A. This will be a single prize awarded to one individual, or a team of up to three people, responsible for a ground-breaking advance in engineering which has clearly created significant benefit to humanity.
Q. What is in the scope of ‘engineering’ that the prize could be awarded for?
A. Engineering benefits us in all aspects of life and the boundaries are constantly changing. The prize will reflect this breadth and will include all disciplines and sectors.
The outputs of engineering range from nano-scale devices that get medicines to where they are needed in the body to the world’s biggest – and greenest – buildings; from the pinpoint accuracy of robots that perform heart surgery to the proliferation of ever-faster multiplatform broadband applications; from hi-tech fabrics to make the smart clothes of the future to new, clean and green sources of energy to power the world.
Engineering also promotes the sharing of ideas and information, empowering the desire for freedom, security and a better quality of life.
Q. Who is the prize open to?
A. The prize is international and open to any nationality. Nominations and suggestions are welcomed from across the world. The only limitations are that self-nomination and posthumous nomination are not allowed.
Q. Who is involved in judging?
A. Judging is carried out by an independent international judging panel of distinguished engineers and leaders in their fields. There is a full list of judges, including biographies, on the prize website: www.qeprize.org. Judges will make their recommendation to the trustees of the Queen Elizabeth Prize Foundation and they will announce the winner in spring 2015.
Q. Will there be an award ceremony?
A. A ceremony and gala event will take place in summer 2015.
Q. What is the point of the prize?
A. Perceptions of engineering are often outdated. If people think of it at all, they tend to associate engineering with heavy industry and civil infrastructure. This is not only a limited view of what engineering is really about, it means many young, creative people – especially women – don’t consider a career in engineering. The prize will recognise and celebrate the best and also serve to illuminate the sheer excitement of modern engineering. It will provide an unparalleled opportunity to demonstrate how engineers and engineering are making a real difference across the world. The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering will excite and inspire a whole generation of young people.
Q. How did the prize come about?
A. The prize is the result of a growing realisation within political, business and engineering circles of the need for a pioneering initiative based in the UK to focus attention on engineering worldwide.
Oliver Letwin MP, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office in England, took the lead in turning the idea into reality in 2012, the first requirement being a significant endowment fund to support the creation of a new and independent charitable trust, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation.
Q. How is it funded?
A. An initial endowment has been established with donations from the following companies: BAE Systems, BG Group, BP, GlaxoSmithKline, Jaguar Land Rover, National Grid, Shell, Siemens, Sony, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Steel and Toshiba.
Q. Who is running it?
A. The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, an incorporated charity, has been established so that the prize objectives can be realised and free from external intervention or influence. It is important for the reputation of the UK that the prize is recognised internationally as of the highest standards in every respect.
The QEPrize Foundation is chaired by Lord Browne of Madingley and the other trustees are Sir John Parker, President of The Royal Academy of Engineering; Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, Ms Mala Gaonkar, Managing Director of Lone Pine Capital and Sir John Beddington, Professor of Applied Biology at Imperial College London. Sir Mark Walport, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, is an adviser to the foundation.
The day-to-day running of the prize is handled by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The Director of the prize is Caroline Evans .
Q. What is the mechanism for nomination?
A. Nominations will be open from February 2014 to mid July 2014. Nominations are to be made online via the QEPrize website: www.qeprize.org
Q. The rules and conditions of the prize state that each nomination must be accompanied by two references from ‘suitable referees, who are distinguished people not employed in the same organization as the nominee, who are not the nominee’s collaborators and who are not part of the nominee’s immediate family’. What is a distinguished person?
A. A ‘distinguished person’ is someone who is a recognised expert in the relevant field with a profile in the academic or corporate world, as demonstrated by their publication record and/or international recognition. They must be very familiar with the technical detail and significance of the work of the nominee and able to speak with authority about the nature and impact of the innovation.
Q. What are the key milestones?
A. Key milestones include:
Appointment of international judging panel – January 2014
Call for nominations – February 2014
Nominations closed – mid July 2014
Announcement of the winner – Spring 2015
Q. Will any of the donor companies be allowed to nominate projects for the prize?
A. Donor companies have no influence on the judging process, which will be carried out by an independent panel of international judges who are distinguished leaders in their fields.
Q. Against what criteria were the judges selected?
A. The judges are eminent international figures representing the range of engineering disciplines, and reflecting every region of the world. The judging panel includes leading academics and heads of corporations. Together they have the authority, perspective and experience required to establish the overall winner of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.
Q. Won’t this prize be awarded to the most ‘media friendly’ winner rather than for engineering merit?
A. Judges will be looking for nominations that satisfy the following criteria: a person or up to three people who is (or who are) personally and indisputably responsible for a ground-breaking innovation in engineering, of demonstrable global benefit to humanity.
Q. What criteria will the judges use to identify the winner?