£1m 'Nobel prize of engineering' named after the Queen
Blighty plc looks to inject some glory into technology
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". ®
is there a Noble prize for Engineering?
I don't think so.
If you think there is nothing wrong with the state of engineering in Britain then you are in a minority. You might want to consult those with some insight - James Dyson et al.
Perhaps there should be an award for sneering on the sidelines too.
How to bring back Industrial Excellence to Britain.
Reduce the number of "media studies" type degrees.
Change all the "new universities" back to polytechnics.
Change the perception of engineering back to a profession like medicine or teaching.
At it's peak, British engineering excellence wasn't created by academics or managers, but by engineers and technicians.
The status of engineering in the UK and in UK culture is, and always has been, poor. It has never been viewed like the traditional professions: law, medical, military and even church. This puts us at a disadvantage compared to coutries where the reverse is true like Japan, the USA and Germany. Everyone knows this but the decades pass and we are unable to change it.
The "Queen Elizabeth Prize" is a good name. It would be more effective if a member of the royal family could study engineering. Having that splashed on the front of OK! magazine would help the cause moer than 100 prizes.