The Brian Mercer Awards for Innovation
As an advocate for innovation, research and development, Dr Mercer bequeathed a large sum of money to the Royal Society in his will. With this funding, the Royal Society established the Brian Mercer Awards for Innovation in 2001.
The objective of this award is to provide funding for individuals or groups to develop an already proven concept through to the creation of a near-market product for commercial exploitation, i.e. to a stage where an approach for venture capital becomes reality.
For further information on how to apply or to find out more about previous award winners, please visit the Royal Society website.
Dr Brian Mercer – Biography
Portrait of Dr Brian Mercer by Salvador Dali, 1973
The Mercer Lecture Series are held in honour of the late Dr. Brian Mercer, who was an enthusiastic inventor and entrepreneur.
Brian Mercer was born into the distinguished Mercer family, which for many generations had been involved in the textile industry and owned and controlled companies engaged in spinning, weaving, dyeing and finishing.
In the 1950s, he invented the Netlon process, in which plastics are extruded into a net-like process in one stage, winning the Queen's Award for Technological Achievement. With his inspiration, leadership and drive, he founded Netlon Ltd in 1959 to manufacture the products but most importantly to commercialise the concept. Throughout Brian Mercer's outstanding career, he strongly believed in the importance of cooperative research and development through instigating discussion and debate through international commercial and technical conferences.
In 1978 he became a Fellow of the Institute of Materials and only the second person to receive its coveted Prince Philip Award. He was elected a Fellow of the Textile Institute in 1973 and in 1988 it bestowed on him an Honorary Fellowship. In 1981 he received the OBE and in 1984 was made a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Modern Tensar geogrids were invented by Dr. Mercer in the late 1970s and early 1980s for the construction industry to provide stabilisation and reinforcement, with the underlying concept of simplicity, flexibility and strength. They are now used throughout the world for soil reinforcement applications.
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