The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering is a pioneering new award designed to recognise and encourage innovation in engineering. The £1 million prize, officially launched this month, is international and aims to show how engineering can make a difference to the world.
The initiative is a result of the growing appreciation by business, industry and policy leaders of the need to focus attention on engineering worldwide. According to the official website, the Royal Academy of Engineering will award the Prize, “every other year to an individual or team of up to three people, of any nationality, responsible for advancing the application of engineering knowledge”.
An independent charitable trust, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, has been set up and a number of engineering companies have donated to an endowment fund to provide the prize money. The Royal Academy of Engineering will deliver the Prize on behalf of the trust.
British Prime Minister David Cameron was present at the launch event. During his speech he said, “I am delighted that the Queen has put her name to this prestigious prize, which I hope will carry the same stature as the Nobel Prizes. For too long Britain's economy has been over-reliant on consumer debt and financial services. We want to rebalance the economy so that Britain makes things again - high-skilled high-value manufacturing and engineering should be a central part of our long-term future.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband also supported the Prize: “Just as engineering has helped us meet the big challenges in the past, it will be engineering that helps us meet new challenges.”
The first Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering will be presented in early 2013.
You can read British Prime Minister David Cameron’s full speech here.