It is designed to raise the profile of engineering and the recipients can be of any nationality
A £1m prize – named after the Queen – is to be awarded for exceptional advances in engineering.
The prize, funded by an endowment from a number of engineering companies, will be awarded biannually to an individual or team of up to three people.
It is designed to raise the profile of engineering and the recipients can be of any nationality.
The Queen Elizabeth Engineering Prize was officially launched at London’s Science Museum on Thursday.
It was attended by the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition, to show cross-party support.
The fund behind it will be managed by an independent trust that is chaired by Lord Browne, president of the Royal Academy of Enginering and a former chief executive of BP.
But the award organisers will not disclose how much money they have raised, saying only that they have received long-term commitments.
Commenting on the prize, Lord Browne said engineering “underpins every aspect of our lives”, adding that it forms a “bridge between scientific discovery and commercial application”.
He added: “Too often the engineers behind the most brilliant innovations remain hidden. The Queen Elizabeth Prize aims to change that. It will celebrate, on an international scale, the very best engineering in the world.”
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, commented: “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.”
According to campaigners Engineering UK, there are upwards of 550,000 engineering companies in the country, but they are facing a major shortfall in the workforce.
This shortfall of engineers is estimated to reach about 600,000 by 2017, they say.
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