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Advanced design software wins UK Innovation Award

Computer-aided engineering (CAE) software, used in the design of everything from contact lenses and bike helmets to car parts and rocket engines, received an Innovation Award from the UK’s Institute of Physics (IOP). The award was presented to Simpleware, based in Exeter in the west of England by the UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Dr Vince Cable.

Using research undertaken via an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council fellowship, Simpleware developed a software solution that converts 3D images into high-quality computer models. The software is being used by blue-chip companies and many research institutes, including NASA.

Professor Philippe Young, the managing director of Simpleware, said: ‘Winning the Innovation Award recognises the industry-wide adoption of the technological solutions Simpleware has been developing, and highlights the exciting use of real-world physics-based simulation in numerous fields including oil and gas, medical device development, and composites.’

Dr Frances Saunders, President of the Institute of Physics, pointed out that nearly 10 per cent of the UK’s economic output was due to physics-based businesses and that the application of research in physics can create both world-changing technologies and successful businesses.

On the five companies from the UK that have won this year, Dr Cable said: ‘I would like to congratulate all of the winners of this year’s IOP Innovation Awards. The UK is home to some of the most innovative businesses in the world especially in sectors such as manufacturing and telecommunications which draw on disciplines like engineering which have a base in physics. Our pioneering businesses are delivering sustained success.’


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