Vince Cable presents the IOP’s Innovation Awards for 2013

7 November 2013

Business secretary Vince Cable praised the UK’s physics-based companies when he presented the IOP Innovation Awards at a House of Commons reception on 6 November.

Physics was a key discipline that lay behind engineering and was at the root of innovation across a range of industries, he said.

“We have every reason to be proud as a country of the scientific work that’s being done here,” he argued. Mentioning the research of theoretical physicist Prof. Peter Higgs, the achievements of graphene physicists and anticipated breakthroughs in quantum technology, he said that the IOP’s event was to celebrate several companies that were applying physics in innovative ways.

The Institute’s president, Frances Saunders, also spoke at the reception, which attracted more than a dozen MPs as well as peers, people from industry and academia, and representatives from several catapult centres, which help to turn innovative ideas into products and services.

She said: “We know that 10% of the UK’s economic output comes from physics-based businesses. I am very excited to be here because I have always cared about science with a purpose.” Physics not only helped to enable technologies and to create jobs, she said, but also inspired young people who would become the scientists to tackle the challenges of the future.

As representatives of the five winning businesses received their awards from Vince Cable, the audience saw videos in which spokespeople explained what their company did and what the award would mean to them.

The five were: Coherent Scotland Ltd, which has developed an ultrafast laser system for medical imaging; Tracerco Ltd, which has produced a leading gamma-radiation based tool for pipe measurement in the oil and gas industry; Zephir Ltd, which has designed a portable Light Detection and Ranging device that can assess a site’s suitability for a wind farm; Elekta Ltd, which has produced a beam-shaping device for targeted radiotherapy; and Simpleware Ltd, which has developed a software solution that converts 3-D images into high-quality computer models.

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