FIRMS will soon have access to technology that enables them to carry out the ultra-precise and ultra-fast measurements that will deliver the increased automation increasingly vital for manufacturing growth. Now, a University of Huddersfield scientist who played a key role in the breakthrough has been awarded an Enterprise Fellowship by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE).
Dr Hussam Muhamedsalih is a senior research fellow in the University's EPSRC Future Metrology Hub. He and his colleagues have developed and patented a new optical interferometry system that can carry out accurate measurement in fractions of a second.
For example, the roll-to-roll process - crucial to meet the demand for devices such as smart phones and printable sensors - often has to go offline for vital accuracy checks. The University of Huddersfield technology will mean this is no longer necessary, leading to big efficiency gains and cost savings.
Dr Muhamedsalih's Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowship will help him to demonstrate the full potential of the device and to commercialise it.
The Academy states that its Enterprise Fellowships "support innovative, creative entrepreneurial engineers who have demonstrated an exceptional innovation in engineering which they want to develop further".
It adds that, "we give engineering and technology entrepreneurs, and SME leaders, the highest quality bespoke support and funding to turn their ideas into investable, high-growth companies and become exceptional business leaders".
The Fellowship provides funding of up to £60,000 over a year, mentoring and help with PR and promotion, plus lifetime membership of the RAE Enterprise Hub, paving the way for a spin-out a company from the University.
Earning the award was challenging, said Dr Muhamedsalih. There is immense competition for Fellowships and after he had made the final shortlist he was summoned to London for a tough session with five interviewers.
He was delighted to receive a Fellowship at the end of the process and when the 12 months have elapsed he will attend the Enterprise Hub's 2020 showcase event.
"It will give me a great opportunity to present the innovation to investors and other industry leaders for an evening of pitches, including interactive demonstrations and networking," said Dr Muhamedsalih.
His previous awards have included a Fellowship from the London-based Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers, and he has given a public demonstration of the University of Huddersfield's optical interferometry system at the Science Museum in London.