«Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Report of the Board of Management and Summarised Financial Statements For the year ended 31 December 2015 ...»
Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851
Report of the Board of Management
and Summarised Financial Statements
For the year ended 31 December 2015
The Aims of the Royal Commission
The 1851 Royal Commission’s governing document is its
Supplemental Charter of 1851, which requires the Commission to
“increase the means of industrial education and
extend the influence of science and art upon productive industry”.
This was originally interpreted as a requirement to create a centre of intellectual excellence, which resulted in the acquisition of the South Kensington estate and its subsequent development with museums, academic establishments and a concert hall (the Royal Albert Hall).
Later, in 1890, the emphasis was switched to the support of individuals, starting with the award of Science Research Scholarships from 1891.
Today the Commission runs its own schemes for:
Research Fellowships Industrial Fellowships Industrial Design Studentships Built Environment Fellowships Fellowships in Design
In partnership with others it supports:
Great Exhibition Scholarships Enterprise Fellowships It also supports worthy individuals and appropriate organisations by Special Awards.
The total number of individuals being supported in 2015 was 110 Registered Charity No. 206123 ii Contents Chairman’s Report 2-3 Secretary’s Report 3 The Work of the 1851 Royal Commission 4 Public Benefit 4 Grant-making Policies 5-6 Achievements in 2015 6-8 Future Plans 8 Awards Granted in 2015 9 - 12 Awards Completed in 2015 13 - 20 Alumni Awards, Honours and Achievements 21 - 22 Report by the Chairman of the Finance Committee 23 - 25 Commissioners’ Statement on the Summarised Accounts 26 Independent Auditors’ Statement 26 Summarised Statement of Financial Activities 27 Summarised Balance Sheet 28 Notes to the Summarised Financial Statements 29 Administrative Information 30 - 31 Commissioners a
The 2015 year saw continued expansion in the Commission’s programmes, buoyed by the underlying performance of our investments: for the first time in our history, assets peaked at over £100m in the first quarter. At some £2.4m the total of grants and awards was a 28% increase on last year resulting in more fellowships than ever before and some very worthwhile new initiatives being launched.
A highlight of the year was our biennial Presidential Dinner in March, the second of The Princess Royal’s Presidency. Held as is customary in the unique surroundings of Armourers’ Hall, it was attended by the majority of our current award holders, Commissioners and Committee Members as well as representatives from the institutions on the legacy estate and the wider scientific and engineering community. It was an excellent opportunity to showcase the Commission’s work to Her Royal Highness and our other guests and once again the pre-dinner poster displays of final year Fellows’ work underlined the extraordinary breadth of research that our Fellowships are supporting.
Just as importantly, it was an occasion for our award holders to meet with each other, exchange ideas and hear of each other’s achievements: a benefit of belonging to the 1851 community which is frequently cited as one of the great advantages of becoming a Fellow. Our annual Alumni Science Evening in February and the Reception in December offer further opportunities for this interaction and are always well attended.
Once again there were strong entries for all our award programmes, another record in the case of our postdoctoral Research Fellowships resulting in awards to nine outstanding candidates as detailed in later pages of this report. In contrast, it was a little disappointing that the surge of interest in Industrial Fellowships from smaller companies that we saw last year was not maintained at the same level, although the overall number of entries increased slightly. However the standard was high and a new funding model for those applying through Centres for Doctoral Training allowed a record number of Fellowships to be awarded at our annual ceremony in October.
One of the most significant new developments in 2015 was collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering to create Enterprise Fellowships for postgraduates. An extension of the Academy’s successful postdoctoral Enterprise Fellowship programme, they will support outstanding UK engineering graduates seeking entrepreneurial success. The Commission has undertaken in principle to fund three fellowships a year for up to five years and the first candidates will be selected in 2016.
The Board of Management met for a strategy day in June to consider further ways to extend its influence and support. It has long been an ambition to provide incentives for science teaching and the opportunity to participate in the National Science Learning Centre’s Project ENTHUSE was identified as an effective means of doing so. We have therefore become a partner in the project and undertaken to fund a prize for Achievement in Primary STEM and we look forward to working with the other partners in the project in the coming year.
In 1851 one of the many events held around the country in conjunction with the Great Exhibition was a yacht race around the Isle of Wight, organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron. Intended to demonstrate the supremacy of British yacht design, the race was won comprehensively by the schooner America and the trophy borne off to the United States where, through a Deed of Gift the America’s Cup was established for perpetual international competition. Now the world’s oldest sporting trophy the Cup has never returned to Britain despite many attempts, but a fresh challenge led by Olympic champion Sir Ben Ainslie, is seen as having a good chance of regaining the Cup in 2017.
In association with the challenge, Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing have established a charitable foundation, the 1851 Trust, to use the inspiration of this flagship sporting event to showcase the technical know-how and engineering excellence required to win and inspire young people to become innovators of the future. The name has caused some confusion, and is under review, but the aims relate closely to our own and the Commission has therefore agreed to support the establishment of a visitor centre and associated educational programme at the team’s headquarters in Portsmouth, with a Special Award. As the challenge gathers momentum it has enormous potential to capture the imagination of the young and bring to life classroom STEM subjects in a real world application at the pinnacle of elite sport. It is a novel and exciting initiative.
An equally exciting development is the formation of a partnership with the BBC World Service to produce a high profile public event showcasing the impact of engineering with three of the world’s greatest engineers, staged on the legacy estate at the V&A. Potentially this could lead to a series and the first event will be held in May 2016.
There has been much activity on the cultural estate as well. Every one of our legacy institutions has a major development project in plan or execution which will help ensure the retention of collective world class status. In the case of institutions for which we retain the freehold, we were delighted that the Royal College of Music was able to purchase the residual lease on Markova House from English National Ballet, to provide much needed additional space adjacent to their existing premises.
Meanwhile negotiations are in hand with the Royal Albert Hall for the acquisition of additional land for an ambitious basement development project. Together with Imperial College’s purchase of the Post Office building from the Science Museum, as reported last year, there can be no doubt that the estate is prospering and continuing to grow: Prince Albert’s extraordinary vision is very much alive.
The 1851 Group of Chairmen and Chief Executives of the Albertopolis institutions continues to meet and exercise influence over future activities and supporting infrastructure such as South Kensington Station. A firm relationship has been established with the Exhibition Road Cultural Group as the executive body to take ideas forward which will help ensure that our combined vision is realised.
I am greatly encouraged by the genuine will to work together for the benefit of the estate as a whole.
I hope these selected highlights of another busy and successful year provide evidence of the Commission’s continuing relevance and success. I would like to end by thanking all of the Commissioners, Committee Members and the Commission's very loyal small staff for their hard
Much effort continues to be devoted to raising awareness of the Commission’s existence in order to attract the very best to its award programmes. The fall in the number of applications for Industrial Fellowships from smaller companies, who arguably have the most to gain from these awards, suggests there is still work to be done. We continue to work with our media consultants, Proof Communication, to raise awareness of these Fellowships and held a seminar in October, attended by representatives from industry and academia to discuss more effective ways of doing so. Some good ideas were advanced and we hope for better engagement with industry in particular in the future and look forward to more entries next year.
The new look website launched last year has proved an outstanding success and continues to improve as more information is added. Through the efforts of the Archivist, we are now in contact with over 700 Alumni, a number that continues to grow and it is always a delight to hear from them. Some of their achievements are reported in later pages: an endorsement, if one was needed, of the foresight and intuition of our selection committees over the years. The reports from those fellows in their final year suggest that this is a continuing success story. I hope you enjoy reading about them.
The Commission’s aim is to ‘make a difference’ by providing educational fellowships and studentships to the very best early career scientists, engineers and designers. Success is hard to measure within the confines of a single year, but looked at over the longer term the Commission’s achievement is evident, with 13 Nobel Prize winners and over 150 Fellows of the Royal Society among its previous award winners. The case studies of completing fellows and summaries of alumni achievements later in this report also bear witness to the Commission’s success.
In addition to its core fellowship schemes, the Commission also provides special awards to its legacy institutions and to other organisations working to encourage STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. Details of some of these awards and the impact they have made can also be found later in this report.
The Commission was originally established by Royal Charter in 1850 under the Presidency of Prince Albert, to organise and stage the Great Exhibition. Held in the spectacular Crystal Palace, constructed in Hyde Park, it was the first ever World Fair, and the most successful. With over 6 million visitors, it also made a substantial profit.
Consolidated by Supplemental Charter, and enjoined to invest the surplus from the Great Exhibition strictly in accordance with the ends of the Exhibition...[to] increase the means of industrial education and extend the influence of science and art upon productive industry the Commission purchased 87 acres of land in South Kensington and helped establish its three great museums, the Royal Albert Hall and renowned institutions of learning, including Imperial College and the Royal Colleges of Art and Music.
When this huge undertaking was complete, there remained sufficient funds for the Commission to initiate, in 1891, a programme of fellowships and studentships to support pure research in science and engineering, applied research in industry, industrial design and other projects.
The Commission continues its work to this day, both managing its freehold estate and awarding around £2.4m a year in research fellowships, design studentships and other grants. The provision of long leases to the legacy colleges and the Royal Albert Hall also make a very substantial contribution to scientific, engineering and artistic education.
The Royal Commission ensures that its work is for the public benefit and takes full account of the published Charity Commission guidance. The Royal Commission’s grant giving and awards programmes and support of the legacy institutions represent identifiable benefits and are available to all eligible members of the public. They satisfy the primary charitable purpose of the advancement of education.
The Commission pursues its charitable purposes through the award of grants to individuals and organisations. The Commission awards grants under a number of defined programmes. Full details of the terms and conditions for each programme, including application forms and deadlines where appropriate, are provided on the Commission’s website. A brief summary of the major programmes
which the Commission supports is provided below:
Schemes administered by the Commission:
Post-doctoral Research Fellowships in Science or Engineering These are intended to give early career scientists or engineers of exceptional promise the opportunity to conduct a research project of their own instigation; an ultimate objective is to contribute to the knowledge base required for a healthy and innovative national culture. Up to nine awards are made each year, including the Brunel Fellowship for the highest placed successful candidate who has proposed a project to be pursued in an academic engineering environment. The awards are for a duration of up to three years, subject to annual review and encompass an annual stipend and some support for travel and other expenses.