Innovation frustration in Queen's Awards

Innovation frustration in Queen’s Awards
Awards not indicative of decline in UK technological innovation. Roy Rubenstein Poor showing by electronics firms in this year’s Queen’s Awards does not represent a decline in innovation in the sector, say industry observers. Only three firms have won the technological achievement award out of the 14 prizes granted. This compares to eight out of 14 awards in 1998. The relatively poor showing from the electronics industry has not been helped by a general decline in entries from high-tech firms. Anne Glover, managing director of venture capital firm Amadeus Capital Partners, dismissed the suggestion that the falling interest is due to any reduction in UK technological innovation. “We are seeing some very vibrant sectors in electronics,” she said. She also stressed that recognition for technology is always valuable for companies. “In a global world a technological award is far more important than an export award.” Danny Chapchal, chief executive of Cambridge Display Technology, believes the Queen’s Awards has lost none of its appeal and intends to enter his company in the coming year. However, he admitted that, “you don’t hear much about it these days”. Of the technology award winners, Snell and Wilcox – for its video decoder – and Digital Engineering – for its ISDN simulator – are also winners of this year’s export award. The third winner is Hewlett-Packard’s telecom systems division for its telephone monitoring system. Electronics firms fared better in the export award category, winning eight of this year’s 82 awards. Motorola’s GSM systems division receives an export award for its cellular radio telephone systems. The other winners include Compugraphics International, the Glenrothes-based manufacturer of photomasks for the semiconductor industry, Evans and Sutherland Computer for its real-time graphics systems, Data Connection with its communications software and Getty Connections a manufacturer of cable assemblies. Pilkington Micronics has won an export award for its precision thin glass used in LCDs and disk substrates.


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