University of Birmingham wins Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education

Posted on Friday 25th November 2011

The University of Birmingham’s world-leading Centre for Formulation Engineering has gained further recognition after being selected for a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. The Prizes form part of the national honours system and are the most prestigious honour that can be awarded to UK universities or colleges. The Prizes are given to institutions that make an outstanding contribution to the intellectual, economic, cultural, and social life of the nation.

The University of Birmingham has been selected for this major prize in recognition of its pioneering research in micro-structured materials and outstanding track record in collaborative research and training with UK and multinational companies involved in process engineering. Key industrial partners in this work include Cadbury/Kraft, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and Johnson Matthey.

Formulation engineering involves the development and manufacture of products with a complex microscopic structure such as paints, detergents, pharmaceuticals and foods, including chocolate. The microstructure is critical in controlling product function - such as taste and flavour in foods, the activity of catalysts, or the delivery of cleaning chemicals in washing machines. The University’s researchers work with industrial sponsors to assess all aspects of the product life-cycle from look and feel and how stable it is in different environments, through to disposal and recycling.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, Professor David Eastwood, said: "We are tremendously proud to have been recognised in the Queen's Anniversary Prize for the work we do to connect our internationally- acclaimed academic research with business and industry. The quality, breadth, and scale of our research has allowed us to achieve significant industrial impact across a broad range of sectors and kept us at the forefront of formulation engineering over the last decade, a position which we will maintain and strengthen into the future.”

Professor Peter Fryer, Head of the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, added: “Many of the products we work with fall into the category of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs), where product innovation is especially rapid and consumer-focused. Some products, such as chocolate, have long been manufactured using established technologies whose science has been poorly understood; by understanding the science and engineering of a process or product, the formulation engineer can identify how to improve either the manufacturing or the product itself. For instance, knowing what makes butter attractive in the mouth can then inform the development of lower-fat but tasty alternatives.”
This is the second time that the University has been awarded the Prize.

Notes to editors

The Royal Anniversary Trust

The Royal Anniversary Trust is an independent charity - registered number 1,000,000 -concerned with the advancement of education for public benefit. It was set up in 1990 with the object of carrying out a programme of events and activities during 1992, funded and supported from private sources with official endorsement, to mark the 40th anniversary of The Queen’s accession and her years of service as Head of State. The Trust currently works to promote world class excellence in UK universities and colleges through The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education.

The Prizes are a biennial award scheme which is within the UK’s national honours system. As such they are the UK’s most prestigious form of national recognition open to a UK academic or vocational institution. The honour is distinctive in recognising the institution rather than an individual or team. The scheme was established in 1993 with the approval of The Queen and all-party support in Parliament.

All eligible universities and colleges in the UK are invited to enter the biennial rounds of the scheme. The assessment process is overseen by the Awards Council of the Trust which makes the final recommendations which are submitted to the Prime Minister for advice to The Queen. http://www.royalanniversarytrust.org.uk/

A full list of winning institutions will be available http://www.royalanniversarytrust.org.uk/news from Friday 25 November 2011.

The presentations will be made by The Queen at a Buckingham Palace honours ceremony in February 2012.

The Centre for Formulation Engineering

Established in 2000, the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Formulation Engineering was the first in the country and the only institute in the UK of this nature, scale and breadth. The Centre’s activities include both research and teaching, with the two often very closely interconnected, especially through its innovative EngD programme which sees postgraduate students being placed in industry to use research skills to solve real life and real time formulation engineering problems.

To find out more visit http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/chemical-engineering/index.aspx

For further information contact:
University of Birmingham: Jo Kite, Head of Media Relations on +44 (0)121 414 6681/ +44 (0)7766205630 / j.r.kite@bham.ac.uk

Queen’s Anniversary Prizes: Alex Bevis, Colman Getty, +44 (0)7736 278 697