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Title: FREng  
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Subject: Steve Furber, Bob Boucher, Belfast Royal Academy, Alan Burns (professor), David Grant (academic), Ian Fells, Alec Skempton, John Chisholm (executive), Jim Woodcock, Steve Shirley
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File:Royal Academy of Engineering Logo, green, October 2013.jpg
Motto To bring engineering to the heart of society
Formation June 1976
Headquarters London
Membership 3 Royal Fellows, 1,541 Fellows
President Sir John Parker GBE FREng
Senior Vice President Professor Sir William Wakeham FREng
The Royal Academy of Engineering is the UK’s national academy of engineering. The Academy brings together the most successful and talented engineers from across the engineering sectors for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering.

The Academy was founded in June 1976 as the Fellowship of Engineering with enthusiastic support from Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who became the first senior Fellow and as of 2013 remained so. The Fellowship was granted a Royal Charter in 1983 and became the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1992.[1][2][3]

The Royal Fellows of the Academy comprise Prince Philip, the Duke of Kent, and Anne, Princess Royal.[4] The Fellowship currently stands at over 1,400 distinguished engineers from across the sectors and disciplines, who lead, guide and contribute to the Academy’s work and provide expertise.[5] Up to 60 engineers are elected each year by their peers, distinguished by the title 'Fellow of The Royal Academy of Engineering' and the postnominal designation 'FREng'. Honorary and International Fellows who have made exceptional contributions to engineering are also elected.The current President of the Academy is Sir John Parker GBE FREng. The Immediate Past President is Lord Browne of Madingley.

The Academy’s activities are focused on positioning engineering at the heart of society by:

  • encouraging entrepreneurs and innovators to develop ideas, investing in a body of world-class, commercially useful research and the researchers to create it
  • shaping national policy as an independent adviser to, and delivery partner of, government.[6]
  • nurturing engineering education [7] and skills through leadership, policy advice and programmes to enhance teaching and learning
  • inspiring young people to become engineers, increasing diversity across the profession and celebrating engineering excellence and innovation
  • leading the profession, harnessing the strengths of the engineering institutions and providing the voice of engineering
  • recognising great engineering through prizes and awards
  • choosing the best engineers to join the Fellowship and supporting them in leading its activities

It is a national Academy with a global outlook and conducts a number of international activities [8] with partners across the world.

The Academy is also an instrumental player in two policy alliances set up in 2009 to provide coherent advice for engineering education and policy across the profession: Education for Engineering [9] and Engineering the Future.[10]

Activities of the Academy

Driving economic growth

The Academy invests in world class research, supporting the best people and focusing on areas that address specific issues and challenges. It also encourages and builds strong links between academia and industry, opening up opportunities for research to be translated into real world applications, products and services which in turn will generate wealth and jobs.

Academy activities also focus on how the UK can create the right climate in which innovation, entrepreneurship, business and industry can flourish.

Example activities: Engineering Enterprise Fellowships [11] and RAEng Research Fellowships.[12]

Foster better education and skills

The Academy works with the engineering profession and other partners to increase the diversity and number of people that study science, technology, engineering and mathematics and focuses on enriching the experience by bringing real-world engineering practice into schools, further education colleges and universities.

The Academy also hosts the professional engineering alliance Education for Engineering [13] which provides a unified voice in education debates and advice on all aspects of engineering education policy.

Lead the profession

The Academy harnesses the collective pan-engineering expertise of its Fellowship to act as an advisor to the British government by providing recommendations, analysis and solutions on a number of topical policy areas. At present, the Academy’s policy work focuses on energy, infrastructure, transport, sustainability, innovation, education and skills in addition to the issues that concern business and industry and rebalancing the economy.

The Academy is also host to the professional engineering alliance Engineering the Future [14] to provide a unified voice for engineering on matters that require expertise and advice from a number of engineering bodies.

Example activities include the reports Making green growth real: UK offshore wind supply chain [15] and Heat: degrees of comfort?.[16]

Promoting engineering at the heart of society

The Academy organises a number of events and debates[17] in addition to the production of a quarterly magazine, Ingenia,[18] to reach a variety of difference audiences and enhance awareness of engineering and how it influences the wider world.

The Academy also recognises and celebrates the most talented engineers by awarding prestigious prizes, including the annual MacRobert Award, Britain’s top prize for engineering innovation.[19]

The Academy’s public spaces in its building at 3 Carlton House Terrace have undergone renovation works and were re-opened in spring 2012 to provide a central platform for the UK to become the Forum for engineering engagement, debate, discussion and celebration.[20]

Carlton House Terrace and Prince Philip House

The Academy’s premises at 3-4 Carlton House Terrace are housed in a Grade I listed building overlooking St James’ Park, designed by celebrated architect John Nash and owned by the Crown Estates. The Academy shares the Terrace with two of its sister academies, the British Academy and the Royal Society as well as other institutes.

The building was renamed Prince Philip House,[21] in honour of the Senior Fellow, after renovation works were completed in 2012. Prince Philip House is also available for venue hire for meetings or events.


Conceived in the late 1960s, during the excitement of the Apollo programme and the buzz of Harold Wilson’s ‘white heat of technology’, the Fellowship of Engineering was born in the same year as Concorde’s first commercial flight.[22]

The Fellowship met for the first time on 11 June 1976 at Buckingham Palace where 126 of the UK’s finest engineers were enrolled, including jet engine genius Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, structural engineer Sir Ove Arup, radar pioneer Sir George MacFarlane, bouncing bomb inventor Sir Barnes Wallis, father of the UK computer industry Sir Maurice Wilkes, and the Fellowship’s first President, Lord Hinton, who had driven the UK’s supremacy in nuclear power.[23]

The Fellowship focused on championing excellence in all fields of engineering and activities began in earnest in the mid-1970s when the Distinction lecture series, now known as the Hinton lectures, was founded; the Fellowship was asked to advise the Department of Industry for the first time and the Academy became host and presenter of the MacRobert prize.[24]

In the 1980s, the Fellowship acquired its own Royal Charter, its first government grant-in-aid in addition to significant industrial funding, initiated its research programme to build bridges between academia and industry and opened its doors to International and Honorary Fellows.[25]

The Academy’s first major education initiative, Engineering Education Continuum began in 1990 and has now evolved into the BEST Programme [26] and Shape the Future and Tomorrow's Engineers.[27]

The Academy’s increasing level of influence – both in policy, research and education – was recognised when it was granted a royal title and became The Royal Academy of Engineering in 1992.[28]


The Academy strives to ensure that the pool of candidates for election to The Fellowship better reflects the diverse make-up society within which it exists. It set up the Proactive Membership Committee [29] in 2008 to identify and support the nomination of candidates from a range of underrepresented areas, aiming to boost the number of women candidates, engineers from industry and Small and Medium Enterprises, those from emerging technologies and ethically diverse backgrounds.[30]

The Academy’s current logo is inspired by human’s first technological advance: the Neolithic hand-axe, which was taken to be a symbol appropriate to the Academy, representative of the ever-changing relationship between humanity and technology.[31]

See also


External links

  • Royal Academy of Engineering website
  • Royal Academy of Engineering information
  • Engineering Education Scheme (England) website
  • Headstart website
  • Year in Industry website
  • Engineering Leadership Awards website
  • magazine website

Template:Science and technology in the United Kingdom

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