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Renishaw reflects on 50 years of British innovation

In 2019, engineering companies throughout the UK are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the prestigious MacRobert Award, the country’s longest running prize for engineering innovation. As a previous winner, Renishaw is celebrating the success of others in the industry as well as reflecting on its own engineering innovations which continue to shape the world around us.

The MacRobert Award, which is presented and run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, with support from the Worshipful Company of Engineers, recognises step-change innovations that transform their sectors and create jobs and growth.

Throughout the years, the MacRobert prize has been awarded to some of Britain’s biggest and best-known engineering companies, honouring the winning organisation with a gold medal as well as a cash prize of £50,000. As well as Renishaw, past winners have included the engineers behind innovations such as the Pegasus jet engine, catalytic converters and intelligent prosthetic limbs.

The presentation of the Award recognises outstanding innovation, tangible societal benefit and proven commercial success. Renishaw was awarded this accolade in 1987 for the design and exploitation of its metrology probes. The company, which has recently celebrated its 45th birthday, is continuing to innovate decades after winning the prestigious award and has expanded out of its award-winning core metrology business to drive innovation in other sectors

One notable project is the manufacture of a device for North Bristol NHS Trust that was used in a ground-breaking clinical trial. The device enabled the precise delivery of a new drug candidate, Glial Cell Line Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) with the hope of regenerating dying dopamine brain cells in people with Parkinson’s and thereby improve their symptoms.

“Over 30 years ago when Renishaw was a much smaller business, the MacRobert Award recognised the importance of our breakthrough technologies and their global impact on society,” explained William Lee, Chief Executive of Renishaw. “Since 1987 we have sustained our culture of innovation through long-term investments in research and development and a relentless focus on identifying the true needs of our customers.”

He added, “Today, our products and people continue to transform lives around the world by advancing the development of diverse products, from solar panels to medical implants, and by addressing real-world problems such as energy generation and degenerative diseases.”

As well as its commitment to innovation, Renishaw has broadened its social outreach to schools, partners and universities. This programme aims to educate young people about the world of engineering, additive manufacturing and precision machining and inspire them to consider science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) careers.