Science & Environment

Inventions and inventors rising in recession-hit UK

Light bulb patent application
Image caption Some ideas are notably brighter than others

Britons have risen to the economic challenges of recent recession by becoming more prolific inventors, a random survey of 2,000 Britons shows.

A third of respondents claimed that the recession has increased the amount they were coming up with inventions and innovative, money-saving solutions.

A third of those with a bright idea were learning more about science and technology to help refine it.

One in 10 had looked into or applied for a patent in the last year.

"This research shows the recession has sparked a real 'can do' attitude amongst ordinary people of all ages who are looking to make some extra cash - and it's amazing to see that, as a nation, we are turning to science and engineering to make the impossible possible," said Dragon's Den success and first "inventor-in-residence" at London's Science Museum Mark Champkins.

"Breakthroughs using science and technology hold the key to not only transforming individuals' lives but the state of our country's future economic growth."

The survey, commissioned by the Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair, found that young people were part of the boom as well; 5% of survey respondents aged 11 to 18 had looked into or applied for a patent in the last year.

It is those young inventors that are of greatest interest to Big Bang fair; organisers are encouraging young inventors and technologists to put forward their ideas in the National Science and Engineering Competition.

"With a chance to compete for top prizes worth over £50,000, it's the perfect incentive to test, stretch and expand young minds," said Mr Champkins.

"That 'light bulb moment' could see them crowned 'UK Young Engineer of the Year' or 'UK Young Scientist of the Year'."

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