£35,000 prize for scriptwriters in engineering media challenge

12 April 2006: Four leading engineering bodies are offering scriptwriters £35,000 if they feature a fictional engineering character in a positive light on stage, screen, radio or in print.

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), the Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES) and The Royal Academy of Engineering (the Academy) have launched the Engineering Media Challenge to raise the profile of the modern engineer. The competition will be branded under the Academy’s Shape the Future programme.

Gordon Masterton, ICE President, said: “The Engineering Media Challenge is about showing the public that without the work of engineers, modern society would not exist. If a major character in Eastenders, Coronation Street, or Hollyoaks was an engineer, I’m sure we’d attract more young people into our profession.”

Masterton has personally contributed to the prize fund to find the best television drama, radio or theatre play, book, or comic strip featuring a fictional engineering professional. The overall winner will receive £10,000. There will also be 3 category prizes of £8,000 each, and £250 for those who nominate the four winning entries.

Lord Alec Broers, President of the Academy and Chair of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, said: “This year marks the 200th anniversary of Brunel’s birth. It is a time to celebrate what he achieved and how he helped to forge the society in which we live today. The Engineering Media Challenge is all about inspiring tomorrow’s Brunels and using one of the most powerful influencers in their lives – our modern media – to show them just how exciting and stimulating a career in engineering can be.”

The prizes will show how engineering offers exciting opportunities to build a challenging and rewarding career at many different levels, and that engineers are seen as role models to young people.

John Bacon, ICES President, said this about the initiative: “The Institutions have committed to trying to promote to young people, the excitement, variety and stimulating life that a career in the civil and heavy engineering industries can provide. Far too few careers teachers and the like are aware of how challenging and rewarding a life in engineering can be. The Engineering Media Challenge hopes to do for engineering, what "All Creatures Great and Small" did for vets.”

Engineering Media Challenge entries will be judged by panel which includes Baroness Barbara Young, CEO of the Environment Agency, Adam Hart-Davis, broadcaster, Kate Bellingham, President of the Young Engineers, Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, Rector of the Royal College of Art and representatives from the four engineering bodies.

The Engineering Media Challenge will run annually. Nomination forms must be received by 30th August 2006. The first winners will be announced in November 2006. For more information, visit: www.ice.org.uk

Andrew Ives, IMechE President, concluded: “For too long, people have had misconceptions of what an engineer is and does. Remember, without medical engineers, the fictional doctors of ER and Casualty would not be able to save all their patients or without aerospace engineers, Top Gun would be a rather less action-packed movie!”

For more information, contact: Paul O'Grady, ICE Press Office, on: 0207 665 2104 / 07917 215955.

Notes for editors

  1. There will be four prizes: an overarching, pan-engineering prize worth £10,000 and three category prizes relating to Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Civil and Heavy Engineering Surveying, each of which is worth £8,000.
  2. The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is one of the pre-eminent engineering institutions in the world. Established as a learned society in 1818, it has 75,000 members and provides a voice for civil engineering, continuing professional development and promoting best practice throughout the industry.
  3. The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. As a national academy, it provides independent and impartial advice to Government; works to secure the next generation of engineers; and provides a voice for Britain’s engineering community.
  4. Shape the Future was created to help the engineering community improve its efforts to raise awareness of engineering and technology as a stimulating career option and an essential and exciting part of modern Britain.