World Wide Web inventor Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee KBE FREng FRS (left) received the first-ever Millennium Technology Prize, worth one million euros (£667,400), from the Finnish Technology Award Foundation on 15 June. The ceremony took place in Helsinki’s Finlandia Hall and Professor William Stewart FREng (right) represented the Royal Academy of Engineering, which nominated Sir Tim for the prize.

“I am delighted that a Fellow of our Academy has received the first award of such a prestigious international prize,” says Sir Alec Broers, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering. “The engineering innovation that is the web has had an amazing impact.”

“Less than 15 years after he first thought of it, the web has connected millions of people all over the world,” says Professor Bill O’Riordan FREng. “We can now work together, trade and manage information in real time and it has opened up a totally new area of commerce through which scores of entrepreneurs have made (and lost) millions literally overnight. Big science is now possible cheaply through instant global collaboration.”

Notes for editors

  1. Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee KBE FREng FRS holds the 3Com Founders Chair at MIT’s Laboratory for Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence and is Director of the World Wide Web Consortium. He is a Fellow of both the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society and is also a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society. He won the Royal Academy of Engineering’s first Whittle Medal in 2001.

    He was born in 1955 and brought up in London, the son of two mathematicians who met while working on the Ferranti Mark I, the first commercially available computer. He learned to enjoy mathematics and developed a fascination for electronics. While an undergraduate at Oxford he built his own computer from an old TV and an M6800 processor. After graduation he worked with Plessey Telecommunications on distributed transaction systems and then with DG Nash on multi-tasking operating systems. He then spent six months as a software consultant at CERN, where he would return later as a Fellow after three years back in the UK as Technical Director of Image Computer Systems, designing real-time communication graphics. See also
  2. Seventy-eight innovators from 22 countries were nominated for the Millennium Technology Prize 2004 in four technological fields: health care and life sciences; communication and information; new materials and processes; and energy and the environment. Berners-Lee’s selection was based on a recommendation by the International Award Selection Committee and made unanimously by the board of the Finnish Technology Award Foundation at a meeting on 14th April.
  3. 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

Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering