The two partnerships of Loughborough University and adidas, and the University of Manchester and the Nuclear Decommissioning sector, are announced as joint winners of the 2023 Bhattacharyya Award in recognition of their stellar academia–industry collaboration.
At a Royal Academy of Engineering event held on Tuesday 24 October at the Edgbaston Park Hotel in Birmingham, the two partnerships of Loughborough University and adidas, and the University of Manchester and the nuclear decommissioning sector were announced as joint winners of the 2023 Bhattacharyya Award in recognition of their stellar academia–industry collaboration.
Funded by the UK’s Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, the annual Bhattacharyya Award is awarded to a UK university or college that has demonstrated a sustained, strategic industrial partnership in any academic discipline that has benefitted society and is deserving of national recognition. The Award was set up in tribute to the late Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya KT CBE FREng FRS, Regius Professor of Manufacturing at the University of Warwick and founder of WMG. The Award comes with a £25,000 prize, which each of this year’s joint winners will receive.
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Loughborough University is a winner with its industrial partner adidas for its work in developing sports equipment and clothing for improved performance, safety and inclusivity that has brought iconic products to market such as World Cup footballs and more advanced cricket helmets that have eliminated facial injuries among professional helmeted batters.
Professor Andy Harland, Director of Loughborough University Sports Technology Institute, said: “I am delighted to accept the Bhattacharyya Award 2023 on behalf of Loughborough University and adidas as we share adidas's vision that sport has the power to change lives. It is humbling to be selected from the shortlist representing such excellent examples of high-quality engineering research and innovation and inspiring to know that we are all part of a community that makes such a difference to the society we live in. This award is a reflection on all the efforts of academics, researchers, students, technical and admin staff as well as all the unsung colleagues behind the scenes over many years. It would not have been possible without the vision, foresight and loyal partnership of adidas.”
University of Manchester won for its work with the nuclear decommissioning sector, providing expertise for quicker, safer nuclear decommissioning. The UK has been a nuclear nation for 75 years and has accumulated one of the largest, most complex nuclear legacies on Earth. Since 2002, government has focused on cleaning up this legacy, with the Dalton Nuclear Institute coordinating the UK’s most comprehensive nuclear academic community at The University of Manchester to deliver skilled people, impactful research and support for government policy development.
Professor Francis Livens, Director of the Dalton Nuclear Institute in The University of Manchester, said: “It’s a great privilege to receive the Bhattacharyya Award, recognising our collaboration with the nuclear decommissioning sector. We are extremely proud of this collaboration – we have built these relationships over more than two decades, and they have involved several hundred researchers across multiple disciplines. Thank you to the Royal Academy of Engineering, to our partners in industry and to all those whose work contributed to delivering safer, cleaner and cheaper decommissioning of our nuclear legacy.”
The winners were announced and presented with their Award by Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, former President of the Academy and Chair of this year’s judging panel, said:
“Engineering is essential to every aspect of our lives, as demonstrated by our two winning collaborations. Both of these fascinating partnerships, developed over many years, demonstrate sustained innovation and impact in the vastly different areas of sports equipment design and nuclear decommissioning.
“From cricket helmets and sportswear to advising on deep disposal of nuclear waste, these engineering teams show the value of successful collaboration between academia and industry. The judges decided unanimously that they were both equally worthy winners.”
“This is my last year chairing the judging panel for the Bhattacharyya Award and I have enjoyed the role enormously. It is such a pleasure to see the breadth of innovation and the level of impact achieved by our finalists and I congratulate them all.”
1. The Bhattacharyya Award is a tribute to Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya KT CBE FREng FRS, the Regius Professor of Manufacturing at the University of Warwick and founder of WMG who advocated for greater collaboration between industry and universities. Funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, the annual Bhattacharyya Award is open to UK universities and colleges that have demonstrated a sustained, strategic industrial partnership that has benefitted society and is deserving of national recognition. Industry–academia partnerships from any academic discipline are eligible for the Bhattacharyya Award. This year’s shortlist was:
2. The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone. In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public. Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.
Media enquiries to: Pippa Cox at the Royal Academy of Engineering; Tel. +44 207 766 0745; email: Pippa.Cox@raeng.org.uk