Press release

The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering: Deputy Prime Minister attends launch

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Deputy Prime Minister today attended the launch of The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering along with David Cameron and Ed Miliband.

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.

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, 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.

Read the full transcript here.

The Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron MP, 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 Leader of the Opposition, the Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, 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.

An international network of high profile figures is being brought together to take the message out to audiences worldwide.

Notes for Editors

1. Prize delivery

The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation has been established to oversee delivery of the prize. The Foundation is chaired by Lord Browne of Madingley whose fellow trustees are Sir John Parker, President of The Royal Academy of Engineering; Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society and Ms Mala Gaonkar, Managing Director of Lone Pine Capital. The Government Chief Scientist, Professor Sir John Beddington, has accepted an invitation to be adviser to the Foundation. The day-to-day running of the prize will be handled by the Royal Academy of Engineering. Ms Anji Hunter has been appointed Director of the Prize.

2. Prize donors

An initial endowment has been established with support from the following companies: BAE Systems, BG Group, BP, GlaxoSmithKline, Jaguar Land Rover, National Grid, Shell, Siemens, Sony, Tata Consultancy Services and Tata Steel.

3. Judging

The trust is appointing an international, expert judging panel, whose names will be announced at the same time as the call for nominations, in February 2012.

4. Next steps

Key milestones include:

  • Appointment of international judging panel - February 2012
  • Call for nominations - February 2012
  • Nominations closed - July 2012
  • Announcement of prize winner - December 2012
  • Major award event - Spring 2013

What next? Over the coming weeks, more details will be provided on all aspects of the prize, culminating in the call for nominations in February 2012. Details will be available on the prize webpages.