The Royal Academy of Engineering, representing the UK’s leading engineers, last night awarded one of its highest accolades to Rolls-Royce plc. On 14 January, Rolls-Royce became the first company to receive the President’s Medal for particular initiative in promoting excellence in engineering. Instigated in 1987, the medal has previously only been presented to individuals.

Lord Browne of Madingley, President of the Academy, said: “Over the years, many engineers from Rolls Royce have won awards made by this Academy. We decided to now award the President's Medal to the company as a whole in recognition of its sustained contribution to technological and commercial excellence in engineering in Britain and around the world. It is a great privilege to make this award to such a great company whose name has been synonymous with quality for over a century.”

Sir John Rose, Rolls-Royce Chief Executive, said: “Rolls-Royce is greatly honoured to receive the President's medal and the recognition it gives to the excellence of the Company's engineers over many generations. Engineering is vital to the UK's competitiveness and the Royal Academy of Engineering's very valuable work is helping to inspire the next generation of engineers."

Rolls-Royce is the UK’s leading engineering company, offering power systems and services for the global Civil and Defence Aerospace, Marine and Energy markets. The Group has an annual turnover of more than £7 billion and a record order book of over £35 billion. Some 87 per cent of its sales are to destinations outside the UK. Rolls-Royce has 54,000 gas turbines in service globally, and is now the world’s number two aero engine company in both civil and defence aerospace.

The Trent family of engines is particularly successful. Trent engines are the world market leaders for powering Airbus and Boeing’s modern wide-bodied aircraft and the marine Trent powers both of the US navy’s new programmes, the DDG-1000 and the Littoral Combat Ship. The industrial Trent generates electricity and pumps gas in a growing number of world-wide locations.

The success of Rolls-Royce is based upon its commitment to excellence in engineering and to outstanding leadership sustained over many years. In the next five years it is likely to spend over £3 billion on R&D. The success of its collaboration with universities, through its University Technology Centres, is the envy of other companies worldwide.

Minister for Science and Innovation, Ian Pearson, said “As a leader in technological advances and engineering excellence, Rolls-Royce has improved the safety, efficiency, and economy of aviation around the globe. It has also established one of the most successful examples of university-industry collaboration in engineering in the world.”

Professor Colin Humphreys, Goldsmiths’ Professor of Materials Science at the University of Cambridge, says “In our schools, the exciting leading-edge technology of Rolls-Royce has attracted many pupils into engineering and the Rolls-Royce Science Prize is helping our science teachers to inspire scientists of the future. It is hugely appropriate to award the President’s Medal to this outstandingly successful engineering company that is ‘simply the best’.”

Notes for editors

  1. Academy President Lord Browne of Madingley presented Rolls-Royce with the President’s Medal at the President’s Reception in London on the evening of 14 January 2008.
  2. More Rolls-Royce engineers than from any other company have won the Academy’s prestigious Silver Medal for an outstanding personal contribution to British engineering, including Colin Smith (Director – Engineering and Technology), Mike Terrett (Chief Operating Officer) and Peter Price (Director of Engineering – Civil Aerospace). Former Director – Engineering and Technology Philip Ruffles won the Academy’s highest individual award, the Prince Philip Medal, in 2001.
  3. Rolls-Royce has won The Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award for engineering innovation three times – most recently in 1996 for the Trent engine family. The company shared the first MacRobert Award in 1969 for the Pegasus engine for the RAF Harrier.
  4. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

Jane Sutton at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7227 0536