A nationwide search has been launched to find the next generation of engineering stars in the UK. The Future of Engineering competition is being run by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Entrepreneur First, and it aims to discover and promote the best of the UK’s up-and-coming leaders in engineering.
With a focus on emerging talent, the competition is open to student engineers, PhD candidates and junior engineers working in the industry (applicants do not necessarily have to be reading an engineering-related subject). To enter, all applicants need to do is visit the Future of Engineering microsite, and submit information about their background. They’ll then be asked to provide information on what they hope to achieve in the engineering field and how they plan on using their knowledge and skills to create a product or business that will have a profound and positive global impact.
Future of Engineering microsite - apply now
The winner will receive a cash prize of £10,000 to put towards the development of their business or idea, while the runner up will receive £5,000. In addition to the prize money, both finalists will be given mentoring and advice from some of the most senior and widely respected members of the UK’s engineering community to fast track their ideas from concept to reality.
The closing date for the competition is 31 March 2017. Once all the applications are in and the competition is closed, they will be narrowed down to a shortlist of 10 by the panel and will be invited to take part in a tailored workshop on how to develop their ideas. Led by Suranga Chandratillake FREng, General Partner of Balderton Capital, and Wendy Tan White, General Partner, Entrepreneur First, the panel will also include Eric Yeatman, Head of Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Imperial College London and Elspeth Finch, Founder of Indigo and and Enterprise Hub Mentor.
The competition will culminate in early spring 2017 with a closing ceremony taking place in London at the Royal Academy of Engineering. The event will include keynote speeches and pitching, and all of the shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend the gala reception in the evening with their friends and family, where the two finalists - the overall competition winner and the runner up - will be announced.
The Academy has also created a guide to help young entrepreneurs understand the process of taking an idea through from concept to the beginning of a business, which has been produced in partnership with Entrepreneur First and Beauhurst, who provide an overview of business funding opportunities.
Entrepreneur First invests in technically talented individuals pre-team, pre-idea and creates startups from scratch. Since 2011, it has worked with 450 individuals to build over 100 startups that are now valued in excess of $500m. Creating this competition was a natural evolution in terms of looking to tap into the next generation of UK talent.
“The UK is home to an exceptional pool of engineering talent with real leadership potential,” said Zoe Jervier, Global Head of Talent, Entrepreneur First. “Our aim through this programme is to stretch the aspirations of individuals already demonstrating engineering excellence and who want to make a much larger impact through technology".
The Enterprise Hub at the Royal Academy of Engineering harnesses the expertise, insight and networks of Academy Fellows, who include some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders, to support the country’s most promising entrepreneurs in all areas of engineering and in all parts of the UK.
Commenting on the competition Suranga Chandratillake, General Partner of Balderton Capital, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and recipient of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Silver Medal in 2012 said:
“The UK’s heritage as an engineering nation is well documented, and we believe that there are plenty of young, aspiring engineers throughout the country who have the ability to continue this long and proud tradition. Through the 'Future of Engineering' competition, we will discover inspirational and innovative young people, whose ideas have the potential to make the world a better place.”
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Notes for editors
Entrepreneur First was founded by Matt Clifford and Alice Bentinck to help top technical talent build world-class tech startups in London. It is the only seed investment programme in the world to accept candidates pre-team, pre-idea with individuals selected purely on the basis of their technical ability or domain expertise. As well as pre-seed funding, the full-time, six month programme provides individuals with mentoring and advice from the Entrepreneur First team and some of the world’s top entrepreneurs, as well as office space and legal and administrative support, so that each cohort has the best possible environment to meet potential co-founders and launch their startups.The programme has so far helped 300 people to build over 75 companies who have been funded by some of the world’s leading venture investors, including Balderton Capital, Index Ventures; Notion Capital, Octopus Investments and Y Combinator.
The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Hub is a national resource for the UK’s most promising engineering entrepreneurs. The Hub forms part of the Academy’s commitment to stimulate excellence and promote creativity and innovation in engineering. The Hub does this by making awards to exemplars of excellence and innovation in engineering who will be the founders and leaders of tomorrow’s high-tech companies. The awards include provision of money-can’t-buy bespoke support and one-to-one mentoring from its Fellowship, which comprises many of the country’s most successful engineers from across academia and industry, including prominent entrepreneurs and business leaders such as Mike Lynch OBE FREng, Sir Robin Saxby FREng, Anne Glover CBE HonFREng and Ian Shott CBE FREng.
Suranga Chandratillake FREng joined Balderton as a General Partner in 2014, and was previously an engineer and entrepreneur. He founded blinkx, the intelligent search engine for video and audio content, in 2004 and led it as CEO for eight years – taking it public in 2007. He is widely regarded as an expert on the convergence of the web, television and online advertising. Before his work with Blinkx, Suranga was US Chief Technology Officer of Autonomy where he was mentored by Mike Lynch, and led the effort to enable Autonomy’s software to work in highly distributed environments. An accomplished and respected speaker and commentator on the overlap between technology and media, Suranga has been elected by the World Economic Forum as one of its Young Global Leaders. He was also included in the Top 10 leaders in Science and Innovation by The Observer’s Future 500 list, and was a recipient of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Silver Medal in 2012.
Beauhurst provides data and insight on the UK’s ambitious startups and high-growth companies. Founded in 2010, its London-based research team tracks some of Britain’s brightest businesses, including their people, activity, transactions and investors. This information is accessed through an online platform, used by leading professionals in sectors including financial services, law, government and higher education. beauhurst.com