External site: Read the Prime Minister’s full speech
The Prime Minister has joined leaders of the other main political parties to lend support to a prestigious new engineering award - the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.
The award - which will celebrate an outstanding advance in engineering that has created significant benefit to humanity- was was launched with support from the engineering industry.
The £1 million Prize will be awarded biennially in the name of Her Majesty The Queen to an individual or team of up to three people, of any nationality, directly responsible for advancing the application of engineering knowledge.
As well as recognising and celebrating the best, the Prize will provide an unparalleled opportunity to demonstrate how engineers and engineering are making a real difference across the world.
A number of major engineering companies have donated to an endowment fund, which is being managed by an independent charitable trust, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, chaired by Lord Browne of Madingley FREng FRS. The Royal Academy of Engineering will deliver the Prize on behalf of the trust.
Speaking at the launch event ahead of an engineering visit to McLaren, The Prime Minister 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 and I want to thank the Royal Academy of Engineering and the prize sponsors for making this happen
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. 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 Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, said:
This Prize flies in the face of the myth that engineering is a part of Britain’s past. It’s true that we have a proud record - a nation historically at the forefront of scientific breakthroughs and the vanguard of design. But engineering is just as much a part of our future - at the heart of a new economy driven by invention and innovation. The Queen Elizabeth Prize will draw the eyes of the engineering world to Britain. We are bringing engineering home’.
The Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Opposition, said:
Britain has been home to some of the world’s great engineering feats, from the Iron Bridge in Telford to British involvement in mapping the human genome. But we now face huge global challenges in the future ranging from climate change and famine to an ageing population in the West. Just as engineering has helped us meet the big challenges in the past, it will be engineering that helps us meet these new challenges.