Siemens & JLR announced as finalists for the MacRobert Award

Mac Robert Medal


The MacRobert Award medal

16 May 2016


The Royal Academy of Engineering has today revealed this year’s finalists for the 2016 MacRobert Award, with QEPrize donors Jaguar Land Rover and Siemens both in the running to win.

Each year the award, renowned for spotting the ‘next big thing’ in technology, is presented to the engineers behind the UK’s most exciting engineering innovation, with finalists competing for a gold medal and a £50,000 cash prize. Securing their place as finalists for the 2016 MacRobert Award were Jaguar Land Rover, for the world-class innovation that led to the company designing and manufacturing its own engines for the first time; Siemens Magnet Technology, for changes in MRI technology to enable earlier diagnosis of a range of diseases, and improvements to drug development; and rehabilitation specialists Blatchford, for the development of the world’s most intelligent prosthetic limb.

In a bid for self-sufficiency, Jaguar Land Rover in 2011 announced the decision to design, develop and manufacture a suite of world-leading ‘Ingenium’ engines that would meet the growing demand for fuel efficient driving without compromising on performance or driver experience. The result of a £1.5 billion per year investment, the engines were designed from scratch, and required the construction of the state of the art Engine Manufacturing Centre, based just outside Wolverhampton.

Not only does the manufacturing facility boast excellent green credentials, featuring one of the largest solar panelled roofs in the UK, capable of meeting up to 30% of the sites energy needs, it has been pivotal in combatting high unemployment rates in the region. Through an active apprenticeship and ‘up-skilling’ scheme, Jaguar Land Rover has enabled people from a diverse range of career backgrounds to move into engineering, and has created almost 1000 jobs on site, supporting a further 5,500 in the supply chain, since the facility opened in 2014.

Siemens Magnet Technology, a subsidiary of Siemens Healthcare UK, has been recognised for the development of a new, 7-Tesla magnet which resides at the heart of the first Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) system suitable for both clinical and research applications. The ultra-high magnetic field produced by the 7-Tesla system allows for much higher resolution images to be taken, showing the vascular networks of the brain without the need for injected contrasts. This enables researchers to identify damage much more easily and accurately, and could even aid in the earlier diagnosis of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.

An MRI magnet is composed of a number of coils of thin wire, carrying a very high current. In order to jump from the 3-Tesla magnets of conventional scanners to the 7-Tesla strength of the new magnet required the addition of enough wire to stretch from London to Brussels. The coils are then cooled to minus 269 Celsius and carry enough current to generate a magnetic field 140,000 times the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field.

The winner of the 2016 MacRobert Award will be announced at the Royal Academy of Engineering Awards Dinner at the Tower of London on 23 June 2016.

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