Professor Eleanor Stride
Oxford's Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME) is at the forefront of innovation in medical technology.

Image credit: Mark Mallet

Queen's Anniversary Prize for Oxford's innovation in biomedical engineering

Oxford University's pioneering work in biomedical engineering has been recognised with a Queen's Anniversary Prize.

Awarded every two years, the Queen's Anniversary Prizes recognise universities and colleges which have demonstrated excellence, innovation, impact and societal benefit.

Oxford's Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME), which is a research institute in the Department of Engineering Science, has been at the forefront of innovation in medical technology for the past seven years, hosting world-leading projects such as the first human liver to be kept alive at body temperature outside the body.

Research carried out at the IBME has led to the establishment of nine commercial spinout companies, including OxSonics (ultrasound therapy), Oxehealth (cameras as health monitors), Intelligent Ultrasound (quality assurance of imaging services), and CN BioInnovation (fast-tracking of new drugs).

Professor Lionel Tarassenko CBE FREng FMedSci, Head of the Department of Engineering Science and Director of the IBME when it opened in 2008, said: 'The move of engineering faculty to the IBME on the medical campus in Headington in April 2008 has been the catalyst for a remarkable period of innovation in medical technology in Oxford.

'Oxford is leading the world in showing how engineers can work together with clinicians to address unmet needs in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of major diseases and conditions.'

Professor Alison Noble OBE FREng, the current Director of the IBME, added: 'Since the opening of its building, the IBME has more than doubled in staff, having raised over £50 million in research funding. The 16 academic staff and the 200 researchers working with them have completed more than 20 clinical trials, from pregnancy screening and diabetes self-management to organ preservation, and have spun out a new medical technology company each year.

'We also have some exciting new initiatives under way that are underpinned by international collaborations, for example a Regenerative Medicine Technology Centre with China, and the Oxford Biodesign programme in collaboration with Stanford University.'

In this 11th round of the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes, 21 UK universities and colleges have been awarded Prizes recognising a wide range of innovative work across a host of disciplines. The Prize medals will be awarded at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace in February.

Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science, said: 'The UK is a world leader in science and research, and the Queen's Anniversary Prizes celebrate the achievements of our universities and colleges. The outstanding academics recognised with these awards bring benefits to the everyday lives of millions of people in the UK and deserve this high honour for their work.'

Kieran Poynter, Chair of The Royal Anniversary Trust, said: 'The Prizes in this biennial round again illustrate the variety and quality of innovative work being done in our universities and colleges. They encourage our institutions to think about what they are doing in terms of practical benefit as well as intrinsic quality. The work being recognised combines a track record of outstanding achievement with the promise of future development.'

More than 100 new companies – more than any other UK university – have been spun out from Oxford research in the past 25 years via the University's technology transfer arm, Isis Innovation, with over 500 licences and consultancy agreements being signed in the last financial year alone.