Is Britain back on top in terms of engineering innovation?
Britain’s position as one of the leaders for engineering innovation has been cemented in recent years. Research activity at universities across the country and the introduction of “game-changing” tech from corporations such as Jaguar Land Rover has helped to put Britain firmly on the engineering map and continue its long standing tradition as one of the world’s best.
The annual global innovation index co-published by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), INSEAD and Cornell University has recognised these achievements and ranked Britain as the second most innovative country due to its exceptional performance in the five pillars of research and development – human capital and research, institutions, business sophistication, market sophistication and infrastructure. These pillars have been key economic drivers during the last decade. The index notes that Britain’s oil and gas industry and high-value engineering has turned heads worldwide and played a huge part in the decision by global OEMs to relocate in the country.
Britain’s heritage as a home for leading engineers should be promoted more to support economic growth according to former BP chief executive, Lord Browne of Madingley. “I do believe engineering is the only way to get growth in any economy,” Browne said prior to awarding the inaugural £1 million Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. As the index shows, Britain has been thriving in recent years and innovators Blatchford, Jaguar Land Rover and Siemens Magnet Technology are among those that have been recognised by the Royal Academy of Engineering for the annual MacRobert Award. Jaguar Land Rover, the largest automotive manufacturer in the UK, is a 2016 finalist due to its efforts to build and manufacture its own engines. This new suite of engines is capable of meeting growing demands for lower running costs and fuel consumption without being detrimental to performance.
Britain is now also taking the lead with a range of digital computing and internet innovations. Ultrafast broadband and cloud services are set to power future networks and the UK is putting in the ground work to bring this exciting, innovative tech to fruition. The 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey is currently prototyping technological solutions that will define the global approach to 5G and outline standards for telecoms companies and corporations worldwide. GovNet is also aiming to transform the government through technology by leveraging cloud-based technologies, the Internet of Things and big data in order to better serve the general public. The Government ICT 2.0 initiative is bringing those leading change together to discuss the challenges and prepare for the future.
Britain’s exemplary innovation record means it will continue to attract investment, which will enable it to remain at the cutting edge of engineering and tech for the foreseeable future. There is more encouraging news as the UK’s impressive use of technology clusters is enabling the best, home-grown research and development talent in areas such as clean technologies and software to innovate in a forward thinking environment, which is adding a fresh momentum to the innovation drive on British soil.