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Dyson says public to fickle to fund inventions

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: April 01, 2014

James Dyson has launched his tenth annual award which challenges engineers to design something that solves a problem and has a £100,000 prize fund

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Wiltshire inventor Sir James Dyson says crowdfunding will not produce the kind of revolutionary designs the world needs because the public want to make a quick buck.

Calling for more funding for engineering research, he said his award produces less glamorous but more ingenious ideas.

Over the last five years more and more businesses have looked for investment from the public with the website Kickstarter reputedly raising £600 million in pledges this month.

But Sir James told the Times: “Crowdfunding fills a gap by providing quick finance to entrepreneurial individuals but people tend to plough money into developing video games or fancy apps rather than support revolutionary new technologies.

“People are less likely to invest in a highly engineered device for capturing wave energy or a digital monitor that powers hand dryers. Less glamorous ideas that are big in their impact often get overlooked.”

He was speaking after the launch of the tenth annual James Dyson award which challenges engineers to design something that solves a problem and has a £100,000 prize fund.

“Many of the entries we receive every year aren’t glamorous but are tangible and ingenious in the problems they solve, often not on a huge scale,” said the inventor.

But last year former Dyson designer Phil Bommer used crowdfunding to continue his work when he re-invented the corkscrew.

After two years of intense product development and 2,000 designs, the 43-year-old raised £7,000 on Kickstarter within two days.

The part-time lecturer at the University of the West of England and visiting tutor at the Royal College Art said his time at the “University of Dyson” was inspirational and taught him about taking risks.

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  • StanStill  |  April 01 2014, 5:12PM

    People remember Dyson as the man who took millions from HMG for R &D, then sacked(he uses the word redundant)300 workers in Wiltshire and bogged off to Malaysia to make a quick buck. Double standards Dyson. He should have been made to pay those sacked benefits until they found jobs.