Whittle Reactionaries Prize

Seeking innovative solutions to aerospace propulsion problems – uncovering the engineers who are contributing to the next great leap.

Sir Frank Whittle, and the Powerjet engineers who worked alongside him, were true pioneers. Their revolutionary work will be remembered forever.

The Prize aims to stimulate and encourage those in the early stages of their engineering career to continue to apply innovative and forward-looking thinking to aerospace propulsion problems that demonstrates:

  • technical excellence
  • originality and independent thinking
  • high-quality presentation and effective communication.


  • Open to members only.

Value of award

  • £2,500.

Award criteria

  • The author shall be either an undergraduate or postgraduate studying at a university, or a recent graduate working in industry
  • Submit an original, technically excellent written paper, no more than 5000 words, in the field of aerospace propulsion
  • The paper can be authored by an individual author or a team
  • It could be based on a final year or MSc project, but doesn’t have to be – as long as your work pushes boundaries, you could be a winner
  • Papers written for other outlets such as conferences and journals are welcomed for consideration and encouraged.

Award conditions

The Whittle Reactionaries Prize will be adjudicated by a panel of engineers chosen by the Combined Propulsion Technical Activity Committee of the IMechE / Royal Aeronautical Society.

Value of award

The winner will receive a medal and £1500 cash, although in exceptional circumstances the prize money may be split between two outstanding projects.

Application process

Closing date: 31 March 2021.

Submissions should be sent to:

Aerospace Division 
Institution of Mechanical Engineers 
1 Birdcage Walk 


Award winners

You could win it. To achieve, you have got to believe. Winning can enhance your career in many different ways. See how gaining this accolade has assisted recent winners.

Sir Frank Whittle and the Whittle Reactionaries Prize

The Whittle Reactionaries Prize Fund was established in 1998 by a group of Institution members in recognition of those engineers and others who had directly assisted Sir Frank Whittle in his company Power Jets Ltd. The company conducted pioneering and evolutionary work with reaction propulsion (jet propulsion) from the first experiments in 1937 to first operation use of Whittle Type W2B engines in an RAF Meteor aircraft in 1944.

Donations have been made by the surviving members of this team and others associated with this momentous period in British engineering history which provided the foundation for the majority of the aircraft power plants in current use today.

Donations have also been made in memory of the aircraft power plants in current use today. Donations have also been made in memory of the substantial number of original Reactionaries who, like Sir Frank Whittle, have passed on to higher things.

Further information

Toggle Award funding and number of awards

Get in touch

Have a question about this Award or Prize?

Contact our Member Engagement Team:

Join the IMechE conversation

IMechE Facebook IMechE Twitter IMechE LinkedIn IMechE Instagram IMechE YouTube

Discover how our
Scholarships and Awards can help your studies and career

Apply today