SMMT’s prestigious Automotive Award for Innovation, which recognises UK-developed concepts and technologies with the potential to transform the automotive industry, is now open for its sixth year of entries.

The Award – in partnership with the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), sponsored by GKN, and supported by The Times – promotes the UK automotive sector’s huge capacity for innovation. Global demand for British-made vehicles has significantly increased in recent years – manufacturing output is up more than 50% since 2009 – but this growth must be supported by home-grown innovation to help maintain the industry’s international competitiveness.

A judging panel of industry experts will be looking for products, technologies, processes or systems that could transform the UK’s automotive industry for the better. Last year’s winner was Torotrak Group’s Flybrid KERS, a system that transfers energy from a vehicle’s motion back to the drive system to power the vehicle. The system is smaller, lighter and cheaper than a conventional battery electric hybrid. Winners from previous years include Gordon Murray Design, Jaguar Land Rover, Optare and Ford.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “One of the drivers behind the current success of the UK automotive industry is a strong pipeline of innovation – a vital component of its continuing drive for global leadership in vehicle development. In light of the UK automotive industry’s recent successes, we expect to see some exceptional entries this year.”

Tony Pixton, Chief Executive of the Advanced Propulsion Centre, said, “The UK has committed a minimum of £1 billion to develop and produce low carbon technology over the next decade, building on our existing capability as a Propulsion Nation. Through our partnership with the SMMT Automotive Award for Innovation we will use our combined resources to provide a global shop window for entrants and hence we encourage any organisation with relevant products, technologies, processes, or systems to apply and be considered for this important award.”

Rob Rickell, GKN President of Technology, added, “What has struck me in the six years GKN has been involved with this award is the skill, talent, and, often, tenacity of the people behind the innovations. It is important that we recognise the people driving innovation in the UK, and create the right environment to harness the undoubted skills we have in this country. As a global engineering leader, GKN wants people to recognise that there are a lot of great ideas and technologies that start life in the UK – and that have the potential to transform the global automotive industry.”

The deadline for entries is midnight on 28 August. Entry is free and open to any manufacturer, supplier or developer, whether as an individual, team, department, or a submission on behalf of an organisation.

After a shortlisting process, successful entrants will present their innovations to a panel of industry experts. The winner will be announced at the SMMT Annual Dinner on 24 November, in front of more than 1,000 leading industry figures.

All entry criteria and entry forms can be found at the Award website: