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Inventor Dr John C Taylor OBE donates £2.5m for Cambridge Professorship of Innovation

One of the world’s most successful inventors – with over 400 patents to his name – best known for his bi-metal kettle controls used in two billion devices worldwide, is yet again turning his attention to philanthropy at his alma mater, the University of Cambridge

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Dr John C Taylor OBE is donating £2.5 million to Cambridge University to set up the Professorship of Innovation, a prestigious new chair at the world-leading Department of Engineering.

He said, “I wish to celebrate British ingenuity and inventiveness.  It’s essential to develop inventions into production for the benefit of the creator while generating local employment through manufacturing growth.

“Too little is discussed these days about business financial freedom and job creation while too much attention is paid to venture capitalist business models, which can leave an inventor with little ownership.  One of my proudest achievements in business is that I never borrowed a penny from anyone.  This is because I always focussed on cash flow and used the revenue from manufacturing to fund innovation.

“I very much look forward to being invited to talk on this subject and spread the message of practical manufacturing throughout the engineering community.”

In 2008, Dr John C Taylor (Corpus 1956) created and donated to his former college the popular Corpus Chronophage Clock, positioned outside the Taylor Library at Corpus, which has now become one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.

The new professorship, which has been endowed in perpetuity, will combine teaching and research to ensure young engineers combine innovation with practicality when approaching design.

Professor David Cardwell, Head of the Department of Engineering, said: “We are extremely grateful for this generous benefaction from Dr John C Taylor and honoured that this professorship will not only bear the name of such a distinguished inventor and engineer, but will help future generations to follow in his footsteps.”

John C Taylor is a long-standing donor to Collegiate Cambridge, supporting numerous initiatives.  In 2009 he was given the Chancellor’s 800th Anniversary Medal for outstanding philanthropy, presented by HRH Duke of Edinburgh.  He has donated to climate change research at Durham University and is a benefactor to the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), for the Strix Centre at UMIST’s Centre for Manufacture.

Cambridge launched its £2 billion Dear World… Yours, Cambridge philanthropic campaign for the University and Colleges in October 2015.  It has just celebrated its most successful fundraising year ever, raising more than £210 million including Dr John C Taylor’s gift.

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Related subjects: Innovation