Covid innovation heroes celebrated by High Sheriff of Oxfordshire with Oxford Trust Awards

Covid Innovation Award.Oxford.Biomedica

Five organisations have been celebrated for their global pandemic work with The Oxford Trust’s Covid Innovation Heroes Award­ 2021, part of the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire’s Covid Heroes programme.

The Awards recognise the role that Oxfordshire has played, and continues to play, nationally and internationally in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and celebrate the outstanding innovation contributions towards addressing the challenges brought by the pandemic.

The award recipients were Oxfordshire-based companies and organisations that have risen to the challenge of the pandemic and carried out extraordinary work that has been recognised the world over.

The Awards were selected by the boards of The Oxford Trust and Venturefest Oxford, sponsored by Barclays, and presented by the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, Imam Monawar Hussain DL MBE FRSA, at Venturefest Oxford, held at Harwell Science & Innovation Campus, on Thursday 25th November 2021.

The recipients were: Our World in Data, the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, Oxford Biomedica, OxVent and Oxford Nanopore Technologies.

The Award categories and recipients were:

Outstanding Contribution to Public Understanding
Our World in Data
For helping people across the world see, and more importantly understand, critical pandemic data.
Award received by: Dr Max Roser, Founder, Our World in Data & Director, Oxford Martin Programme on Global Development

Dr Max Roser, founder, Our World in Data said: “We’re really pleased to receive a Covid Innovation Heroes award. Our World in Data has built and maintains the global database on COVID-19 testing and the leading global database on vaccinations. Over the course of the pandemic, it has had more than 150 million users and in 2020 its rate of academic citations was above 15 per day. It’s great that we can do this work in Oxford and be recognised here too.”

Outstanding Technical Leadership: Therapeutic Innovation
The Jenner Institute, University of Oxford
In recognition of the incredible work to develop, pilot, organise clinical trials, scale-up and roll-out, with AstraZeneca, the COVID-19 vaccine in such a short space of time, saving millions of lives across the world.
Award received by: Professor Adrian Hill KBE, Director of the Jenner Institute & Lakshmi Mittal & Family Professor of Vaccinology
Professor Adrian Hill KBE, director of the Jenner Institute said: “The COVID-19 vaccine response provides an excellent illustration of the strong links between academia and industry in the UK, with a vaccine candidate from the Jenner Institute at Oxford moving rapidly to many UK industrial partners in early 2021 and then onto many more manufacturing sites internationally – providing over 2 billion doses for 180 countries.”

Outstanding Technical Leadership: Therapeutic Scale-Up
Oxford Biomedica
In recognition of the amazing work to move the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from pilot to full-scale manufacture in such a short timeframe.
Award received by: Nick Page, Chief Operations Officer, Oxford Biomedica

Nick Page, chief operations officer said: “We are delighted to be recognised as Covid Innovation Heroes. This award celebrates the exceptional efforts of the whole Oxford Biomedica team. Thanks to their tireless efforts and huge personal commitment, we have made tens of millions of doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine – saving thousands of lives.”

Outstanding Technical Leadership: Medical Engineering
OxVent Ltd
In recognition of the outstanding collaboration between Oxford University and King’s College London to design, develop and manufacture a low-cost ventilator.
Award received by: Dr Peter Philips, CEO, OxVent Ltd & Prof. Mark Thompson, University of Oxford, Founder & Chairman, OxVent Ltd

Dr Peter Philips, chief executive officer, OxVent Ltd said: “We are honoured that The Oxford Trust and the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire have recognised the OxVent design and development team in making a particularly neat and efficient ventilator at a time of great national need. The award also emphasises the value of what the company and its team are currently achieving in the final phase of ISO 13485 certification, commissioning our manufacturing facility, building regulatory filings and continuing product innovation.”

Outstanding Technical Leadership: Virus Surveillance
Oxford Nanopore Technologies
In recognition of Oxford Nanopore Technologies’ incredible work in the development and implementation of their rapid sequencing technologies for local and international surveillance of the COVID-19 virus to inform public health decision-making.
Award received by: Gordon Sanghera, CEO, Oxford Nanopore Technologies

Gordon Sanghera, chief executive officer, Oxford Nanopore Technologies said: “The response from the scientific community to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a phenomenal and continued effort. It has been a privilege to support scientists around the world as they’ve implemented nanopore sequencing for local and international surveillance of the virus, to inform public health decision making. I hope the expertise gained through establishing these distributed surveillance networks have as much of an impact in future disease outbreaks as it has during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Imam Monawar Hussain, the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire said: “A focus of my time as High Sheriff of Oxfordshire is to honour those that have played an important role in the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are here to celebrate some outstanding innovation contributions in the fight against COVID-19 – our Covid Innovation Heroes.

“These Awards are being presented to individuals but represent the work of the teams that have come together in different ways to help save millions of lives.

“We thank you all for your incredible endeavours. You have shown us hope and heroism.

“We are proud that all this amazing work has gone on in Oxford and has been recognised the world over.”

John Boyle, chair, The Oxford Trust said: “The Oxford Trust Awards are an annual highlight and a real showcase for innovation in our region.

“We wanted this year’s awards to recognise these five outstanding, innovative contributions in addressing the challenges brought about by the pandemic from first-class data and the development of low-cost medical ventilator to COVID-19 vaccine surveillance, development, and manufacture.

“As a result, our region has had its profile raised as one of the most significant centres for science-based research and enterprise in the UK, and globally. Congratulations to our amazing award recipients and their incredible work.”.

Gary Harris, Barclays director of high growth and entrepreneurs, Oxford, said: “Barclays is proud to sponsor these prestigious awards which are a celebration of the recipient’s exceptional innovation, leadership and heroism shown during the pandemic.

“It’s been a difficult time for many, which is why it’s more important than ever to recognise and acknowledge the incredible achievements of these organisations and the societal impact they’ve made in Oxfordshire, the UK and globally.

“Many congratulations go to all those involved and we wish them every success in their future endeavours.”

The Oxford Trust, established by Oxford’s first true entrepreneurs Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood in 1985, has been a part of the local innovation ecosystem for the past thirty-six years and helped establish Venturefest Oxford 18 years ago and The Oxford Trust Awards in 2005.