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2021 LeicestershireLive Innovation Awards winners announced


The winners of the 2021 LeicestershireLive Innovation Awards have been announced during a special ceremony at the National Space Centre.

Former Gadget Show presenter, TV personality and author Jason Bradbury hosted the awards evening which recognised the very best technology, digital advances and creative thinking that Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland have to offer.

This year’s winners included individuals, teams, businesses and public sector bodies that pre-Covid, during the pandemic and beyond are leading the way in all types of research and development, as well as in new manufacturing techniques, software design and the latest digital technologies that will shape future Britain.

A Lifetime Achievement Award was preesented to Richard Freeman, of Coalville-based Zeeko, which builds precision polishing machines for optics and other complex surfaces.

In 2019 machinery made by Zeeko was used to help build two cameras which captured fresh pictures of the July 20, 1969, Moon landing site.

This year’s Innovator of the Year was Leicester air quality specialist EarthSense.

The headline sponsors of the Innovation Awards are:

– Loughborough’s Morningside Pharmaceuticals, which has led the way in producing life-saving medicines for use in the UK and abroad;

De Montfort University, which has built a reputation for bringing academics, graduates and industry together to support innovation, growth and skills development;

The University of Leicester, which led the plans for the new £100 million Space Park Leicester, which recently opened to hi-tech tenants, and which builds on the work of decades of research at the university into satellite and space technology.

Other sponsors include independent financial planner and mortgage broker Furnley House.

Innovation in Services, sponsored by Furnley House – EarthSense

Innovation in Design – Leta-lux

Innovation in Education and Training – DMU e-Parasitology Project

Innovation in Construction – 3D Concrete Printing (Loughborough University)

Digital Innovation of the Year, sponsored by De Montfort University – BrainBerry

Innovation in Technology, sponsored by De Montfort University – Tzuka

Innovation in Schools – Woodbrook Vale School

Medical and Health Innovator of the Year, sponsored by Morningside Pharmaceuticals – Hive Composites

Innovation in Manufacturing and Engineering – Flotec

University Student Innovation – BeoBia

Innovation in Space, sponsored by the University of Leicester – Redshift Associates Ltd

Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by the University of Leicester – Richard Freeman, of Zeeko

Innovator of the Year, sponsored by the University of Leicester – Earthsense

Adam Moss, the Leicester, Coventry and Northants editor for LeicestershireLive parent company Reach plc, said the quality of innovators across the region was second-to-none.

He said: “Once again it’s great to be celebrating people and business driving innovation in Leicester.

“This country has a massive reputation for driving innovation and invention – which is something that has played a crucial part in getting us through the pandemic.

“Although not out the other side yet, that spirit of discovery has helped drive many of the advances that are slowly helping our lives get back to normal.

“I hope that many of the winners of our awards will go on to make future discoveries just as significant as the ones that have been making global headlines in the fight against Covid-19.

“And it’s apt that the awards should be presented at the National Space Centre because of its proximity to the new Leicester Space Park which has been built next to it, as well as the incubator facilities at the neighbouring Dock.

“Those facilities, and others connected to Leicester, De Montfort and Loughborough universities, have been key in supporting the growth of our nation. Long may that continue.”

Helen Donnellan, De Montfort University director of enterprise and business services, said: “This year’s Innovation Awards have shown the wealth of ideas coming out of companies and entrepreneurs across Leicester and Leicestershire.

“Their willingness to try new things, test new approaches and take risks has only been intensified by the pandemic and as we have seen tonight, has led to some truly inspiring ideas and new products that have changed lives.

“What was particularly gratifying was to see the number of businesses who had seen the value of linking up with universities to get support in R&D, testing or as start-ups and we’d like to get across the message to companies that we are here to help.

“I know all of us as judges had an incredibly tough time choosing the winners and I would like to congratulate all of the finalists and winners, and we look forward to seeing even more entries next year.”

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