Aren’t you a bit small to be an engineer?

When I first tell people what my job is, there are a number of responses I am likely to receive, mostly surprise or a slight hint of confusion.  One of the most memorable was someone who looked at me, looked at me again and then asked, “aren’t you a bit small to be an engineer?”.  The response just goes to show how little people know about engineering, and the preconceptions that can deter people from entering a fantastically varied and rewarding career.  The closest response I get to people knowing what I do is, “A civil engineer? What, like bridges and stuff?”

Perhaps it’s time to shed a bit more light on what I do as a civil engineer. If I’m honest, I’m still learning too!

John Collins: An interview with an Ambassador


QEPrize Ambassador John Collins talks to us about his achievements and challenges in civil engineering, and what it takes to get you to your goals.

I am responsible for…

Fixing bridges! More broadly, I am a civil engineer with Arup, working on bridges and other large structures to make sure they stay safe.

Civil engineers design, construct and manage our essential infrastructure, including transport, power, water and communications systems.

Create the Trophy 2017: Meet the Judges


With just over a month left to submit your entries for this year’s Create the Trophy competition, we hear the inner thoughts from our expert panel of judges.

Returning this year as Chairman of the Judging Panel is Director of the Science Museum Group, Ian Blatchford. Ian was unable to join us for the interview, but is excited to see the designs that this year will bring. “With submissions accepted for the first time from a worldwide audience, competition will be fierce! I look forward to seeing entrants rise to the challenge of capturing the heart of engineering in their designs,” he said.

Giveaway: Bare Conductive Electric Paint!


It’s time for our first December giveaway: Bare Conductive Electric Paint! It’s just like any other water-based paint, except that it conducts electricity. This means that you can paint wires or sensors directly onto almost any material around you, including paper, wood, plastic and glass. The perfect excuse to get creative!

To be in with a chance of winning:

A big thank you from the QEPrize!


2016 is drawing to a close, and so is the current QEPrize cycle! The past two years have seen a fantastic winner in Dr Robert Langer, who was awarded the prize by Her Majesty the Queen in October of last year. Since then, we have been recognised around the world, and have reached more than 1.25 billion people worldwide.

Acting as role models for engineering, our Global Engineering Ambassadors play a vital role in the growing international recognition of the QEPrize. So this month, we want to say thank you! Throughout December, we are bringing you the stories of some of our engineering ambassadors and introducing you to the people behind some of the most exciting innovations around.

Speeding up chemical reactions with directed evolution


I never thought I would end up in a school like Caltech pursing a PhD in chemical engineering. When I was young, I wanted to become a medical doctor so that I could help people. It wasn’t until my last year of high school, when I started seriously considering my career path, that I realized all of the people I most wanted to be like were engineers. This realization spurred my decision to go into engineering, because I believed it would best allow me to solve complex problems and contribute to society in a meaningful way.

Star-shaped devices to treat infectious diseases


“Drugs don’t work if people don’t take them!” These were the words of former Surgeon General of the United States, Charles E. Coop. It is also the truth, and it makes sense. According to the World Health Organisation, a shocking 50% of people do not take their medication as prescribed. This could be because people forget, they fear the side effects, or they simply don’t have the resources to pay for the treatment. The consequences of non-compliance are a prolonged period of infectiousness, drug resistance, and even death.

Bai-step: Intelligent insoles


You may not think they are the answer to your medical woes, but your footsteps can reveal a lot about you. As they strike the ground, your feet carry the weight of your body forwards, keeping you balanced and mobile. An incorrect footfall or poor gait can go undetected for years, but over time can lead to serious back, knee and ankle injuries.

With this in mind, we wanted to find a way to measure how different people’s weight is transferred through their feet, preventing injury and even helping patients rehabilitate. Our solution? Intelligent insoles.