The Queen of England just issued a plum design assignment for budding designers around the world: Create a trophy befitting the £1 million prize Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (QEPrize for short), bestowed to engineers “whose work has had a major impact on humanity.”
Launched on Oct. 12, the international competition is open to designers ages 14 to 24. It is the first year the UK prize has opened the competition to designers anywhere in the world, in a notable post-Brexit twist. “Engineering is an international pursuit and it is a pleasure this year to open up the competition beyond the UK, inviting young designers from across the world to create the trophy,” said Lord Browne of Madingley, chairman of the biennial competition.
Their brief is to design a “timeless object” that captures “the spirit of modern engineering” via the QEPrize’s free 3D-modeling apps for Apple or Google devices. The creator of the best trophy will get a new laptop and an all expenses trip to the awards ceremony in London. Arguably, the biggest reward is the exposure to the elite circle of world-changing engineers, scientists, architects at the ceremony and the QEPrize network.
The 2013 trophy design winner Jennifer Leggett, then 17 years old, went on to pursue a degree in civil and structural engineering after hobnobbing with engineering winners Tim Berners-Lee, Marc Andreessen, Robert Kahn, Vinton Cerf and Louis Pouzin, who received the trophy that she designed for establishing the internet’s foundational architecture.
“My trophy design was a tree-like structure that symbolized the growth of engineering. It had small repeating units signifying synergy, showing that when different people in different disciplines of engineering come together, the result is worth a lot more than their individual contributions alone,” Leggett said in a 2015 interview published on the QEPrize blog. Her design was endorsed by a panel of luminaries including the late architect Zaha Hadid.
Euan Fairholm, a 22-year-old mechanical engineering student from Scotland, designed the 2015 trophy:
Young designers who wish to follow in Leggett and Fairholm’s footsteps should note the contest’s hard deadline. The QEPrize “Create the Trophy” competition closes exactly at 12 pm (UTC) on Jan. 4.