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Awards

Celebrating exceptional achievements in science, innovation, sustainability, health and safety, and diversity and inclusion.

We recognise and award the brightest minds and the most dedicated champions who make NPL's mission possible.

Scientific Excellence: Explore ground-breaking discoveries and pioneering research that shape the future of science and technology.

Innovation: meet our innovators who are translating their knowledge and research into value for society and the economy.

Sustainability: Meet our sustainability champions dedicated to creating a greener, more sustainable world through their work.

Health and Safety: Discover those who ensure the well-being of our community while upholding the highest safety standards.

Diversity and Inclusion: Celebrate advocates fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion, driving innovation through diverse perspectives.

The Rayleigh Award

The Rayleigh Award is NPL's most prestigious scientific award, presented annually to the authors of the most outstanding NPL paper published in the previous calendar year. The award is judged against the following criteria:

  • Extent and quality of scientific investigation
  • The use of a metrological approach
  • Novelty of the science or engineering reported
  • Impact potential on the science, engineering, metrology and wider communities
  • Clarity, appropriate use of diagrams, equations, references, and accessibility to a scientist with no expertise in the field

John William Strutt, 3rd Baron RayleighThe Rayleigh Award is named after Prof. John William Strutt Rayleigh, Chairman of the Government Committee that recommended the formation of NPL in 1897. The recipients are presented with a certificate and a cash prize.

2023 Rayleigh Award

The 2023 winners and NPL authors are Hans Becker, Edmund Dickinson, Xuekun Lu, Graham Smith, and Gareth Hinds for their paper: Assessing potential profiles in water electrolysers to minimise titanium use, Energy Environ. Sci. 15, 2508, 2022. External co-authors include Ulf Bexell, Sebastian Proch, Claire Moffatt, and Mikael Stenström of AB Sandvik Materials Technology (now Alleima).

The winning paper reports ground-breaking work that demonstrates a viable scientific basis for substitution of platinum-coated titanium components in polymer electrolyte membrane water electrolysers with much cheaper materials such as carbon-coated stainless steel. This could reduce the capital cost of this green hydrogen technology by up to 50%, while decreasing reliance on critical raw materials.

Previous Ryaleigh Award recipients

Impact from Science Award

The Impact from Science Award recognises outstanding contributions to real world impact arising from NPL research. The winners are selected from case studies demonstrating that an NPL output has been adopted by a stakeholder or stakeholder group and made a difference to their economic performance and/or quality of life. The impact must have been delivered over the previous two year period. Case studies are judged against the following criteria:

  • Routes to impact
  • Exceptional nature of impact realisation
  • Quantification of Impact
  • Evidence

The award is made every two years to align with the development of case studies in the NPL science benchmarking process.


2022 Impact from Science award

The 2022 Impact from Science award winners for their novel approaches to safely securing and storing nuclear waste in the UK are:

Cyrus Larijani (Partnerships), Graham Machin, Jon Pearce, Rob Simpson, Gavin Sutton, Jamie McMillian, Wesley Bond, Declan Tucker, Aldo Mendieta (Temperature), Stephanie Bell, Paul Carroll (Humidity), Nick McCormick, Jon Hughes (High Accuracy Inspection System), Sophie Zhang, Alan Turnbull (Corrosion), Bajram Zeqiri, Lian Wang (Acoustics), Louise Wright (Data Science), Lucy Culleton, Arul Murugan (Hydrogen Detection), Giuseppe Lorusso (Radioactivity)

This cross NPL team delivered significant impact to the ongoing process of decommissioning of nuclear sites in the UK. Sellafield, the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) all benefited from NPL scientific expertise, capabilities and facilities with novel approaches to safely securing and storing nuclear waste in the UK.

This combined scientific expertise from across the organisation has delivered significant impact for container and store inspection, special nuclear materials future storage containers, active monitoring of waste containers and modelling, to enable long-term safe storage of spent fuel.

Of the work NPL has delivered Dr Robin Ibbotson, Sellafield Chief Technology Officer said:

“There are few sectors as complicated as the nuclear sector and to demystify complexity you need information, but where safety is involved not just any information will do; it needs to be scientific, accurate and repeatable. This is where our relationship with the National Physical Laboratory is key. They’re not just any partner that provides a service, they’re a National Laboratory, and working with them provides a wealth of knowledge, skills and credibility that help us with the underpinning we need to deliver a clean and safe environment for future generations.”

Previous Impact from Science award recipients

NPI Award

The New Product Introduction (NPI) Award recognises teams who are demonstrating excellence in developing impactful new products & services.

The award is judged against the following criteria:

  • Impact through new Products or Services
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Novelty and creativity
  • Overcoming barriers to make progress at pace
  • Best practice in the NPI process
  • Use of digital and data to create new value, now or in future

The prize includes entrepreneurship training with the Cambridge Impulse programme and mentoring from an experienced entrepreneur. 

Previous NPI Award recipients

2022 NPI Award

The 2022 NPI Award winners are Ben Hughes, Michael Campbell, Jonathan Heaps, James Blanchard, Dan Brooks, Steve Reynolds, Joslyn Hili, Lazaros Tsatalmpasidis, and Tim Jones for their work on OPTIMUM, the new generation of SI digitally traceable measurements.

The new OPTIMUM system showcases the future of large volume measurement, with traceability directly to the shop floor. This patented technology has the potential to improve the productivity and competitiveness of the UK manufacturing industry, reducing production time, decreasing costs, and improving the precision of existing state-of-the-art industrial robotic systems.

These benefits have been validated by the team through market intelligence gathering (market reports, conversations, external contacts and technical demonstrations with partners) and by formulating value propositions and then testing assumptions with stakeholders and collaborators, including potential end-users, large and small metrology instrument manufacturers and the systems-integrators who supply the large manufacturers with their production systems. The judges felt that this cross-functional team had generated momentum during 2022, bringing the opportunity closer to market and able to scale with excellent internal and external collaborations in place. 

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