss Laurence Devesse, Verogen and King’s College London: Using Massively Parallel Sequencing to improve DNA identification in forensics and estimate physical characteristics from genetic material Ben Janes, Allen & Heath Limited and Plymouth University: Artificial intelligence-based ‘Smart Mixing’ system to assist sound engineers during live performances
  • David Dearlove, TdeltaS and the University of Oxford: Research into how a ketogenic drink can improve metabolic health in humans
  • Andrew Anderson, Oxford nanoSystems and UCL: Development of a practical method for manufacturing heat transfer surfaces on commercial heat exchangers
  • Timur Avkiran, LifeArc and the University of Warwick: Developing improved Tuberculosis treatments using small molecule drugs
  • Sascha Ruggaber, Autocraft Drivetrain Solutions Limited and the University of Strathclyde: Creating new technologies for the remanufacturing of automotive engines through the sustainable reclamation of components
  • Joshua Elliott, Rolls Royce plc and Imperial College London: Super resolution ultrasonic imaging for inspection of defects on safety critical components for naval programmes
  • Iestyn Stead, Dearman and  the University of Birmingham: Reduction of energy losses in zero emissions liquid air Dearman Engines
  • George Roberts, Toshiba Research Limited and the University of Cambridge: A data transmitter to standardise next-generation quantum communications
  • Ed Williamson, Rolls-Royce plc and the University of Surrey: New ceramic coatings to improve the durability and environmental impact of next generation nuclear reactors (Small Modular Reactors)

Applications for the 2017 Industrial Fellowships are now open. 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.

Awarded to the most promising science and engineering graduates annually, the Industrial Fellowships form a crucial part of the Commission’s work, with the specific aim of encouraging profitable innovation in British industry.

Each three-year Fellowship is worth up to £80,000 and those awarded must work to develop a patented and profitable technology, while completing a PhD or EngD.