Burnley-born designer claims international prize

A Burnley-born design whiz-kid has beaten away competition from thousands of international entrants to become the winner of the first international competition to design the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering trophy.

Thursday, 9th March 2017, 2:39 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:00 am
Samuel Bentley (15) with Princess Ann.

Fifteen-year-old Samuel Bentley, who was born in Burnley but moved to Wales with his parents at an early age, based his trophy design for the Queen Elizabeth 'Create the Trophy' competition on the Welsh peak of Snowdon.

Presenting his prize at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London was Her Royal Highness, Princess Ann, who congratulated Sam on his exploits in the competition, which was opened to an international audience for the first time in 2017.

Commenting on the inspiration behind his design, Sam, who is currently studying for his GCSEs, said: “I enjoy the design aspect of engineering and seeing the finished product after all of the hard work has been put in. My trophy was inspired by the great Welsh mountain, Snowdon.

The Burnley-born designer's winning entry.

"I think it looks like a rock face and it is an achievement to start at the bottom of Snowdon and climb to the top, just as it is an achievement to win the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering,” Sam, who later in the year will be invited to Buckingham Palace to meet Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, added.

The contest invited aspiring designers from around the world to create the most prestigious trophy in engineering, and following an overwhelming response from thousands of entrants from 32 different countries, submissions were whittled down to just ten finalists.

Sam's design was then selected by an expert panel of designers and engineers. It will now be 3D-printed into an iconic trophy by BAE Systems and awarded to the 2017 winner of the £1 million Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, the world’s foremost engineering prize, later this year.

Celebrating groundbreaking innovation that has had a significant positive impact on humanity, the 2017 prize will be awarded to George Smith (USA), Michael Tompsett (UK), Nobukazu Teranishi (Japan), and Eric Fossum (USA) for their contributions to the creation of digital imaging sensors.

The Burnley-born designer's winning entry.

Ian Blactchford, Director of the Science Museum group and Chairman of judging panel, said: “What the judges were most drawn to in Samuel’s design was the wonderful combination of the expected and unexpected; it reflects a conventional trophy, but with a twist.

"When you first look at this design, you think it is an entirely solid object, but as you begin to move around it, it is a combination of both a stable and unstable form," he continued. "It has light and shade elements, and gives both surprise and reassurance. It also has a lot of visual appeal.”