Melbourne has won the right to host the four-yearly World Engineers' Convention in 2019, esteemed by many as the "Olympics" of the global engineering industry.

Australia’s bid for Melbourne to host the convention came out on top following a secret ballot held at the World Engineers Summit in Singapore over the weekend.

Australia beat out a highly aggressive bid by the Dubai-based UAE Society of Engineers, which enjoyed formidable financial backing as well as significant inducements for delegates to vote in their favour.

“They threw a lot of money at the bid and made a lot of offers to pay for delegates to attend and so forth,” said Dr. Marlene Kanga, president of Engineers Australia, in an interview with Business Review Weekly on Monday.

Kanga said that Engineers Australia took a different tact, focusing instead upon the increasing role of international collaboration between members of the profession in future.

“I emphasized things that money can’t buy,” Dr. Kanga said.

“We represent the engineering profession. We set the standards of education for engineers and professional development. Engineering professionals are increasingly working internationally. We see much of our future being tied up internationally.”

Australia submitted its bid to host the event to the World Federation of Engineering Organizations in September 2012, a year earlier than the six-year advance time frame that conventionally marks the point at which nations launch their campaigns.

At that time Australia was the sole bidder for the 2019 event, which also happens to be the centenary of Engineers Australia.

UAE’s national engineering body subsequently submitted a bid for the event in April, despite Australia’s request for it to refrain from doing so.

The four-yearly convention is considered the world’s peak general assembly of representatives from 90 national engineering associations, and attracts between 4,000 and 5,000 delegates.

Kanga says that in addition to the immediate economic benefits provided by the event, which is estimated at around $2,000 per delegate, Melbourne’s hosting of the convention will provide a sterling opportunity for the Australian engineering sector to promote itself internationally.

“We’ll be doing site visits, not for traditional engineering – civil and infrastructure – but the new engineering which abounds around Melbourne and in places like Geelong,” Kanga said.

“These are things like advanced manufacturing, additive manufacturing and nano-technology. We’ll have site visits to these facilities to show you wher engineering is going, which many in the world may not know about.”