Engineers call for R&D protection

Article by Staff Writer

JUDGES and trustees for the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (QEPrize), have added their signatures to a letter, sent to the UK newspaper The Times on 20 April, calling for global governments to preserve education and R&D funding.

The 250-word letter marks the opening of public nominations for the 2017 £1m (US$1.4m) QEPrize winner and coincides with The Queen's 90th birthday. The letter pays tribute to the engineering achievements of the past and appeals to 'those who control the government budgets for education, research and development to protect funding for the next generation of engineers.'

The 18 signatories comprise of leading chemical engineers, academics, business leaders and heads of engineering associations from the UK, Germany, US, Japan, India, Switzerland and Singapore.

Notable signatories include: Lord John Browne, former CEO of BP and chairman of the QEPrize foundation; Frances Arnold, professor of chemical engineering and bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech); Lynn Gladden, professor of chemical engineering at the University of Cambridge,UK; and Brian Cox, professor of particle physics at the UK’s University of Manchester.

Lord Browne said: “In order for governments to reap the benefits from engineers they need to protect their research and development budgets. Through protecting this investment, engineers will be empowered and able to continue solving the world’s greatest challenges.

'Some of these engineers may go on to be the next QEPrize winner, but if not, they will at the very least provide their governments with more vital skills, goods and services which can be exported or traded to benefit their country.”

The 2015 QEPrize was won by MIT chemical engineer Robert Langer for developing the controlled release of large molecule drugs. His work helped provide the basis for long-lasting treatments for brain cancer, diabetes, schizophrenia and drug-coated cardiovascular stents that alone have benefitted 10m patients.

The full letter and list of signatories can be found on the QEPrize website.

Article by Staff Writer

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