Government hopes to nurture tomorrow's inventors with competition for schoolchildren featuring Wallace and Gromit

The UK is among the world’s leaders in inventing sustainable technology, research by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) reveals.

Only five other countries can boast a higher number of energy-saving inventions: Japan, China, America, Germany and Korea.

To keep the UK in the top league, the IPO has launched a competition to encourage children aged 9-11 to come up with eco-friendly inventions.

The initiative is part of the IPO’s flagship education project for primary schoolchildren, Cracking Ideas 2008, which was launched at the Education Show held in Birmingham’s NEC.

The campaign is backed by Oscar-winning film-maker Aardman, creator of Wallace and Gromit, and uses inspiration from its new film, A Matter of Loaf and Death.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, minister for intellectual property, said: “It's great that this year we are getting children to think about green innovations. The UK is proud of its innovating tradition and our work on energy-saving devices. Cracking Ideas keeps us at the forefront of this vital field.”