The Prince of Wales to Present Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering




The Prince of Wales, on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, will present the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering at St James’s Palace, London

On arrival, His Royal Highness will be greeted by Lord Browne of Madingley, Chairman, and Dr. Hayaatun Sillem, CEO of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. The Prince will then meet Professor Sir Jim McDonald, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, Chair of the Judging Panel for the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. 

His Royal Highness, accompanied by Lord Browne, will watch a short film before The Prince presents the awards to the winners, for their work on light emitting diodes (LEDs) and solid state lighting. 

After the presentation, His Royal Highness will pause for a photograph with the winners before meeting the trophy designer, Miss Hannah Goldsmith, and joining guests at the reception. 

Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering 

Since it was first awarded in 2013, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (QEPrize) has become the world’s leading engineering prize, celebrating the engineers responsible for a ground-breaking innovation in engineering that has been of global benefit to humanity. The prize, now awarded annually, aims to raise the public profile of engineering and inspire young people to take up the engineering challenges of the future. 

The presentation is the fifth in the life of the prize. The inaugural winners, in 2013, were Robert Kahn, Vint Cerf, Louis Pouzin, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Marc Andreessen for developing the internet and the World Wide Web, revolutionising the way we communicate. In 2015, the QEPrize was awarded to Dr Robert Langer for his pioneering work in controlled release large molecule drug delivery systems, which have benefitted the lives of more than 2 billion people worldwide. 

In 2017 Professor Eric Fossum, Dr George Smith, Professor Nobukazu Teranishi and Dr Michael Tompsett, were awarded the Prize for their combined work in developing the modern digital imaging sensor. The 2019 QEPrize was awarded to Dr Bradford Parkinson, Professor James Spilker, Jr, Hugo FrueHauf, and Richard Schwartz for their work on the Global Positioning System (GPS). 

The Winners 

The 2021 laureates, Professor Isamu Akasaki, Professor Shuji Nakamura, Professor Nick Holonyak Jr, Dr M. George Craford and Professor Russell Dupuis are recognised not only for the global impact of LED and solid state lighting but also for the tremendous contribution the technology has made, and will continue to make, to reducing energy consumption and addressing climate change. 

Professor Akasaki sadly passed away in April this year. He will be represented at the ceremony by his son-in-law, Dr Kazuaki Takahashi. Professor Holonyak is unable to travel due to Covid restrictions. 

LEDs and solid state lighting 

Solid state lighting technology has changed how we illuminate our world. It can be found everywhere from digital displays and computer screens to handheld laser pointers, automobile headlights and traffic lights. Today’s high-performance LEDs are used in efficient solid state lighting products across the world and are contributing to the sustainable development of world economies by reducing energy consumption. 

Visible LEDs are now a global industry predicted to be worth over $108 billion by 2025 through low cost, high efficiency lighting. LED lighting is 75% more energy efficient than traditional incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs and is playing a crucial role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. 

LED bulbs last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs and their large-scale use reduces the energy demand required to cool buildings. For this, they are often referred to as the ‘green revolution’ within lighting. 

The 2021 QEPrize Create the Trophy Competition 

The Create the Trophy competition, open to young people aged between 14 and 24 around the world, seeks innovative trophy designs to be presented to the winners of the QEPrize. The competition, initially open only to UK entrants, went global in 2017 and the 2021 contest received over 2500 entries, from more than 50 countries. 

This year’s winner is 21-year old student Hannah Goldsmith from the UK. Her winning design combines elegance and complexity, and it draws inspiration from the circuit boards on which much engineering is done. Hannah is currently in her final year of a degree course in Design for Publishing. 

The Prince and Engineering 

The Prince of Wales has a longstanding interest in encouraging more young people into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. His Royal Highness inspired the creation of the Industrial Cadets, which help provide workplace experiences for young people. 

In 2017, The Prince opened the Morphy Richards Engineering Centre at Dumfries House in Scotland to provide indoor and outdoor STEM learning experiences for primary and early secondary students. 

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