New award scheme celebrates four market-transforming technologies

3 September 2012

Four companies have received the first-ever selection of Innovation Awards from the Institute of Physics (IOP) following each company’s successful development and commercialisation of a novel technology which has had significant impact in a range of markets.

Institute of Physics News

Announced today, Tuesday 4 September, the awards credit the development of a small, noiseless, high-volume pump now being used in range of medical devices; a novel e-paper display being used in supermarkets to make shelf-edge labelling easier; a mobile particle monitor which can detect and identify pollutants in the atmosphere; and a device which enables 3D high-resolution imaging at a microscopic level.

Creators of the 3D high-resolution imaging device for microscopic objects, Aurox Ltd, an Oxfordshire company that originally spun-out from research undertaken at the University of Oxford, aims to make 3D microscopy accessible and affordable to individual researchers.

Having developed the new technology three years ago, the product is now sold as an inexpensive add-on that can be attached to any standard optical microscope. It has already earned the company almost £1 million in additional revenue since its development.

For environmental monitoring, occupational health and atmospheric physics, Canterbury-based Naneum Ltd developed a portable ‘scanning mobility particle sizer’.  With mobile workers in mind, the new device is truly portable and is forecast to earn the company more than £1.5 million over the next two years.  

The novel micropump developed by Technology Partnership plc, based on Melbourn Science Park in Hertfordshire, is now being manufactured on a product line and incorporated into a range of medical devices.

The device has only been in commercial circulation for 1.5 years and has already earned the company more than £1m in additional revenue.

ZBD Solutions, based in Malvern, is a venture capital-backed spin-out from the civil service.  Through research undertaken at the liquid crystal research centre at DERA, formerly the UK Ministry of Defence’s research arm, they are successfully commercialising a novel e-paper display for use in shelf-edge labelling in supermarkets and other retail outlets.

The 4-year old innovation has created 62 jobs and has earned the company an additional £20 million.

Professor Sir Peter Knight, President of IOP, said, “These innovations deserve championing.  They are examples of high-value manufacturing with which Britain can lead the world; they are the fruits from years of advances in research, demonstrating how research crossing over from academia into business can lead to healthy returns.”

The IOP Innovation Awards are a unique celebration of commercial success built on physics.

All four winners will be showcasing their company and its achievements at the Intercontinental Hotel, Park Lane, shortly before IOP’s Awards Dinner on the afternoon of Wednesday 3 October. There will be a live stream of the evening which can be watched via   

More information, including details on how to attend the exhibition, is available on

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