Second study by prestigious Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering shows increasing reliance on technology and engineering, while skills gap widens

The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (QEPrize) today released the Create the Future 2017 report, an international survey into the attitudes towards engineering across 10 markets including the UK, US, Germany, Japan, India and Brazil.

Following the release of the inaugural report in 2015, the study highlights the changing influence of engineering worldwide, while looking to governments and business leaders to drive the industry forwards.

The publication of the report coincides with the presentation of the 2017 QEPrize, the highest international engineering accolade, by HRH The Prince of Wales to Eric Fossum, George Smith, Nobukazu Teranishi and Michael Tompsett. The four winners have been recognised for creating digital imaging sensors – together, their work has revolutionised the visual world, transforming medicine, science, communication and entertainment.

The report finds:

  • Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) are seen as the most modern engineering innovations, and tech-based innovations, like the Internet and computers, are thought to have the greatest impact on daily life around the world.
  • The perceived ‘skills gap’ is widening. Half of the markets surveyed – China, Japan, South Korea, the UK and USA – felt there was a significant rise in the demand for skilled engineers.
  • Diversity is the driver of modern engineering. Three quarters of people feel there should be more female role models among industry leaders. 3 in 5 said they would be inspired to pursue engineering if there were more people like them in industry to look up to.
  • A united approach is needed. 8 in 10 believe governments, businesses and schools could offer more support to those interested in engineering professions.

As the world is experiencing a global shift, so too is engineering. Across the world, technology and engineering are becoming ever more relevant to people’s daily lives. There is a growing trust in engineering and engineers to lead the way in solving major global challenges and make the world a better place. However, despite a favourable attitude towards the profession, many still feel there are several barriers to a career in engineering. These include the cost of education, the lack of visible, positive role models and few opportunities for young people. Engineers, educators and industry leaders must work together to ensure that those shaping the future are fully representative of the people who will use these new systems.

Create the Future 2017 is supported by insights and opinion from some of the world’s leading companies, as well as eminent engineers from medicine, energy and infrastructure sectors.

Lord Browne of Madingley, Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, said:

“The inaugural report highlighted not only the high regard for engineers worldwide, but their vital role in solving tomorrow’s biggest challenges. Two years on, the perception of engineering as a force for good remains undiminished. In addition to recognising engineering’s economic value, communities worldwide realise the continued need for skilled engineers. The QEPrize inspires young engineers by celebrating the very best innovations and highlighting the many talented, diverse individuals across the profession, while driving engineering towards a brighter future for everyone.”

Professor Dame Ann Dowling, QEPrize trustee and President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said:

“Engineering improves lives. However, to realise the potential of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and autonomous systems, it is vital that the profession continues to address the issues of diversity and inclusion and welcomes the very best talent from all backgrounds. The world faces many challenges and it is essential that engineering properly reflects the diversity of society for whom they are developing solutions, products and processes.”

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