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A Perspective on Innovation

Andy Hopper

On 4 October 2012, IET London: Savoy Place, Andy Hopper will be speaking on 'A Perspective on Innovation'.

04 October 2012  Management channel

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About the presentation

The President's Address will focus on the role of innovation in boosting the UK's gloomy economy.

Despite rumours to the contrary, innovation in the UK is alive and well. However, there is always room for improvement and lessons that can be learnt. Professor Andy Hopper - a serial innovator and entrepreneur with 12 start-up companies under his belt - will draw on his experience of academia and industry to make some observations and recommendations, including a more flexible interface between universities and business.

The President will focus on the current pre-occupation with intellectual property (IP) and call on the Government and universities to make it more freely available to UK Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Professor Hopper will argue that where tax payers have already funded the creation of IP, they should not have to pay twice.

Instead, he will suggest that universities should be encouraged and incentivised to kick start new technologies and products by giving IP to innovative businesses.

It's not just IP that Andy wants to make more available. He will also say that the tax payer-funded university infrastructure and facilities should be made freely accessible to UK SMEs so that they can benefit directly from state-of-the-art equipment and resources.

Finally, he will put the spotlight on the Government - highlighting the complete absence of engineers in the Cabinet and poor representation across Parliament and the senior Civil Service.

With the success of so much future policy based around engineering and technology, Andy Hopper believes that it is time for the Government to draw on the knowledge and experience of the UK’s best engineering talent at the highest levels. Andy's Cabinet would have at least three engineers in it.

The Government must take engineering more seriously from the outset to ensure success and ultimately, a healthier economy for us all to enjoy.

About the speaker

Andy Hopper CBE FREng FRS CEng FIET, is Professor of Computer Technology and heads up the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. With a long history of turning innovative research and technology into commercial success he has co-founded a dozen start-ups, three of which have floated on stock markets. He is also Chairman of RealVNC and Ubisense, both born out of research by Cambridge University Graduates and both winners of two Queen's Awards for Innovation and International Trade.

Specialising in real time location systems, Ubisense achieved the Queen's Award double this year while RealVNC that provides world leading remote control software to view and interact with desktop applications, did the rare double last year.

Achieving the Queen's Awards double with both of these companies is an impressive achievement and reflects Andy Hopper's unique ability to successfully bridge the gap between academia and industry. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society and was made a CBE for services to the computer industry in 2007.

He is also currently deputy president at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and takes over the role as president in October this year. Current research interests include computer networking, pervasive and sensor-driven computing and using computers to ensure the sustainability of the planet.

In 1978 Andy Hopper helped to establish Acorn Computers with founders Hermann Hauser and Chris Curry and was involved in designing some of the chips for the early Acorn BBC Micro computers. When Acorn was acquired by Olivetti in 1985, he co-founded and ran the Olivetti Research Laboratory with Herman Hauser, which was later taken over and became AT&T Laboratories.

In parallel with his industrial career, Andy Hopper spent more than 20 years at Cambridge University Computer Laboratory. He was elected Chair of Communications Engineering at Cambridge University Engineering Department in 1997 but then returned to the Computer Laboratory as Professor of Computer Technology and Head of Department in 2004.

Born in Warsaw, Poland in 1953 and a UK citizen since 1964, Andy Hopper received a BSc degree from the University of Wales Swansea and the PhD degree from the University of Cambridge. He enjoys flying and has 5,000+ hours experience – including a solo round the world flight in a six-seater single engine Cessna plane.

Companies co-founded
- Orbis – network equipment; sold to Acorn Computer 1979
- Acorn Computers – invented the BBC Micro; IPO USM 1982, spun out ARM in 1990
- Qudos – E-beam chip prototyping; based at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
- AT&T Laboratories Cambridge (formerly Olivetti Research Ltd) - closed 2002
- Virata Inc - DSL semiconductors; IPO NASDAQ 1999, secondary raised $550M, part of Conexant
- Telemedia Systems (now IPV Ltd) – networked multimedia software
- Adaptive Broadband – fixed wireless equipment; sold to California Microwave 1998
- Cambridge Broadband – fixed wireless equipment
- Level 5 Networks (now Solarflare Inc) – Ethernet semiconductor
- Adventiq – thin-client semiconductor
- ReaVNC – thin-client software; Queen's Awards for Export and for Technology 2011
- Ubisense plc – location systems; IPO AIM 2011, Queen's Awards for Export and for Technology 2012

Other experience
- Amadeus Capital Partners – Venture Capital Firm (Advisory Board)
- Cambridge Gateway Fund – Venture Capital Firm (Advisory Board)
- Fraser Research – Research Laboratory (Trustee)
- Cambridge Wireless – Trade Organisation, Director
- Queen's University Belfast, Institute of Electronics Communications and Information Technology – Advisory Board
- CRFS Ltd - Radio Equipment, Advisory Board
- University of Oxford, Department of Computer Science – Advisory Board
- Technology Strategy Board – Chairman Emerging Technologies and Industries Steering Group
- École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne, School of Computer and Communication Sciences – Advisory Board
- BP – Technical Advisory Council

Prizes and awards
1999 - Royal Society - Bronze Medal (Clifford Paterson Lecture)
2003 - Royal Academy of Engineering - Silver Medal
2004 - Ass' of Computing Machinery - SIGMOBILE Outstanding Contribution
2004 - Institution of Electrical Engineers - Mountbatten Medal
2005 - Swansea University - Honorary Fellowship
2007 - CBE for "services to the computer industry"
2010 - Queen's University Belfast - Honorary Degree
2011 - Trinity Hall, Cambridge - Honorary Fellowship

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