New Africa prize highlights engineering as key development driver
South African engineers urged to submit entries

6 March 2014

Engineers from South Africa and other sub-Saharan countries are invited to enter a major new prize which rewards innovation and entrepreneurship in engineering.

The Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) today announced the launch of the first Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation and called for entries from engineers connected with universities and research institutions in sub-Saharan African countries.

The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is Africa’s biggest prize devoted to engineering innovation, covering all disciplines from mechanical, civil and computing to biomedical, oil and gas, mining and electronic engineering.

“Engineering is crucial to social and economic development in South Africa and internationally,” said Malcolm Brinded, a Fellow of the RAEng and Chair of the judging panel for the prize. The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation aims to recognise the importance of African engineers and to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship, while encouraging young people to become engineers by creating successful role models.”

“This new competition is designed to incentivise engineers to use their passion to develop innovative solutions to their country’s challenges. The Africa Prize will demonstrate how engineering is at the heart of economic development.”

South African judge of the prestigious Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, Liesbeth Botha at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), commended the RAEng for launching the new prize. 

“The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation will show how African engineers build countries, communities and economies, and put the spotlight on our education system to deliver professional engineers into the economy with the right knowledge and skills,” said Botha.

Engineers from all disciplines are invited to submit innovations with a social, economic or environmental benefit. Entries must be early-stage innovations which have the potential to be scaled-up and are ready for commercialisation. The deadline for entries is Friday 30 May 2014.

A shortlist of entrants will benefit from six months of extensive mentoring, training and support in commercialising their innovation. The overall winner will receive £25,000 and there will be an exhibition of all finalists’ entries.

The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is supported by the Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund, Consolidated Contractors Company, ConocoPhilips and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

“By encouraging talented engineers to apply their technical and entrepreneurial skills to development challenges in South Africa and the wider continent, we can help build stronger engineering capability, better equipped to develop scalable solutions to all kinds of local and regional challenges,” said Brinded.

“Over the year-long competition, we look forward to seeing great engineering ideas become viable projects that grow economies and improve societies.”

The RAEng is theUK’s national academy for engineering. It brings together successful engineers to advance and promote excellence in engineering. Encouraging and facilitating engineering innovation is a major focus of the Academy’s work, both domestically in the UK and in sub-Saharan Africa. A key component of its focus is on public understanding of engineering and increasing awareness of how engineering impacts lives.

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Information for editors

The Royal Academy of Engineering
As the UK's national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK's role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK's world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook. We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.

Judges of the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation

Chair of Judges: Mr Malcolm Brinded - CBE FREng
Malcolm is Chairperson of the Shell Foundation, and a Non-Executive Director of Network Rail and of CH2M Hill. A British national, he graduated in Engineering from Cambridge University in 1974 and then had a 38 year career in Shell until his retirement, working in Brunei, The Netherlands, Oman and the UK. He was a member of the Royal Dutch Shell Board from 2002 to 2012, being Executive Director of global Exploration & Production from 2004 and of Upstream International from 2009. He was previously Shell UK Chairperson from 1999.  He has been a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering since 2002, and has served on Council and various Committees. He is current Vice-President of the Energy Institute, and a Fellow of the Institutions of Civil and Mechanical Engineering. He was awarded the CBE for services to the UK oil and gas industry in 2002, and the title of Dato Seri Laila Jasa by the Sultan of Brunei in 2011. Malcolm has been a UK Prime Minister's Business Ambassador, and a member of the Nigerian President's Advisory Council (2004-2012), the China International Council on Environment and Development, and was formerly a Trustee of the International Business Leaders Forum and of the Emirates Foundation.

Other judges include:
Dr Liesbeth Botha, Executive Director, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research,
  South Africa
- Stephen Dawson, Chairperson, Jacana Partners
- Professor Calestous Juma HonFREng, Harvard Kennedy School
- Dr Bola Olabisi, CEO, Global Women Inventors & Innovators Network

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