Organisers of the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering have announced that nominations for the £1 million accolade are now open. The prize is to be awarded on the strength of exceptional advances in engineering and the cash windfall is to be funded by an endowment from a number of engineering companies.
As well as confirming that nominations are now welcome, organisers have also announced the list of judges who are to determine who is the most outstanding candidate. The list, which is comprised of some of the most respected figures from the world of science and engineering includes the likes of Professor Brian Cox in the UK and Professor Calestous Juma in the US.
Lord Browne, the Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize Foundation, explained that the award is needed in order to recognise the enormous contribution engineers have made in "developing the infrastructures of the world's most powerful economies".
"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," he added.
When the creation of the new award was first announced in November 2011, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he hoped that the Queen Elizabeth award would one day command the same respect as Nobel Prizes.
Meanwhile, Imran Khan, the Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering, observed that the prize was a "fantastic way" to raise the profile of engineering, which he suggested was key to stimulating economic growth.
Over the next decade, in fact, the engineering industry will need more than two million new recruits at all levels, joining the 5.6 million already employed by the sector, according to the ten engineering-related UK Sector Skills Councils.
"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," said Lord Browne, adding that the UK's future economic growth depended on this happening.