Posted: 10 February 2017
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QEPrize recognises ‘tiny’ innovation
QEPrize recognises ‘tiny’ innovation

Engineers from across the globe gathered in London to celebrate engineering creativity at its best.

This is the third time the prize has been awarded since 2013.

"Awards for achievements like this make me really proud to be an engineer. Engineering done well is about changing people’s lives and making the solutions they may not even know they need possible."

David Wright, Director, Electricity Transmission Owner (ETO) and Chief Electricity Engineer.

A team of four people recently received the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (QEPrize) from Princess Anne – the third time the prize has been awarded since 2013. Between them, the team has embarked on a remarkable voyage of discovery, innovation and engineering. This journey has led to almost every one of us having a high quality camera in our pocket, in the form of a mobile phone.

Did you know the first digital image was taken way back in 1973? The ‘camera’ was about the size of a projector. The team of four that created it had invented the first working digital image sensor.

Huge steps forward

Over subsequent years they worked on improving and reducing the size of the image sensors. It is a technology that has revolutionised modern digital photography, transformed medical treatments, enhanced personal communication and expanded our knowledge of the universe.

So, who were the lucky winners of the £1 million QEPrize? The team was made up of Eric Fossum, George Smith, Nobukazu Teranishi and Michael Tompsett; representing a truly global effort, covering the UK, USA and Japan. Diversity of thought and experience was a vital part of developing this technology.

Proud of engineering

David Wright, Director, Electricity Transmission Owner (ETO) and Chief Electricity Engineer, who attended the QEPrize awards on behalf of National Grid, said: “Awards for achievements like this make me really proud to be an engineer. Engineering done well is about changing people’s lives and making the solutions they may not even know they need possible.

“In London we are currently commissioning 32km of power tunnels up to 60 metres below the surface and big enough to drive a van through. This new infrastructure will support the electricity needs of the capital and help support economic growth in the region. This is a £1 billion project, which is coming in on time and on budget.

“In the US, we recently completed the $110 million sea2shore project, connecting the nation’s first offshore wind farm to the grid. This new interconnector is a great example of the future energy solutions we’re putting in place; delivering clean, renewable energy to our customers in Rhode Island.”

National Grid is one of the 12 founding members of the QEPrize, which is the ‘Nobel Prize’ for engineering. Awarded once every two years it celebrates ground-breaking innovation in engineering. The prize rewards an individual or team whose work has had a major impact on humanity.

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