About the competition

The competition is organised and run annually by the Young Members of the Institution. The competition was originally established in 1964 to challenge young engineers to prove that they could ‘communicate effectively’. The competition has been adapted over the course of time to allow for greater participation, but the original theme of ‘communicating effectively’ still remains the emphasis of the competition and in 2004 changed its name to ‘Speak Out for Engineering’ Presentation Competition.

The competition is open to any Affiliate, Associate or Young Member of the Institution who has been professionally registered for ten years or less. It is aimed at promoting the ability to communicate mechanical engineering subjects effectively. It is specifically concerned with verbal and visual communication in describing and explaining technical subjects. It is also designed to promote interest in the art of communication. Competitors must give an oral presentation on a subject relating to mechanical engineering. The duration of the presentation must not exceed 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for discussion and questions from the judging panel.

90% of the total marks are given for presentation with only 10% for technical content. This ensures that while all presentations must have mechanical engineering content in its broadest sense (e.g. purpose, research, design, feasibility and practicality), a topic concerning comparatively ‘low’ technology has an equal chance of success as one which is technologically very complex.


Prizes are awarded to 1st and 2nd places in all competition heats and the regional and global finals. Prize money for the 2024 competitions is as follows:

Competition Heats

  • 1st Prize – £300 & certificate
  • 2nd Prize - £200 & certificate.

Regional Finals**

  • 1st Prize - £500 & certificate
  • 2nd Prize - £300 & certificate

**Americas, Europe, Middle East & Africa, North East Asia, Oceania, South Asia, South East Asia, UK & Ireland Regional Finals

Global Final

  • 1st Prize - £1,000 & certificate
  • 2nd Prize - £500 & certificate

Prizes are funded from the Institution’s Trust for Education and Research. Any running costs associated with the competition are funded from regional budgets.

The decision of the judges on the award of the prizes shall be final.

Eligibility and Competition Rules

  • Competitors must give an oral presentation on a mechanical engineering subject to be broken down as follows:
    • Presentation length: 20 mins
    • Question & Answer session: 10 mins
  • The presentation must be made by an individual regardless of whether the subject is part of a group technical project.
  • At the time of the competition, all competitors MUST be Young Members of the Institution. A Young Member is an Affiliate, Associate or Member of the Institution who has been professionally registered for ten years or less. In the event that a competitor is not a Young Member of the Intuition they will be immediately disqualified from the competition and no prize money or certificate will be issued.
  • There should be no conflict of interest between organisers and entrants. SOFE organisers cannot compete in the competition. An organiser found to be competing in the competition will not be eligible to receive prize money or certificate.
  • Prize money will not be awarded in competitions of fewer than four participants. Organisers will ensure there is an adequate number of participants (at least 4) so there are no automatic winners of the competition. The competition may be run locally without prize money if there are fewer than four participants. If this occurs, only a certificate will be issued to the winner.
  • Prize money is fixed and will not be split.
  • Competitors are required to complete the Speak Out for Engineering: Competitors’ Registration Form. Failure to submit this registration form may invalidate the entry.
  • A winning entry in any year is not eligible for entry in subsequent years. In the event that a previous winning entry has participated in a subsequent competition heat, no prize money or certificate will be issued.

Competition Heats

Each region is responsible for organising their respective heats. Each SOfE organiser will be responsible for making the decision as to whether local SOfE competitions take place in person or on a virtual platform. To ensure fairness it is recommended that each SOfE competition must either be conducted fully virtually or in person.

  • Organisers may wish to run the competition heat over several occasions i.e. one Region may prefer to run the competition heat on one evening only, whilst another may prefer to hold it over a series of evenings or during the daytime. Please note that there will only be one set of prizes available, regardless of the number of occasions the competition heat has taken place.
  • The organiser will have the discretion to determine whether the competition will be run over more than one separate occasion and it may be necessary to limit the number of entries if there is significant interest.
  • Individual regions may wish to collaborate with the individual country/area panels to run a series of cross-regional heats.
  • Entries should be submitted to the local organiser and not directly to IMechE. The date of the competition will be at the discretion of the organiser, but they must take place in prior to the local regional final. Apart from the of the Global Final, all SOfE competitions must be completed by 31 December every year. 

How to Enter

  • The SOfE organiser will publicise and promote upcoming SOfE competition heats with the regional young members. This information will be made available on the regions NearYou page.
  • Competitors are required to complete the Speak Out for Engineering: Competitors’ Registration Form (found on the IMechE SOfE page) and return to the regional SOfE organiser by the requested date.
  • For 2024 Please contact HQ at contact sofe@imeche.org in advance of any competition heat arrangements.

Winners’ Notification Form

Winners of the competition heats will be contacted after the event and asked to complete a winner’s notification.

Prize Money & Certificates

Prize Money & Certificates will be issued by the Institution’s Prizes and Awards team.

Top Tips


  • Remember to introduce yourself to the judges/audience members.
  • Ensure you have a glass of water within easy reach.
  • Ensure all phones and any other distractions are on silent.

Contact Details

Please do not hesitate to contact the SOfE team if you have any queries.

HQ SOfE Team -  sofe@imeche.org

Prizes & Certificates - awards@imeche.org

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