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Now of course those categories can and do overlap, but the Royal Academy of Engineering‘s (RAEng) decision to launch an innovation prize specifically aimed at engineers from all sectors is a pretty welcome one.
RAEng, which is the UK’s national academy for engineering, says that the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation will be 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.
The innovations submitted must be early stage and should ideally have a social, economic or environmental benefit.
“Engineering is crucial to social and economic development in South Africa and internationally,” says 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.”
Once the entries have been put in place, a shortlist of entrants will apparently benefit from six months of mentoring, training and support in commercialising their innovation. The overall winner will receive £25 000 (R446 000) and there will be an exhibition of all finalists’ entries.
“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.”
All entries must be submitted by 30 May 2014.
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is supported by the Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund, Consolidated Contractors Company, ConocoPhilips and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.