2008 Business and Innovation medal

Dr Donal Denvir

Andor Technology PLC

For his role in founding Andor Technology, which manufactures high-performance digital cameras, and for leading an R&D programme that has kept the company at the forefront of innovation.

The Business and Innovation medal of the Institute of Physics for outstanding contributions to the organisation or application of physics in an industrial or commercial context has been awarded to Dr Donal Joseph Denvir for his role in founding Andor Technology, which manufactures high-performance digital cameras, and for leading an R&D programme that has kept the company at the forefront of innovation.

Dr Denvir took his first degree in physics and applied mathematics at Queen’s University Belfast in 1977, followed by postgraduate and postdoctoral research during which he built up a wide range of expertise in digital electronics and computer-controlled spectroscopic information.

In 1989, along with three colleagues at Queen’s, Denvir founded Andor, as a university-based company. The team had noted that the digital camera systems then available were inadequate for their demanding research requirements, so they developed their own dedicated systems - which also proved to have considerable commercial potential. Eventually relinquishing his academic career, Denvir joined the fledgling company full-time in 1990.

Under Denvir’s innovative leadership as Technical Director, Andor has continued to expand its range of products, and is now recognised worldwide as a leading manufacturer of sensitive, versatile digital cameras - covering the electromagnetic spectrum from the X-ray region to the near infrared - and often developed for specialist applications in extreme environments. The company also produces a range of complementary spectroscopic equipment.

The commercial success has resulted in Andor being only one of three publicly quoted companies in Northern Ireland. It currently employs more than 180 staff - of which a substantial proportion are physics and engineering graduates.