UK politicians have launched a £1m global prize for engineering and technology inventions that have been of 'benefit to humanity'.
The Queen Elizabeth Engineering Prize will be open to a team of up to three people from anywhere in the world, and will be awarded every two years. The prize is open to technologists and engineers.
Prime minister David Cameron told a launch ceremony at the Science Museum in London on Thursday that he hoped the prize would inspire young people in the UK to become engineers. "I hope this prize will go some way to inspire and excite young people about engineering, so that they dream of becoming engineers as they once did in the age of Stephenson and Brunel," said Cameron.
In a speech at the Science Museum, Cameron criticised the UK's reliance on financial services, an industry sector which was actively encouraged by previous Tory governments.
"For too long Britain's economy has been over-reliant on consumer debt and financial services," said Cameron. "We want to rebalance the economy so that Britain makes things again — high-skilled high-value manufacturing and engineering should be a central part of our long term future."
A conglomerate of enterprises have contributed to an endowment fund for the Queen Elizabeth Engineering Prize, including arms manufacturer BAE Systems, petrol companies BP and Anglo-Dutch Shell, vehicle manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover, natural gas wholesaler BG Group, pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, and technology companies Tata, Siemens, and Sony.
Cameron said that he hoped the prize would gain the same stature as the Nobel Prizes, which were established by the legacy of an arms manufacturer.