Glencoe Software, a leading provider of image data management tools for life science and biopharmaceutical research and a member of the Open Microscopy Environment Consortium is proud that its founder Professor Jason and the whole OME Team have been named this year’s BBSRC Innovator of the Year. The BBSRC is the United Kingdom’s primary funder of academic research and training in the non-clinical life sciences, and along with the Wellcome Trust, a major funder of research and development undertaken by the OME Team. The Innovator of the Year Award recognizes individual and institutional commitment to realising the social and economic potential of excellent research.
The judges’ view was that the impact of OME was of remarkably wide benefit due to the flexibility and openness of the approach. The business model is very clever and allows for open source software development - as in, for example, Linux, Java, Mozilla’s Firefox - and at the same time commercial opportunities are possible by licensing and commercialization of Bio-Formats through Glencoe Software. In this way there are both economic and social impacts from the work.
Prof Swedlow founded OME along with Dr Peter Sorger and Ilya Goldberg in 2000, and has helped direct the project ever since. As an open source, community-led consortium, OME is now the leading provider of software solutions for biological image management. Central to its success has been the development and uptake of OME-TIFF, a standard image format that can be used across a range of different microscopy platforms, Bio-Formats, the world-leading library for accessing image data stored in proprietary file formats, and OMERO, the world leading open source image data management platform.
Prof Swedlow said, “It is a great honour to accept this award. Our vision has always been to create a global standard for imaging software and the community that has grown up around the open source development is extraordinary. In reality I am receiving this award on behalf of a large group of extremely talented people who share a common commitment to innovation through teamwork, collaboration and the process of creating something new and exciting as a community. The support we have received from BBSRC, as well as the Wellcome Trust, during the early stages of the research has been invaluable.”
Professor Swedlow also won the category prize for Social Innovator of the Year. He receives a £10,000 award as Innovator of the Year. He received his two awards from Mr David Willets, UK Minister of State for Universities and Science. Two other category prizes - Commercial Innovator and Most Promising Innovator - were won by Professor Chris Lowe from University of Cambridge and Professor Keith Waldron from the Institute of Food Research respectively, each receiving £5000 prize money.