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£1m 'Nobel prize of engineering' named after the Queen

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Britain will play host to a biennial £1m engineering prize which it's hoped will come to confer the same status as a Nobel award. The cash is being coughed up by British industry and the trophy will be known as "the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering", but recipients can be of any nationality.

The prize will be run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, headed by former BP chief Lord Browne.

Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking of the prize's launch, 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.

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.

Mr Cameron himself studied history, history of art and economics with politics at A-level and then did a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He has only ever worked in politics and public relations.

Lord Browne said: "Too often the engineers behind the most brilliant innovations remain hidden. The Queen Elizabeth Prize aims to change that. It will celebrate, on an international scale, the very best engineering in the world."

Lord Browne holds a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's in business, plus many honorary degrees and awards including the RAE's Prince Philip Medal "for his outstanding contribution to the field of Engineering". However he is not known for any brilliant engineering innovations in particular.

The donors behind the prize trust, and the amount of their donations, are not being disclosed. The RAE says they are "a number of major engineering companies". ®

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