Solutions to the world’s great water and energy challenges will be devised and delivered by engineers, Lord Browne of Madingley told an invited audience of early-career engineers last night (30 June).

Resources for Humanity, was the first of two themes chosen for an evening “In conversation with Lord Browne” to mark the end of his term as President and to celebrate the Academy’s 35th anniversary.

In his opening presentation, Lord Browne said: “Our profession, engineering, underpins the progress of humankind. For thousands of years engineers have unlocked the natural resources of the earth for the benefit of humanity. In the future, it will be engineers using the earth’s resources in new ways who continue that progress, solving the great challenges we face today.

“For engineers to succeed they must play more than a supporting role – they must be at the forefront of society, as leaders capable of driving change, not following it.”

Lord Browne discussed water projects around the world, including desalination in the Saudi Arabia, rainwater catchment in India and the “Red to Dead” project which plans to carry water between the two great seas of the Middle East.

On the topic of energy, he said that we will not find a single source of energy to solve our problems and that in future, we will need a mix of fossil fuels, nuclear and renewables.

Following his presentation, Lord Browne fielded over an hour of questions from the audience. Topics included how to develop leadership in the profession, the respective roles of business and government in tackling energy challenges and global trade and aid.

The evening was chaired by David Waboso FREng, Director for Engineering at London Underground. He said: “As I look around this room I am delighted to see so many of our brightest and best engineers. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to step back from all the day-to-day activity of my job, and to think about the future of our profession and the value of what we contribute.”

Download the full lecture:  Resources for Humanity (120.44 KB)

The second event, The Education of the Engineer, will take place on Tuesday, 5 July.

Notes for editors

  1. The Royal Academy of Engineering

    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

Ed Holmes on 0207 766 0655