International prize to award SA engineers

2014-03-10 14:40
A model of the revised MeerKAT dish which is closely aligned to the SKA requirements is seen at the project office in Cape Town. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

A model of the revised MeerKAT dish which is closely aligned to the SKA requirements is seen at the project office in Cape Town. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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Cape Town - Engineers are crucial in order to develop a country and a new competition could see a South African win nearly half a million rand for an engineering innovation.

The Royal Academy of Engineering has announced its Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation and is calling on engineers from the continent to submit ideas focused on development.

"Engineering is crucial to social and economic development in South Africa and internationally," said Malcolm Brinded, a fellow of the RAEng and chair of the judging panel for the prize.

He added that the prize is intended to highlight the contribution of African engineers as a driver of development on the continent.

"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," he said.

Catalyst

Declining education standards and a brain drain in Africa generally and SA specifically have seen an evaporation of skills needed for infrastructure development and service delivery.

The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovationprize will cover all aspects related to engineering, from civil to computing.

"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," Brinded said.

The deadline for entry is on 30 May and entries are required to be early stage innovations with a potential to be scaled up for mass adoption and commercialisation.

Short-listed finalists will all receive additional mentoring and support to give their ideas the best chance to succeed and win the £25 000 prize money (about R450 000 at the current exchange rate).

Brinded said that he hoped the prize would be a catalyst for development in Africa.

"Over the year-long competition, we look forward to seeing great engineering ideas become viable projects that grow economies and improve societies."


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