Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering

Just one drop – why we need point-of-care diagnostics

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 13 May 2019

Close up image of a person checking their blood sugar levels using a glucometer

Researchers at Colorado State University have developed a way to detect low levels of antibodies in a person’s blood – potentially allowing the individual to get treatment before they even feel sick. Brian Geiss, a senior researcher in the project, explores the possibilities of such a point-of-care diagnostic below.

“The world is becoming a smaller place” has become a bit of a cliché, but it does have a kernel of truth to it. I can be sitting on my porch in Colorado drinking coffee in the morning, and 12 hours later be having a sushi lunch in Tokyo. The movement of people, goods, and materials all over the world has become so fast and efficient that anything and anyone can get to any part of the world in less than 36 hours. Compared to just 100 years ago, our society has gone from relatively isolated independent countries to a robust interconnected network with constant flow between nodes.

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How AI and automation will shape the future of agriculture

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 8 May 2019

Close-up photo of the Mamut robot travelling along a path between rows of bush or tree-looking crops demonstrating its use in agriculture

The agriculture industry is fundamental to securing a sustainable future for humanity. Few other sectors have such enormous potential to benefit the planet in the face of population increase, resource depletion, and climate change.

For some observers, the focus on agriculture pertains to the simple concern of feeding 9.8 billion people from a static (or worse: declining) arable land base. For others, the focus lies more on the quality of our soils, watercourses and ecosystems, and their ability to support life or sequester carbon.

Regardless, the basic mathematical realities of our finite land mass and the competing demands upon it – rapidly changing weather patterns and increasing rates of consumption – lay bare a stark challenge: producing more food from less land, with less waste, lower inputs, and lower environmental burden. According to estimates, we need to produce as much food in the next four decades as we have produced, so far, in the entire history of agriculture – some 10,000 years.

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Meet the 2019 QEPrize trophy designer

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 1 April 2019

This year, the QEPrize trophy has been designed by 16-year-old Jack Jiang, from Hong Kong. Jack’s trophy design was chosen from thousands of entries to the Create the Trophy competition, a biennial search for the best young designers aged 14-24.

Jack attended the 2019 QEPrize announcement in February this year, where he was revealed as the Create the Trophy competition winner by Sir Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum. He also had the chance to meet the 2019 QEPrize winners and HRH The Princess Royal. We spoke to Jack to find out a bit more about his experience of winning the Create the Trophy competition and attending the announcement ceremony.

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Future of AI – less artificial, more intelligent (part two)

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 25 March 2019

Discussing Intelligence – the image shows text “Future of AI – less artificial, more intelligent (part two)”. To the left of the text is an abstract depiction of AI that uses neuron-looking fibers swirling around a central, circular nucleus.Artificial intelligence, robotics, and the pursuit of autonomous systems that we can trust.

In part one, Beyond Limits CTO Mark James sets the scene for new developments at the intersection of AI and robotics. In part two, he describes how cognitive intelligence moves to the extreme edge, and provides cautionary guidance for humans to remain in control of artificial intelligence as it grows in power and capability.

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Future of AI – less artificial, more intelligent (part one)

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 21 March 2019

Image shows text “Future of AI – less artificial, more intelligent (part one)”. To the right of the text is an abstract depiction of AI that uses neuron-looking fibers swirling around a central, circular nucleus.Artificial intelligence, robotics, and the pursuit of autonomous systems that we can trust.

Part one of two articles about robotics and AI by Mark James, who spent 30 years developing advanced software systems for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and is now CTO of Beyond Limits, an AI engineering company in southern California.


Intelligence is a rare and valuable commodity. From the mysterious brain of the octopus and the swarm intelligence of ants, to Go-playing deep learning machines and driverless vehicles – intelligence is the most powerful and precious resource in existence. Despite recent advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) that enable it to win games and drive cars, there are countless untapped opportunities for advanced technology to have a significant and beneficial impact on the world. Particularly so at the intersection of AI and robotics.

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Innovations in Energy – the Nottingham Trent Basin Project

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 8 March 2019

Image tilted upward at the sky, Trent Basin logo is displayed on the corner of a building. The project has Europe's largest communal battery

The way that we produce energy needs to change. If we want to tackle global climate change head-on with sustainable energy solutions, then we need a fundamental shift in the way that we create, store, and distribute energy. Ultimately, this means a breadth of changes also occurring in our homes, which could prove challenging. As is often the case with new technologies, the disruption they cause to people’s lives creates pushback that slows their diffusion into general use; people aren’t predisposed to compromise on comfort or convenience.

That’s where efforts such as the Nottingham Trent Basin project come in – providing sustainable solutions that integrate seamlessly with people’s existing routines. The Nottingham Trent Basin project, for example, aims to transform electricity generation in homes by producing it communally.

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Winner of 2019 Create the Trophy competition announced

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 12 February 2019

Today, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (QEPrize) announced 16-year-old Jack Jiang from Hong Kong as the winner of the 2019 Create the Trophy competition. The competition, open to those aged between 14 and 24 around the world, seeks innovative trophy designs to be presented to the winners of the QEPrize. Jack’s intricate design impressed the judges with its complexity and balance, combining traditional trophy shapes with elements of modern wind turbines.

The 2019 competition saw record engagement from over 50 countries worldwide, and a breadth of unique and innovative designs. The ten finalists were then selected for review by an expert panel of judges – designers and engineers led by Ian Blatchford, Director and Chief Executive of the Science Museum Group. Joining him on the panel were Roma Agrawal, a structural engineer at Aecom; Rebeca Ramos, a designer at Heatherwick Studio; and Zoe Laughlin, co-founder and Director of the Institute of Making.

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Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering awarded to the creators of the Global Positioning System (GPS)

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 12 February 2019

The 2019 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (QEPrize) is awarded to 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.

The 2019 winners are Dr Bradford Parkinson, Professor James Spilker, Jr, Hugo Fruehauf, and Richard Schwartz – announced today by Lord Browne of Madingley, Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal in London.

The global positioning system represents a pioneering innovation which, for the first time, enabled free, immediate access to accurate position and timing information around the world. Today, an estimated four billion people around the world use GPS, and 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.

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