Inventor donates £2.5m for new innovation role at Cambridge

image captionDr Taylor said there is "no shortage of dynamic creativity" in Britain

The inventor of a device used by people every day around the world has donated £2.5m to help others "realise their blue-sky-thinking".

Dr John Taylor OBE, who developed the kettle thermostat, has donated £2.5m funding to the University of Cambridge.

It will pay for a Professor of Innovation to link up the engineering and manufacturing departments.

Dr Taylor said: "In the British Isles we struggle to transform blue-sky-thinking into practical industry".

A university spokesman said Dr Tim Minshall would work in the new role and would "lead the engineers and inventors of tomorrow to see their ideas become reality and change the world".

image captionDr Taylor's thermostat switches a kettle off when it reaches boiling point

Dr Taylor said: "We already have a world-class engineering department at the university and I would like to see this exceptional creativity get to the next stage of commercial development.

"In this way we can boost Britain's wealth, employment and security."

Dr Taylor, who comes from a long line of inventors and entrepreneurs, said his grandfather and father taught him that creativity should have a practical application.

image captionThe Dragon Chronophage clock is a fully functioning mechanical timepiece protected by six patents

"I was always taught that innovation is the ability to invent something, get it into production and then sell it," he said.

"I was also taught never to borrow money. Only once you have an income stream should you expand the company.

"I learnt very early that one should go into business to generate cash and employment for others. You should not go into business to make a profit. That sense of responsibility tends to get lost these days."

Dr Taylor, who lives on the Isle of Man, attended Corpus Christi College at the University of Cambridge in the 1950s after overcoming some major learning difficulties.

image captionThe University of Cambridge said Dr Dr Minshall's appointment will help inventors "change the world"

"As a child I was totally dyslexic, I was practically illiterate. I couldn't even spell the name of my own school," he said.

"When I heard I had been accepted into the University of Cambridge as a young man I nearly fell off my stool. I think my parents did too".

Dr Taylor now has more than 400 patents to his name. He also designed and engineered the inside-out Chronophage or "time-eater" clock which recently went on sale in China with a £3m price tag.

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