The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering will be awarded every other year to an individual or team of up to three, of any nationality, responsible for advancing the application of engineering knowledge. The prize is worth $1.6 million (£1 million).
United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron said he hopes it will carry the same stature as the Nobel Prize. “For too long Britain’s economy has been over-reliant on consumer debt and financial services,” Cameron said.
“I hope this prize will go some way to inspire and excite young people about engineering, so that they dream of becoming engineers as they once did in the age of Stephenson and Brunel.”
The fund behind it will be managed by an independent trust chaired by John Browne, Royal Academy of Engineering president, and former group chief executive of British Petroleum.
Commenting on the prize, Browne said, engineering “underpins every aspect of our lives,” adding that it forms a “bridge between scientific discovery and commercial application.
“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.”
There is a recognized shortfall of qualified engineers in the UK. This scheme is welcome news and it’s hoped it will attract more graduates into the engineering profession.