Nigel Clarke - Emerging Technology Design judge

Nigel ClarkeA CEO at manufacturing firm Morgan Innovation and Technology, Nigel is in the business of developing new products that have a significant positive impact on society.

His company works with highly talented inventors to develop their products, supporting them with expertise in electronic engineering and providing services from R&D to bringing products to market.

Nigel also knows what it takes to win an Innovation Award, as Morgan I&T won the Healthcare Technologies category in 2015!

We caught up with Nigel to find out if he had any insider tips for this year's entrants…

Nigel, you entered the Innovation Awards back in 2015 – what would you say to companies/individuals who are considering entering this year?

I'd recommend it — it gave Morgan some great kudos for the technology we were developing. There were opportunities to increase our visibility and highlight our work — from coverage in E&T Magazine and the IET's other channels to an invitation to sit on this year's judging panel.  

What will you be looking for in an award-winning entry?

I'll be looking at the impact the entry is likely to have on the lives of potential end users, as well as commercial viability.

I'll also be persuaded by a well-written entry, which displays in-depth research and a thorough understanding of the marketplace it is looking to enter. Please make the entry easy to read and remember we are not all experts in your field!

Any words of encouragement for entrants?

The experience of entering the Innovation Awards is incredibly valuable, as it helps you to gain a better understanding of how to communicate the key points of your idea to an external audience. This stands you in good stead when the time comes to seek investment for further development. You'll also gain exposure to other ideas and experts in their fields. Remember — nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Share your innovation with experts and wider society — submit your entry to the Innovation Awards today!

Dr Ozak Esu - Power & Energy judge

Dr Ozak EsuReturning for another year to judge innovations for our Power & Energy category, Ozak Esu is currently Technical Lead at BRE. In this role, she explores the implementation and impacts of technology within smart buildings, including smart energy measurement technologies.

Her past experience includes appraising and designing electrical building services — and she's also got a strong interest in renewable energy. After qualifying as an Electronic and Electrical Engineer, she completed a PhD covering advanced signal processing, wind energy and energy harvesting.

In the run up to the entry deadline, we caught up with Ozak to find out if she had any top tips for this year's entrants…

Ozak, as a judge from last year, you know what the Innovation Awards are all about! What would you say to companies/individuals who are considering entering?

It's a great opportunity to have your innovation assessed by an expert judging panel. You'll also have the opportunity to exhibit your hard work and communicate the technical details and impact of your project to the non-expert public.

You'll raise your profile (and the profile of your innovation) through the exclusive media coverage and networking opportunities that the awards offer. And who knows, this could lead to more collaborations, funding or sponsorship.

What will you be looking for in an award-winning entry?

Genuine technological novelty which is well described and distinguished from previous technologies or solutions.

I'll also be looking at the extent to which the innovation contributes to the existing body of knowledge within the power and energy sector. And I'll want to know how practical the exploitation of the innovation will be and how it will be of benefit to industry, society, the economy, environment, etc.

Any top tips for entrants?

It's very common to be consumed by the technical details of an innovation. Try putting on your 'average member of the public' hat and consider what benefits your innovation could have for them – therein lies the value of your innovation.

When you're working on your application, be organised and detailed in your descriptions of technical novelty. Bear in mind that your readers, the judging panel, will come from various backgrounds within the sector.

If you've submitted in the past and been unsuccessful, have another go, but demonstrate progress in the development of your idea.

Finally, once you've decided to enter — commit to it, grab that opportunity!

Share your innovation with experts and wider society — submit your entry to the Innovation Awards today!

Jessica Muirhead – Young Innovators

Jessica Muirhead

Jessica is a Lecturer in Computer Science at Wrexham Glyndŵr University. She teaches a range of technology-based modules, including programming, computer systems and cyber security, with a focus on practical solutions to help people lead better lives.

She's also worked with humanitarian organisations as a cyber security trainer, improving organisational resilience within conflict zones. She describes herself as a technologist and developer, who builds and supports reliable and practical solutions.

We caught up with Jessica to find out what tips she has for this year's Innovation Awards entrants.

Jessica, as a judge for this year's Innovation Awards, what would you say to companies or individuals who are considering entering them?

The Innovation Awards is a great opportunity for young professionals to showcase their skills and demonstrate the best of engineering. We'll be recognising those who are able to think through problems and find creative solutions, whilst working within a team and fitting into the constraints of the real world.

What will you be looking for in an award-winning entry?

The judges for the Young Innovators category will be looking for professionals who are able to use their skills to solve real world problems in innovative ways. This means being able to work in teams to deliver solutions with an impact on people, the environment and our world.

Any top tips or words of encouragement for entrants?

This is an opportunity to demonstrate your innovations and skills — don't be too modest and make sure the benefits of your technology are clear.

Share your innovation with experts and wider society — submit your entry to the Innovation Awards today!

Chris Morriss – Cyber Security judge

Chris Moriss


Chris Morriss brings his varied expertise in cyber security— plus experience of winning last year's Innovation Award — to judging this year's entries.

He's a systems engineer at Roke, with over 10 years' experience working in cyber security, leading in-depth technical teams and consulting broadly across defence, transport and utilities.

He also has a good understanding of the challenges within different areas of cyber security, having worked in research, analysis, platform procurement, deployed operations, and testing and evaluation.

We caught up with Chris to find out what advice he has for this year's entrants…

Chris, you entered the Innovation Award category for Cyber Security last year – can you tell us why?

I am a big advocate of the IET's work to promote STEM activities. The IET has established relationships across industry, academia and government, so I felt it would be a great platform to showcase the novel training mechanism developed by myself and my colleagues.

Why do you think other companies and individuals should consider entering the Innovation Awards?

The awards recognise talented individuals and groups who are the driving force for innovation in the engineering community. Innovation in our profession is key to assuring economic prosperity, building existing relationships and forging new ones across the global economy.

What will you be looking for in an award-winning entry?

Something which can satisfy a cyber security need faster, better or in a more financially efficient way. I'm interested in novelty that, with more recognition, could be exploited within a short timeframe to make a difference.

Any top tips for entrants?

Think about the problem or challenge your innovation could help resolve. What impact would it have if it was adopted and brought into mainstream use? What risks could it help prevent? That's what I'm really interested in as a judge.

Share your innovation with experts and wider society — submit your entry to the Innovation Awards today!

Professor Bal Virdee – Communications judge

Bal VirdeeBal Virdee is currently Professor of Microwave Technology at London Metropolitan University, with a background in academia and in industry as an Electronic Engineer.

He's worked within R&D in both spheres, focusing on high-frequency wireless communications. His work has involved developing innovative integrated electronic devices and subsystems for RF microwave applications including instrumentation, portable mobile devices, cellular networks, radar and aerospace.

We asked Professor Virdee for his advice to this year's Innovation Awards entrants…

Professor Virdee, you're familiar with the Innovation Awards as an IET Fellow and a judge for this year's entries. What would you say to companies/individuals considering entering this year's awards?

It's a great opportunity to get recognition for your innovation and showcase it to a global engineering community and industry.

What will you be looking for in an award-winning entry?

I will be asking questions like — has the product introduced new or leading-edge technologies, created different ways of working, or novel approaches that benefit its users? Can the individual/team demonstrate significant commercial success with their product during the past 12 months? Is there evidence of customers using the product successfully to improve their operations, and would they recommend the product to others?

Any words of encouragement for entrants?

Don't be discouraged to submit your application, no matter how small your innovation is. Surprisingly small innovations can make a big impact.   

Share your innovation with experts and wider society — submit your entry to the Innovation Awards today!

Margaret Wood – Manufacturing Technology judge

Margaret WoodMargaret started her career in the engineering department of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), where she was fascinated by innovation and how new technologies could be harnessed for the benefit of society.

When she started her own business, ICW, it was to provide a niche product that would make a big difference to various sectors. Her company now applies innovative technologies to manufacture and supply glazing systems.

In parallel with founding and chairing ICW, Margaret is a member of the High Value Catapult Manufacturing Board, which investigates how starts ups can upscale using technologies more easily accessible to larger organisations.

She's also a Commissioner for Made Smarter, which aims to drive forward digital developments in British manufacturing.

We spoke to Margaret to find out if she has any advice for this year's Innovation Awards entrants…

Margaret, you're supporting this year's Innovation Awards as one of our judges – why do you think individuals/companies should consider entering the awards?

The world is crying out for innovations that can benefit everyone. These life-changing innovations start with a germ of an idea, often in very small companies. Businesses should not be deterred in coming forward to share their ideas and technologies — they could make a difference.

What will you be looking for in an award-winning entry?

It will be something that is very unique and different to anything else on the market. The judges want ideas that challenge traditional thinking, are more than a development of an existing technology, and could potentially change lives for the better. Imperatives for society are aiding people to live better quality lives as life expectancy increases and helping the environment in an affordable, sustainable way.

Any top tips or words of encouragement for entrants?

If you think your idea and innovation could make a real difference, be brave and enter the awards. Write a well-structured submission, outlining your rationale for developing the innovation, provide qualified data that supports it and if possible, show that you have trialled it.

Share your innovation with experts and wider society — submit your entry to the Innovation Awards today!


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