PRIZES WORTH £20,000 have been put up by the ICE to boost the status of its annual graduates and students papers competition.
This year's prizes are designed to be seen as lucrative by young engineers wanting an accelerated career progression.
Top prize is a full three year distance learning MBA for Engineering Managers from Manchester Business School. Last year's winner picked up just £150.
Second and third prizes are similarly business orientated - an MBA in Engineering Management (equivalent to two years of a 3.5 year MBA course) from the Engineering Management Partnership and a £1,000 learning card for courses from Thomas Telford.
'For young engineers wishing to build a career, an MBA teaches business skills that may be lacking in the traditional engineering career route, ' said ICE professional development manager Niall O'Hea.
'Companies provide training and push for professional qualification. However, after qualification, the next step can be unclear. The ambition to progress to senior management is still apparent, but there are few structured routes. An MBA provides a route without disrupting your engineering career.
'If engineers are to be future leaders, they must be able to communicate with the business world. The MBA will put them on a more equal footing with other business leaders, ' said O'Hea.
The papers competition is open to entries of no more than 4,000 words on any topic of interest to civil engineers. Papers should be concerned with work the author has personally undertaken or been involved with, and may reflect quarterly experience reports, professional review reports or university projects.
Entering initially through 16 regional events, competitors are asked to give a 15 minute presentation of their paper, with the top five regional winners progressing to the national final at the ICE.
This format gives competitors the chance to gain experience and confidence in public speaking and is practice for the professional review. Those who reach the national final may also claim up to six days' continuing professional development.
'This competition encourages the young, bright individuals in the Institution's membership to demonstrate skills in self-marketing, presentation and networking - all assets vital to their future success, ' said O'Hea.