Editor's comment | The awards debate

Robert LangerEarlier this month, Robert Langer, a chemical engineer and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor, won what is arguably engineering’s biggest prize.

The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (QEPrize) celebrates the achievements of the most influential engineers on the planet - the winner also receives £1 million.

The QEPrize is designed to inspire the next generation of engineers by showcasing monumental feats of engineering, and highlights what a career in engineering can lead to.

Langer won this year’s award largely for his pioneering work on polymer-based large molecular weight drug delivery technology.

Langer also works across the fields of nanotechnology, tissue engineering, and has helped develop drug implantation technology.

His work has impacted on the lives of more than 2 billion people; he thoroughly deserves his award.

However, he is not the only person who deserves an award, and the QEPrize is by no means the limit.

Ingenuity reigns supreme across much of the science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) industries - and there are many awards to be won.

However, trying to win awards for superficial reasons such as monetary gain or ’celebrity’ status feels somewhat out of place…crude even.