A student at the University of Birmingham is about to be awarded an Industrial Fellowship worth £80,000 ($106,000) by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 to improve liquid air Dearman Engines.


Iestyn Stead (left) is researching different materials and shapes for Dearman Engines that could reduce the energy loss due to friction which he says would in turn create a far more efficient engine. His work will involve the use of biopolymers and lubricants, moving away from fossil fuel based alternatives and creating a 100% green engine.

The Commission was set up by Prince Albert following the Great Exhibition in 1851 to help fund British science and technology and bring inventions to commercialisation. This year, 14 promising young doctoral engineers and scientists that show the most potential have been awarded the prestigious funds.

Bernard Taylor, Chairman of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, said, “Ensuring Britain’s young scientists and engineers are supported is crucial to ensuring that the UK is at the forefront of innovation in the years to come. Our Industrial Fellowships are designed to fund and commercialise the most promising technologies that could shape out society in the future. This year, we have awarded more Fellowships than ever before, and the breadth of technologies we are supporting, from artificial intelligence, to clean power and potential cures for most deadly diseases, demonstrates that the talent in the UK is only growing.” 

The Industrial Fellowships provide graduates with the means to develop innovative technology with commercial potential, ideally leading to a patent, while completing a PhD or EngD. Each Fellow receives up to £80,000 ($106,000) worth of funding over three years for their work, which they will carry out in collaboration with an academic institution and a business partner. The programme plays a crucial role in facilitating collaboration between universities and industry, offering much sought-after funding for research and development for new intellectual property. It also enables promising scientists and engineers to conduct research whilst gaining valuable industry experience.