Leeds team wins THE Award

A Leeds team led by Professor Andy McIntosh (Faculty of Engineering) has won the THE’s Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology Award.

The team's research was inspired by the bombardier beetle, an insect which sprays its predators with toxic steam. The result is new µMist™ technology, which has the potential to become the platform for the next generation of more effective and eco-friendly mist carrier systems. It has multiple potential applications such as new nebulisers, needle-free injections, fire extinguishers and powerful fuel injection systems.

The research was funded initially by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, (EPSRC) and subsequently by Swedish Biomimetics 3000 ®. Professor McIntosh and his team were nominated by Denise DeLuca, a civil engineer with links to the Biomimicry Institute.

"Nobody had studied the beetle from a physics and engineering perspective as we did - and we didn't appreciate how much we would learn from it," said Professor McIntosh.

The Times Higher judges agreed, saying the Award was highly deserved and represented a breakthrough in the discipline of biomimetics. Chris Cobb, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Roehampton University and one of the award judges, said Leeds faced tough competition in what the panel described as a "very good field", saying: "The multidisciplinary team at Leeds has brought together biologists, chemists and engineers to achieve a method of producing highly specified sprays without the need for volatile organic compound propellants."

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