The Royal Academy of Engineering has announced the finalists for the 2019 MacRobert Award, the most prestigious prize for UK engineering innovation.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the MacRobert Award is run by the Royal Academy of Engineering and recognises engineering teams that demonstrate outstanding innovation, tangible societal benefit and proven commercial success within the UK engineering sector.
The four finalists for the 2019 MacRobert Award include OrganOx (Oxford) for creating the metra, a world-first device that can keep a human donor liver functioning outside the body for up to 24 hours prior to transplant.
Earlier this year The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approved the use in the NHS of ex-vivo machine perfusion for preservation of livers donated for transplants. One variation of the technique, normothermic machine perfusion, was developed by University of Oxford Department of Engineering spinout OrganOx Ltd as a result of a cross-disciplinary collaboration between Professor Constantin Coussios (Institute of Biomedical Engineering) and Professor Peter Friend (Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences).
The technique maintains donor livers at body temperature for up to 24 hours, supplying the organs with oxygenated blood, medications and nutrients, and also allows assessment of the viability of the donor liver during preservation. A randomized study of the procedure compared to conventional cold storage was carried out last year, with positive results, and was cited in the NICE report.
Entries were submitted by a wide variety of companies from across the UK, with four shortlisted for this year’s prize. The finalists were chosen for their ability to demonstrate the ingenuity of engineers who make the impossible possible, bringing products to market that will make a significant impact on people’s lives and on the world in which we live.
The winner of this year’s MacRobert Award will be announced at the Royal Academy of Engineering Awards Dinner at London’s Banqueting House on Thursday 11 July. The winning team will receive the signature MacRobert Award gold medal and a £50,000 cash prize.
The other three shortlisted finalists are:
● Bombardier (Belfast) for developing an innovative, resin-infused advanced composite wing that minimises the aircraft’s environmental impact by reducing both weight and fuel burn in flight, and waste during manufacture.
● Darktrace (Cambridge) for Antigena, an AI-powered ‘self-healing’ cybersecurity system that can both identify and neutralise cyberattacks.
● M Squared (Glasgow), whose SolsTiS Titanium:Sapphire laser produces the world’s purest light and can be tuned across the spectrum – it is enabling new scientific discoveries and bringing about radical transformations in quantum computing, healthcare, navigation and climate change technology.