Sir William Barlow at Guildhall to celebrate the Academy's Royal Title

The Royal Academy, and a move

From the very start of his presidency, Sir William Barlow FREng set out to raise the Fellowship's profile and enhance its influence. He used his past experience as Chairman of the Post Office to engage key players in government, encouraging them to participate in Academy events. His style was exemplified by a Fellows' dinner at Guildhall in the City of London on 2 July 1992, held to celebrate the granting of a Royal Title creating the Royal Academy of Engineering. This event was attended by the Senior and Royal Fellows, the President of the Board of Trade, ministers, senior civil servants and representatives of the City, industry, academia and overseas academies.

Thanks to the success of an appeal in the early 1990s, the Academy was able to move in 1994 from its offices in Little Smith Street to more substantial accommodation at 29 Great Peter Street, Westminster.

Increasing influence

The Academy contributed fully to the consultations for the 1993 science White Paper, Realising Our Potential, successfully arguing that existing research funding arrangements through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the SERC should be replaced by a new research council, to better co-ordinate engineering-related research. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), was created in 1994. The Academy also emphasised that research strategies should support industry and wealth creation, objectives which were written into the mission statements of the new research councils. The Academy was a key advocate for and participated actively in the government's new Technology Foresight exercise from 1994.

A new activity, encouraged by Sir William, saw the Academy applying its expertise to current issues such as the safety of roll-on roll-off ferries. Another statement on the construction industry highlighted good practice in manufacturing industry that could usefully be adapted to the construction environment.

The Academy's influence was also increasingly felt at European as well as national level and it played an instrumental role in setting up the European Council for Applied Sciences and Engineering (Euro-CASE) in 1992.

The number of personal research chairs and senior research fellowships continued to expand. In 1996 the Academy co-sponsored with EPSRC a further series of research chairs in innovative manufacturing, which stemmed in part from the Academy's recommendation that industrial investment in long-term developmental research should be encouraged. There were also nine Clean Technology Research Fellowships, funded jointly with EPSRC.