Venture Prize

Thea Armourers and Brasiers' Company is, through the Gauntlet Trust, one of the leading supporters of materials science education and research at schools and universities in the UK, providing funding for grants, prizes, teaching support, industrial placements, conferences and research.  The Company wishes to deepen the impact and reach of its activities by providing funding for the commercialisation of materials-related intellectual property of value which may have been in part generated through its grant giving activities.  This is be achieved by providing direct financial support of the commercialisation of promising research via the provision of an annual Armourers and Brasiers' Materials Science Venture Prize.
 
The benefits to the field of materials science generally include:

  • A prestigious prize which raises the profile of materials science research and development and provides recognition for leading researchers in the field;
  • The provision of a sum of prize money which enables the prizewinner to engage in early commercialisation of very promising research. This is funding that is typically very difficult for researchers to access and generally proves to be a substantial bottleneck to economic exploitation;
  • Engaging the financial and business community with materials science academics and researchers which fosters and facilitates awareness and education on both sides, and can be expected to lead to greater opportunities for successful business collaboration;
  • Expansion of the economic impact of materials science in the UK via the generation of businesses of commercial value, which will also provide challenging and interesting career paths to attract and retain materials scientists in the field.

The scheme is focused on an annual prize of £25,000 in the form of an investment into the enterprise and is judged on a competitive basis by a committee of commercial, financial and scientific experts.

This prize is intended to enable the winner to fund a significant commercial advancement of the project to a stage where a business may be created to exploit this technology.  The Armourers and Brasiers' Prize is becoming a significant factor in enabling the commercialisation of promising materials-based technologies in the UK by providing funding which is otherwise very difficult to source, to high potential researchers. Over time, it is hoped that the prizewinners will go on to create materials-based enterprises of significant commercial potential. The prize is directed at projects with a specific commercial objective that should be specified in the application: for example a market study or the creation of a prototype that can be shown to customers, rather than general R&D.

The winner is announced at the annual Armourers and Brasiers' Forum in Cambridge, in June each year.  In June 2012 the Venture Prize was awarded to Isis Innovation and the University of Oxford for their project 'Low cost, earth-abundant, transparent conducting oxides'.  More information about this exciting new technology is available here.
 
Detailed timings for the 2013 competition will appear on this page in September 2012, but are likely to be as follows:

  • 31 March 2013 - Applications deadline.
  • April 2013 - Review of detailed submissions to produce a short list of 5.
  • May 2013 - Short listed applicants give presentations to the Prize Committee.
  • June 2013 - Prize presentation at the Armourers & Brasiers Materials Science Forum at Cambridge.  The winner will have the opportunity to give a presentation on their work to this prestigious forum.
 
Although there can only be one winner, all applicants benefit by entering a competition process which has been specifically designed to encourage and support participating materials scientists who have new and exciting ideas with commercial development potential.

It is anticipated that the majority of applicants will probably be closely linked to the major UK university departments engaged in materials research.  However, applications are also welcomed and positively encouraged from those materials scientists working in the industrial and commercial sectors.  It is axiomatic that there is little point in taking new technical ideas into an open competition unless the intellectual property involved is protected.

If this is for you then please apply.  Applications should be submitted on the Venture Prize Application Form which will be available in September 2012 on this page or by:
  • Emailing charities@armourershall.co.uk
  • Telephoning 020 734 4000, option 4
  • Faxing 020 7606 7481
  • Writing to: The Charities Administrator, Armourers' Hall, 81 Coleman Street, London EC2R 5BJ.