Engineering vital for economic growth, reveals QEPrize Create the Future Report

Nidhi Bahl updated on : 26 Oct 2015

Engineering tops the list of professions seen as most vital for economic growth. Other professions include business leader, lawyer, doctor and teacher.

 

The Indian population were shown to be the most engaged nation in STEM and Engineering by the Queen Elizabeth Prize Create the Future Report launched today.

India’s interest in engineering was matched by the belief that the profession offers high-earning potential and the opportunity to contribute to innovations, as well as the belief that engineering is an interesting and stimulating career.

The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering today released the inaugural Create the Future Report, an international survey of attitudes towards engineering surveying respondents in global centres for engineering including the US, Germany, Japan, Turkey, India and Brazil.

The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering is the highest international accolade for engineering and recognises groundbreaking global innovation to inspire the next generation of engineers.      

The Create the Future Report was commissioned to mark the presentation by Her Majesty The Queen of the 2015 QEPrize Trophy to Dr Robert Langer for his groundbreaking achievement in bridging the boundaries between engineering, chemistry and medicine. His pioneering work in developing a large molecular drug delivery system to treat diseases like cancer has benefited two billion people around the world. The report reveals that:

  • Engineering tops the list of professions seen as most vital for economic growth. Other professions include business leader, lawyer, doctor and teacher.
  • 57% believe engineering is critical in solving the world’s problems, particularly in the US, UK and Germany  
  • In Japan engineering is seen as a driver of innovation
  • Interest in engineering remains higher amongst men (66% vs. 43%) but the gap is closing fast in emerging economies such as India and Brazil
  • People in the US, Germany and India show the highest numbers rating engineering as a top career opportunity
  • But interest in engineering still lags behind wider STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) , 55% vs 91%
  • 71% of people think engineers’ contribution to society is undervalued, they deserve much more recognition

The Create the Future Report is supported by insights and opinion from leaders of some of the world’s leading companies as well as eminent engineers from medicine, energy, IT and infrastructure.

Solving the World’s Problems

The QEPrize Create the Future Report shows that an overwhelming majority of the public in each of the 10 countries surveyed agree that engineering has driven progress in society in the past and will do so in future.

  • 8 in 10 countries believe solving the world’s problems is the number 1 priority for engineering in future, Japan and Turkey being the exceptions
  • People of all ages agree this is more important than solving their own countries problems
  • Improving renewable energy, advanced computer technology, infrastructure, healthcare and online security were the top five challenges the public felt engineering could solve in the future.

Recognising and Understanding Engineering

  • 71% claim that their country’s engineers do not receive the recognition they deserve for their contribution to society.
  • Though interest in engineering lags behind interest in STEM, the gap is much narrower in BRIC countries surveyed. In India 99% are interested in STEM subjects and 83% in engineering compared to the UK where the figures stand at 89% and 43% 
  • Whilst more men than women in all countries show an interest in engineering, the gap in interest is smallest in emerging economies such as India, Turkey, China and Brazil. The UK, Japan and South Africa show the greatest difference

Inspiring the Next Generation

  • In countries with growing economies, engineering holds huge attraction for the next generation. For example, in both India and Turkey, around 80 per cent of 16-17 year olds say they are interested in engineering.
  • Younger people are more attracted by making a contribution to society than career opportunities 

Creating Opportunity

The Create the Future Report also demonstrates which country of those surveyed felt there was the greatest opportunity for engineers

  • People in the US were most confident in the opportunities that exist for engineers
  • Germany and India closely follow but countries such as South Africa and Brazil felt the opportunities do match the growing interest in engineering.  This is perceived as a lack of investment in training

Lord Browne, Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, said of the QEPrize Create the Future Report:

“The QEPrize Create the Future report shines a light on a great many positive changes in our industry. As an engineer, I am enormously encouraged to see that the public thinks engineers are capable of solving the world’s greatest problems. It is also encouraging to see that people think the priority for engineers should be improving renewable energy and healthcare, not just traditional engineering infrastructure such bridges and buildings.

However, the report also highlights some of the perception problems that the engineering community continues to face. Without combatting the lack of understanding surrounding our profession and changing persistent stereotypes we will not attract the next generation of engineers to meet the challenges of the future.

“The QEPrize aims to highlight the engineering achievements that have the greatest impact on society, to raise engineering’s international profile and inspire young people to consider the wealth of opportunities that an engineering career offers.

“There is a responsibility on governments, industry, academics, teachers, parents and grandparents to encourage young people to share in the excitement of engineering innovations and the endless possibilities of a career in this vital sector.”

Dr Robert Langer, winner of the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Prize, said:

“Being awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering is a huge honour. I was shocked to receive such an incredible award. It is wonderful that The Queen recognises the importance of engineers around the world and engineering is being honoured in such a way.

“I am reassured the Create the Future Report confirms engineering outputs are valued around the world and considered genuinely life changing. I take heart in the number of people who see engineering as a great way to contribute to society; that is what motivated me and inspired my work on mental health and cancer treatments.”

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