The Royal Society of Chemistry has announced the winners of its Encouraging Innovation Awards for 2004. These prestigious prizes recognise the importance of innovation - transforming creative ideas into commercial successes - to the future of the chemical science industry in the UK. Each award consists of a cheque for £4,000.
The Chemistry World Entrepreneur of the Year Award was won by David Haddleton from Warwick Effect Polymers Ltd for his work in the area of Controlled Radical Polymerisation. The techniques he has developed allow far greater control over the design and production of polymers, enabling the production of novel designer polymers and macromolecules for use in the high value pharmaceutical, personal care and electronics industries.
Two Teamwork in Innovation Awards went to researchers from Merck Chemicals Ltd and Queen's University Belfast and to a team from Syngenta, Avecia, Cambridge University and AstraZeneca. The team from Merck Chemicals Ltd won its prize for the development and commercialisation of ionic liquids in the chemical industry. Ionic liquids are an exciting new group of materials that have the potential to be more environmentally friendly, safer and more efficient than traditional solvents.
A joint team from Syngenta, Avecia, Cambridge University and AstraZeneca were acknowledged for their work which has led to the successful development of a new enabling catalyst technology, through the novel application of microencapsulation to immobilise and recycle commercially-important homogeneous catalysts.
Two Creativity in Industry Awards, for lifetime achievement in innovation, were given to Dr Peter J H Carnell from Johnson Matthey Catalysts and Dr Dave Cartwright, recently retired from Syngenta.
Dr Dave Cartwright was awarded his lifetime achievement award in recognition of his 32 years work at Syngenta (previously ICI/Zeneca) which resulted in over 50 patent applications and the worldwide sales of two herbicide products. Dr Peter J H Carnell was awarded his lifetime achievement award for his significant work in the areas of gas-solid absorption technology and purification technology.
Dr David Giachardi, chief executive of the RSC, congratulated the winners: "These award winners have shown the value of successfully harnessing their creativity to commercial products. The chemical sciences are one of the UK's leading manufacturing industries, directly employing 230,000 people and producing a £5 billion trade surplus. But we are facing increasing competition from countries, especially in the Far East, with lower overheads. If we do not innovate and produce more high-tech products, then our industry will not survive."