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Need a trophy? No problem – we can grow you one!

His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh inspecting the Queen Elizabeth award trophy
When His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh came to inspect progress on plans for a major new £1million prize recognising brilliance in engineering, it was clear he would need to see something special.

A key part of the competition, aimed at engaging young people, was the very design of the trophy that would be awarded to the winner.

The trophy, to be known as the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, will need to be innovative, be produced using the very latest in 3D printing techniques, and yet be commensurate with the prestigious requirements of an international £1million prize.

But what might it look like? And how could The Royal Academy of Engineering show HRH Prince Phillip an example of the sort of trophy that might be produced?

Enter BAE Systems. A quick call to the company’s Airframe Integration Team in the business and the organisers weren’t so much ‘cooking on gas’ as growing a prototype trophy in liquid.

Mike Murray, the Head of Airframe Integration at Warton in Lancashire, galvanised his team into action producing a series of prototype example designs within days – and then 3D printing the favoured one within hours of its selection.

He said: “On the day, when HRH Prince Phillip came to officially launch the competition and inspect the prototype everything was there for him to see – including a video of how the Trophy had been made using Additive Layer Manufacturing and the computer-generated designs that had shaped it.”

Now the final design for the real £1million Trophy is in the hands of ambitious 16-24 year olds who have until 12 November to submit designs that will again be produced using the innovative 3D printing process. The winning 16-24 trophy designer will win £5000.

The icing on the cake? That will come in the Spring of 2013 when Her Majesty the Queen presents the chosen trophy to the competition’s £1million Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering winner.