On 12 March, we hosted one of the most exciting events in our calendar: the 2019 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (QEPrize) announcement ceremony. This year’s prize recognised Dr Bradford Parkinson, Professor James Spilker, Jr, Hugo Fruehauf, and Richard Schwartz – four engineers responsible for creating the first truly global, satellite-based positioning system – GPS.
The QEPrize is the world’s most prestigious engineering accolade, a £1 million prize that celebrates the global impact of engineering innovation on humanity. This year’s award is particularly compelling for its sheer ubiquity and range of use. Today, an estimated four billion people around the world use GPS. Its applications range from navigation and disaster relief through to climate monitoring systems, banking systems, and the foundation of tomorrow’s transport, agriculture, and industry.
The 2019 winners were announced to the world by Lord Browne of Madingley, Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal in London. Also attending the event were pupils of Ysgol Glan-y-Môr Comprehensive School, senior executives from QEPrize donor companies, and members of the QEPrize Ambassador Network.
Here is what they had to say about the event, and what it meant to them to be an early-career engineer seeing the historic announcement first-hand:
“It was a great honour to be present at the event, especially as the 2019 winning innovation, GPS, is related to my area of expertise: electronics. The event provided a unique opportunity to engage and network with a broad spectrum of engineers, from other ambassadors and senior executives from QEPrize donor companies to representatives for engineering institutions, internationally esteemed engineers, and the prize winners themselves. There was also an opportunity to meet HRH The Princess Royal. I felt truly privileged to attend such a prestigious event.”
“For me, the 2019 QEPrize announcement was incredibly inspiring. Meeting the engineers behind technologies that we now take for granted and listening to their stories inspired me to undertake my work with renewed dedication and passion. After all, what I feel is an everyday struggle as an engineer today could become the foundation for a new tomorrow.
“As an ambassador for QEPrize – and an engineer myself – I am part of a community that works together to achieve miracles and make a difference to the world.”
“The event was a fantastic opportunity to engage with other like-minded engineers, talk to the school children at the event about our jobs, and hear from people who are the very best in their field. It was a privilege to see the prize awarded to such deserving winners and to learn about their story first-hand.”
“I found the announcement day so inspiring; it was absolutely fantastic to speak with the winners and hear of their experiences and challenges first-hand. I even received some amazing career advice from one of them, which I know will stay with me for a very long time.”
“In the lead-up to the event, I was wondering about the sorts of innovations that could live up to the standards of previous winners (like the internet and world wide web). It didn’t disappoint. It is incredibly inspiring to see that, in an ever-changing world, this technology has remained cutting-edge over the decades.
“I was also very honoured to meet HRH The Princess Royal. She was very aware of the engineering industry and education, which further proved to me how important the profession is.”
“Not only did I find it inspiring to be a part of the announcement day, but I also enjoyed hearing from the winners about the development of a technology I use every day. What I love about these events is catching up with engineers from outside of my company and industry.”
The attendees, and staff here at the Prize, are already excited and looking ahead to the presentation ceremony, set to take place this Autumn. 2019 is a truly special year for the Prize and the QEPrize Ambassador Network.
Are you an early career engineer interested in becoming part of the QEPrize Ambassador Network? Click here to find out more.