Tag Archives: QE Prize

£1 million Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering goes to chemical engineer Robert Langer

The visionary chemical engineer Dr Robert Langer, whose work on drug delivery systems has benefited millions of patients, has today won Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.

Every two years, the £1 million QE Prize brings a splash of glamour to the world of engineering, and with Professor Brian Cox is sitting in the audience rather than addressing it, this year was no exception. As Professor Cox explained in a video shown to the audience, the prize goes “not to areas of potential, or engineers who may be great in the future, but to engineers who’ve already done something that’s demonstrably changed, in this case, millions of lives”.

Dr Robert Langer, winner of the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering

Dr Robert Langer, winner of the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering

The announcement itself was made by Lord Browne of Madingley, Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, in the presence of His Royal Highness The Duke of York, who told the audience “the UK is the best place to do science and engineering” and spoke about how his personal passion for engineering had been inspired by his father.

Lord Browne paid tribute to the work done throughout history by the engineers who have found solutions to the world’s most troublesome problems, noting the “excellent solutions are not inevitable”. He pointed to “imagination, creativity and tenacity” as the qualities most needed in the next generation of engineers. In December 2014, the Science Museum opening a new exhibition, Engineer Your Future designed to inspire 11- to 15-year-olds to think about careers in the engineering. 65,000 people have already visited the exhibition.

Dr Langer is one of 11 Institute Professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA. His laboratory at MIT – with over 100 students, postdoctoral students, and visiting scientists at any one time -is the world’s largest academic biomedical engineering laboratory.

Professor Lord Broers, Chair of Judges for the QEPrize, said: “Robert Langer has made an immense contribution to healthcare and to numerous other fields by applying engineering systems thinking to biochemical problems. Not only has he revolutionised drug delivery, but his open-minded approach to innovation and his ability to think ‘outside the box’ have led to great advances in the field of tissue engineering. He is a truly inspiring leader who has attracted brilliant people to these relatively new and exciting areas of research and is extremely involved in the commercial development of his group’s research.”

Her Majesty The Queen will present the prize to Dr Langer at Buckingham Palace later this year.

Jennifer photographed with the new trophy for the Queen Elizabeth prize for engineering.

Queen Elizabeth Trophy Competition Winner Announced

This tree-like structure that symbolises the growth of engineering has been chosen as the trophy for a new global prize. The Queen Elizabeth Prize is considered to be the Nobel prize for engineering and yesterday the winner of the trophy competition was announced by Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group.

Jennifer photographed with the new trophy for the Queen Elizabeth prize for engineering.

The prestigious award was given to Jennifer Leggett, an A Level student from Sevenoaks in Kent, who was the brains behind the winning design. Jennifer fought off tough competition from a shortlist of ten young designers, aged between 16 and 22, to win the prize and will have the unique opportunity to see her trophy presented to the winner of the Queen Elizabeth Prize at the inaugural ceremony in March 2013. Following the announcement the delighted Jennifer thanked the judges and congratulated her fellow competitors commenting on the quality and range of all the designs in the room.

3 of the 5 judges photographed with Jennifer Leggett and her trophy. From left: Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group; Yewande Akinola, Engineer; Jennifer Leggett; Nick Serota, Director of the Tate.

The panel, who had the tough job of selecting the trophy, consisted of: Science Museum Director and Chair of judges, Ian Blatchford; architect Dame Zaha Hadid; Director of the Tate, Sir Nicholas Serota; Design Museum Director, Deyan Sudjic; and Engineer, Yewande Akinola. During the judging competitors were asked to explain the inspiration behind their design and what material would best fit their trophy but, on announcing the winner, Ian admitted that the judges had to add two additional criteria to help them whittle it down and come to a decision – whether the Queen would take pleasure from handing the prize and how the winner of the QE prize might feel when collecting their award. The winning trophy was described as “jewel-like” and was praised for its strong design which reflected the creativity, power and importance of engineering in the world today.

Reflecting on the competition Ian Blatchford said, “We set a challenge for young people to come up with an iconic trophy design that best embodies the wonder of modern engineering and reflects the merging worlds of science, art, design and engineering. Jennifer has shown real imagination and talent – all the judges were enormously impressed with her design.”

At the awards ceremony at the Science Museum’s Smith Centre, all ten of the shortlisted designers saw their trophy brought to life having had their design transformed into 3D printed prototypes by BAE Systems using the latest in Additive Layer Manufacturing technology. These replicas illustrated the intricate designs of each of the trophies which varied from Alexander Goff’s ‘Flowers and Thorns’ a towering structure of petals and sharp thorns, to Gemma Pollock’s ‘Bright Perceptions’ that centred around a double helix, and Dominic Jacklin’s ‘The Nest’ a vortex of geometric shapes which was concieved to represent the ubiquity of engineering in our lives.

The QE prize is a new £1 million global engineering prize, launched in 2012 which rewards and celebrates an individual (or up to three people) responsible for a ground-breaking innovation in engineering that has been of global benefit to humanity. The first winner of the QE prize will be announced in March 2013 and will be presented with Jennifer’s trophy by the Queen in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.