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Engineering in the spotlight

David Balmforth

Make your nominations for the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.

Throughout history, civil engineers have devised solutions to some of society’s greatest challenges.

From Mackenzie and Stephenson’s innovations in rail to Bazalgette’s design of a sewer network that transformed public health in London - feats of engineering that have truly shaped the world.

These innovations share a powerful message: they demonstrate just what can be achieved through our work.

The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, launched in 2011, rightly rewards ground-breaking innovations from the world of engineering and recognises the global humanitarian benefit they bring about.

In so doing, it promotes engineering to the public, raises awareness of what engineers do and inspires the engineers of tomorrow - overall a fantastic initiative.

In 2013, the inaugural prize was awarded to the creators of the internet, the World Wide Web and the Mosaic web browser, a huge achievement and very worthy winners.

Who should be the next winner? At the ICE, we are determined that a civil engineering project will make the shortlist - I believe it’s our time to be in the spotlight.In order to achieve this, we need to cast our net far and wide across civil engineering globally. Although the prize is awarded to an individual or group of individuals, for their personal contribution, the best first step is to identify what recent achievements in engineering really have made a difference to society. The selection of who can then follow.

So, what innovation in civil engineering do you think deserves global recognition?

What engineering achievement do you think has facilitated societal change in a way that is reminiscent to those of Mackenzie, Bazalgette and Stephenson? Why is it more ground breaking than any other development from the world of engineering? What global change it has brought about?

Please let us know what you think have been the greatest achievements of civil engineering globally in recent years.

Above all, we are interested in hearing about the novel development of existing areas, or the creation of a new area of activity, rather than individuals or individual projects (unless of a truly global scale).

Every year, the ICE celebrates the success of civil engineering through its regional awards and prestige lectures.

But the Queen Elizabeth Prize presents an opportunity for civil engineering to be endorsed more widely in the public realm, on a global platform and for the profession to be rightly placed at the centre of innovation. Let’s take this opportunity.

Thank you in advance for your support in this “hunt” - I look forward to hearing your ideas.

  • Nominations for the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering close at 12pm on 14 July. For more information visit qeprize.org. To recommend a civil engineering project for nomination, email David Balmforth on president@ice.org.uk
  • David Balmforth is an ICE vice president

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