A University of Surrey hosted company has won the coveted Institute of Physics (IOP) Start-Up Business Award for developing technology that could improve the safety of the UK’s railway tunnels.
Geoptic was given the prestigious award for developing an invasive scanning system for large engineering structures. The novel approach uses cosmic rays that naturally impact Earth from space, to efficiently scan large buildings and structures, allowing them to rapidly identify unusual changes in density or other structural defects.
The IOP recognised Geoptic for “contributions to the rail industry via the development of novel instrumentation and techniques capable of non-invasive imaging, saving time and enhancing the safety of railway workers”.
The company has already worked with Network Rail, Central Alliance and AMCO to identify and lessen the impact of concealed shafts above UK tunnels using the new technology.
The IOP award recognises and celebrates young companies with a great business idea founded on a physics invention, with the potential for business growth and significant societal impact.
Dr Chris Steer, managing director of Geoptic and Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellow at the University of Surrey, said: “The recognition of Geoptic team’s hard work by this IOP award is fantastic and sets us up well for success in future years.”
Professor Justin Read, head of the department of physics at the University of Surrey, added: “We are incredibly proud of what Chris and his team at Geoptic have achieved. Their work is testament to the value of curiosity driven research, and to the research and innovation ecosystem at Surrey. This is another fantastic example of how sound theoretical physics principles can be ingeniously applied to deliver exciting new market applications.”
Institute of Physics president, Jonathan Flint, said: “The IOP Business Awards recognise and reward the achievements of physics-based businesses of all sizes; innovative companies that have developed new technologies or repurposed existing ones, and that are at the cutting edge of the UK and Ireland’s scientific research and development.
“Rarely has the need to recognise and encourage our scientists been more apparent. We must continue to encourage, reward and invest in our researchers. Their commitment, drive and imaginations help to keep us comfortable, healthy and safe.”