Lord Browne: “The UK needs 2 million more engineers over the next decade to help grow the UK economy and maintain competitiveness in a global environment”

The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation chairman, Lord Browne of Madingley, today hailed the importance of engineering in re-energising the UK economy as the judging panel for the inaugural prize was unveiled and the call made for nominations from across the world.

A message of support from Her Majesty The Queen is as follows:

“Over the past 60 years, I have had the privilege of seeing how engineering developments can make a profound impact on people’s lives. I am delighted to lend my support to this prize and I hope that it inspires many more people across the globe to develop life changing engineering creations in the years to come.” Elizabeth R

The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering – which is supported by the three main UK political parties and delivered by the Royal Academy of Engineering - is a new £1 million global award which celebrates the greatest international engineering achievements that benefit humanity. The judging panel is made up of some of the biggest names in science and engineering from around the world, including Professor Lynne Gladden and Professor Brian Cox in the UK, Professor Calestous Juma in the USA and Narayana Murthy in India.

“Engineering has played an integral part in developing the infrastructures of the world’s most powerful economies, including our own,” commented Academy Past President Lord Browne. “It is absolutely critical that we as a nation make it our mission to inspire and excite the next generation of engineers. It is only through engineering that ideas are brought out of the lab and into the marketplace.”

Engineering makes up 20% of the UK’s economy, down from 34% in 1990. British engineering produces some of the most exciting, cutting- edge materials and products in the world, but now faces serious challenges in competing internationally. The ten engineering-related UK Sector Skills Councils estimate that the engineering industry will need over 2 million new recruits at all levels in the next decade to join the 5.6 million already employed by the sector. Compare the 500,000 engineering graduates coming out of India and China every year with the 25,000 being produced in the UK. That has to change if British engineering is to stay at the top.

“Engineering will illuminate our lives over the course of the 21st century,” added Lord Browne. “We need a healthy pipeline of talented, skilled and enthusiastic people to continue our proud tradition as an engineering nation. We must also give our students and young people a greater incentive to choose engineering as a career than is currently on offer. Our future economic prosperity depends on it and I am confident that this prize will help to achieve that objective.”

Professor Brian Cox said: “Engineering is hardwired into us. From the earliest times, people have worked to shape the world around them and improve their lives through engineering. The benefits are obvious and the impact incalculable. Everything we take for granted, from medicine to telecommunications, from computing to aviation, owes its very existence to engineers.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“This magnificent new prize is a chance to celebrate our great pioneers and those committed to change our world for the better.

The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering will mark a new pinnacle of achievement and excellence in its field and will encourage boundaries to be pushed and open minds to new possibilities.

It will inspire a new generation of young people to invest their futures in engineering and put them at the heart of the modern, global economy.”

For more information visit  www.qeprize.org

Judges

Prof Frances Arnold, Chemical Engineer, Professor at Caltech, USA

Lord Alec Broers FREng Hon FMedSci FRS (Chair), Electrical Engineer. Past President, Royal Academy of Engineering, UK

Prof Brian Cox OBE, Particle Physicist. Royal Society Research Fellow, University of Manchester, UK

Prof Lynn Gladden, CBE FREng FRS Chemical Engineer. Professor at University of Cambridge, UK

Diane Greene, Director of Intuit, Director of Google, USA

Prof Calestous Juma, HonFREng FRS, Professor of International Development and Director of Science, Tech and Globalisation Project, Harvard University, USA

Prof Hiroshi Komiyama, Chemical Engineer President Engineering Academy of Japan

Prof John Hennessy, Electrical Engineer. President, Stanford University, USA

Prof Dr. h.c. Reinhard Hüttl, President, acatech, Germany

Nathan Mhyrvold, Co-founder, Intellectual Ventures, USA

Narayana Murthy, Electronic Engineer. Founder, Infosys, India

Prof Choon Fong Shih, Mechanical Engineer. President, King Abdullah

University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia

Dr Charles Vest FREng Mechanical Engineer. President, National Academy of Engineering, USA

Paul Westbury FREng, Civil Engineer. CEO, Buro Happold, UK
 

Donors supporting the prize foundation:

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, Tata Steel and Toshiba.

Judges’ comments:

Lord Alec Broers, Chair of the Judging Panel. Past President, Royal Academy of Engineering: "We have been fortunate in being able to draw together from around the world an amazingly distinguished group of panellists to judge this uniquely important prize, all of them household names in the world of engineering and science, and many of them leaders of internationally pre-eminent institutions and Academies."

Prof Frances Arnold, Chemical Engineer. Professor at Caltech, USA: "This unique prize recognizes the intellectual excitement and huge social importance of engineering. I can think of no better career for a young person at this critical time, and no better way to advertise this fact to the world."

Prof Brian Cox, Particle Physicist. Research Fellow University of Manchester, UK: “Engineering is hardwired into us. From the earliest times, people have worked to shape the world around them and improve their lives through engineering. The benefits are obvious and the impact incalculable. Everything we take for granted, from medicine to telecommunications, from computing to aviation, owes its very existence to engineers. It is obvious to me that the symbiotic relationship between science and engineering will define the future of the global economy, and on a wider scale, the future of our civilisation, just as it defined our past”

Diane Greene, Director of Intuit, Director of Google, USA: "The Queen's Prize will focus attention on how applied technology is solving our world's major problems. The prize can make engineering more relevant and exciting for all of us and, most importantly, for girls and boys considering their career plans to see engineering as one of the most effective ways to make the world better. "

Prof Dr. h.c. Reinhard Hüttl, President of acatech: “The German National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech) enthusiastically appreciates the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering which provides an environment similar to the Nobel Prize. This is an excellent and most timely effort to support the innovation process on which our future depends.”

Prof Calestous Juma International Development Expert. Harvard University, USA: “The Queen Elizabeth Prize is what the world has been waiting for since the days of George Stephenson (and his steam engine). It will help inspire a new generation of young people focused on finding practical solutions to global challenges.”

Narayana Murthy, Electronic Engineer. Founder, Infosys, India: “The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering is a wonderful recognition for modern engineers and their path-breaking achievements. As an engineer, I consider it a great honor to be part of the panel of juries for this prestigious award.”

Prof Choon Fong Shih, President, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia: “This prize will further the global appreciation and standing of engineering. The benefits which engineers can bring to societies across continents are immense, and it is so important that we broaden awareness and recognition of great work taking place today.”

Dr Charles Vest, Mechanical Engineer. President, National Academy of Engineering, USA: “The Queen Elizabeth Prize is an extraordinary and timely recognition of the role of engineering in modern society. Engineers and their work are essential to our economic vitality, health, security, and quality of life as we face the challenges of the 21st century on a planet with finite resources and a population approaching nine billion. Engineering innovation and entrepreneurship create jobs and opportunity.”

Notes for editors

About The Royal Academy of Engineering

Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

For interviews, b-roll and stills requests please contact: QE Prize Media

Edelman

Toby Doman +44 (0)20 3047 2212
Emily Dimmock +44 (0)20 3047 2076