Queen's award for Oxford exporters

April 26, 1996

Two Oxford companies - one 364 years old, one just 14 years old - have been awarded a Queen's Award for export achievement.

Oxford University Press, found- ed in 1632, has received its second award in five years. Its exports rose from Pounds 65.3 million in 1993 to Pounds 87 million in 1995, despite stiff international competition and recession.

Europe remains OUP's main market, but the publisher, which had a turnover of Pounds 210 million last year, continues to make great strides in North America where it is bigger than the top university presses, including Harvard and Yale.

Equally successful, but on a smaller scale, is Oxford Metrics, founded by Oxford graduate Julian Morris. The firm's annual turnover has shot up from Pounds 750,000 to Pounds 3 million in five years. Ninety per cent of its sales are abroad.

The company makes the Vicon system, first developed by Strathclyde University PhD student Mick Jarret. This allows images produced by synchronised, high-resolution video cameras to be digitised and stored on computer. It has proved useful for surgeons treating children with walking disorders caused by cerebral palsy. Hospitals are Oxford Metrics's major customers, and new markets are in the offing.

Hollywood studios are testing the system for production of Star Wars-style special effects, and video game firms are also interested.

Pete Meddings, Metric's sales and marketing manager, said: "The idea that you could play with Paul Gascoigne running down the wing instead of some anonymous two-dimensional figure is a big plus."

Cambridge University's Institute of Biotechnology won the Queen's Award for technological achievement for its means of separating protein pharmaceuticals.

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