Monday, 13 July 2009

British Innovation Gets Recognition

Call made for all new ideas and innovative companies to enter inaugural iawards

The first Government backed innovation awards, the iawards, were launched today by Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson and leading businessman James Caan. The awards, launched at the Science Museum, aim to celebrate the best of cutting edge British science and technology.

Innovation and science will play a key role in building a stronger and more competitive economy able to take advantage of the upturn. The iawards will recognise those people and businesses that will help to do this.

The Prime Minister Gordon Brown said:

“New innovations will help us build for the future and take advantage of new opportunities in low carbon, digital technology, bioscience and advanced manufacturing.

“The iawards will celebrate and recognise Britain’s most innovative entrepreneurs.”

Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson said:

“Now more than ever we need to support and celebrate British innovation.

“New ideas and products will get us out of the downturn and provide the foundations on which we can build Britain's future. The next iPlayer, Spotify and Ecotricity are out there and the people that will create these successful companies need to be supported and celebrated. The iawards will do just that.”

James Caan said:

“Britain is home to some of the greatest minds in the world. We are the nation that invented the jet engine, created the code for the Internet and led research on the human genome project. Science and technology will shape the future of our economy. This is why it is so important for the iawards to recognise and honour Britain’s innovators for the vital contribution they make to our economy.”

Entries for the 13 categories are open to all organisations, but must specify the British involvement in any innovation - demonstrating that innovative thinking and development came from a British organisation or team.

The awards categories reflect the greatest challenges we face as country where science and innovation offer the best chance of developing viable solutions. Each entry must demonstrate how its innovative qualities relate to at least one of the following challenges:

  • addressing the healthcare needs of a aging society;
  • increasing international security from tackling global poverty to minimising the threat of terrorism;
  • preserving finite natural resources in the face of population growth and climate change; and
  • delivering public services which make best use of new technologies.

They must also demonstrate that the innovation has an impact on one of the Governments grand challenges for science.

The iawards will be run by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. Siemens will sponsor the ‘Next Big Thing' category and Microsoft will sponsor the best technology start up category.

Winners of the awards will be helped by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to meet potential business partners at key industry events such as the giant Medica trade fair in Germany and TechnologyWorld in Coventry this autumn. They will also receive public relations support from the iawards team. All of shortlisted entries and the winners will also have exclusive access to the iawards logo.

Science and technology has been a driving force behind Britain’s export success. Exports for life sciences, for example, rose 19% in 2008. Innovation is also important in keeping the UK as the number one destination for inward investment in Europe. UKTI statistics show that the number of investment projects in creative industries increased by 65% in 2008/9 and in software and computer services by 36%.

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