Lord Paul Drayson
Lord Paul Drayson, who will give the keynote speech at the 2016 Cotswold Life Engineering Manufacturing Innovation (EMI) Awards being held at Cheltenham Racecourse on September 22, took a BSc (Hons) degree in Production Engineering, before studying for a PhD in robotics, which sparked a lifelong career as a science entrepreneur. He has developed successful businesses in food manufacturing bioscience, and motorsport research and development.
In 1993 he co-founded, with his wife Elspeth, PowderJect Pharmaceuticals Plc, which floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1997. Becoming one of the world’ leading vaccine companies, it was acquired for £540 million in 2003 by a US company. In 2007 he co-founded Drayson Racing Technologies, a motorsport research and development businesses, which focuses on environmentally sustainable technology.
“Through science and engineering I discovered the complexity and beauty of the world. When I did my PhD I also discovered that I loved being my own boss.”
Drayson Racing Technologies was founded in 2007. A motorsport research and development business, it focuses on environmentally sustainable technology and has achieved a number of firsts in the emerging field of e-racing, including pioneering wireless charging.
Most recently he established Drayson Technologies Limited, developing wireless charging technology and machine learning software to create smart sensor networks.
The company has developed Freevolt, a patented, pioneering new technology that provides power for low energy Internet of Things by harvesting radio frequency energy from wireless and broadcast networks such as 2G, 3G, 4G, WiFi and Digital TV.
Alongside his career in engineering, Lord Drayson served in the Government from 2009-2010, helping steer the UK economy through some of its darkest years after Lehman Brothers, latterly as Minister of State in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Here he was responsible for science and innovation, devising plans to introduce manufacturing tax credits, the Patent Box and the UK’s Catapult programme: a network of world-leading centres transforming the UK’s capability for innovation and drive economic growth.
As one of the few ministers in the Government with relevant business and scientific experience, Lord Drayson was charged with developing policies to support British business.
“I was an entrepreneur businessperson, but politics came to me because something affected me. Never has there been a clearer example than what’s happening in the world now.”
He says that Government doesn’t have enough people from manufacturing in politics. “At the end of the day this country has to pay it’s own way. We have the skills and knowledge and our voices should be heard.
“This is a wonderful world. Choose what you care about and do something about it.”