The first in a second series of the grand challenges events in collaboration with the National Academy of Engineering in the USA and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the Summit will convene speakers not only within the industry but beyond.

The Summit is taking place at the Queen Elizabeth II Hall on London’s South Bank, overlooking the Thames, offering a central location for discussion.

Please note that Summit timings, details, sessions and speakers are subject to change. 


Monday 16 September 

3pm-6pm Registration 
6pm-8pm Welcome reception: speeches by Academy Presidents

Tuesday 17 September

  • Will AI and other transformational technologies change humanity for the better?

Main session



8.15am Registration and refreshments
9.30am Opening session: The role of engineering in an unpredictable world

Young speakers present their vision for engineering and technology in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering.

Confirmed speakers:
Gitanjali Rao, Student and inventor
Adrian Vincent Opinion, Trust for Sustainable Living Essay Competition Winner

Followed by a panel of the three Academy presidents :

  • UK: Professor Dame Ann Dowling OBE DBE FREng FRS
  • US: Dr John L. Anderson
  • China: Professor Ji Zhou FREng 
10.30am Coffee and networking break

Better businesses: What do AI and transformational technologies mean to the world of work?

AI and other data-driven technologies are transforming industries, from manufacturing to healthcare, all around the world. This session will explore the technologies underpinning this revolution and their integration into our businesses and workplaces. How can businesses take advantage of these technologies to address social and business needs? And what sort of workforce do they need to make that happen?

Confirmed speakers:

Dr Hayaatun Sillem, CEO, Royal Academy of Engineering (moderator)
Professor Juergen Maier CBE FREng, CEO Siemens UK
William Tunstall-Pedoe, Entrepreneur
Diane Greene, Co-founder and former CEO VMware
Dr Zhonghan Deng, Member of Chinese Academy of Engineering, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist, Vimicro Corporation                                                                                       Chris Benson, Principal Artificial Intelligence Strategist, Lockheed Martin

12.20pm Lunch
1.40pm Ethical AI: What does 'good' digital technology look like?

AI and other digital technologies increasingly let us outsource our decision-making. This generates huge opportunities but also significant ethical questions. What decisions should machines be allowed to make? Will they deliver fair and equitable answers? And how will we know if they go wrong? This session will explore these questions, and the role of engineers in delivering responsible technology to drive positive change.

Confirmed speakers:

Professor Luciano Floridi (moderator), Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information, University of Oxford
Professor Dame Wendy Hall DBE FREng FRS, Regius Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton
Azeem Azhar, Entrepreneur, venture capitalist & Senior Advisor to CTO, Accenture
Sue Daley, Associate Director of Tech & Innovation, Tech UK 
3pm Coffee and networking break

Transformational technology: How will new innovations revolutionise our world?

In this session, speakers will present their visions for how cutting-edge technologies have the potential to change the way we live in cities and communities around the world (and maybe beyond!)

Introductory remarks by Dr Keoki Jackson, Chief Technology Officer, Lockheed Martin

Confirmed speakers:

Dr Gill Pratt (via video), Founding CEO of the Toyota Research Institute
Rob Meyerson, Space engineer and former CEO at Blue Origin 
Sir Mark Walport FRS FMedSci, CEO, UK Research & Innovation                          Professor Jackie Hunter CBE FMedSci


Improving lives: The transformational impact of engineering innovation

This session will showcase entrepreneurs supported by the Academy’s international programmes who have developed scalable technology solutions to local challenges, delivering improved quality of life and economic development

Confirmed speakers:

Dr Shakir Mohamed (moderator), Research scientist at Deepmind
Brian Turyabagye, Chief Data Scientist and co-founder, MamaOpe Medicals
Chelmis Thiong’o, Co-Founder and Engineer, Sign-IO
Anne Rweyora, Founder, Smart Havens Africa
Evangelista Chekera, Founder, Passion Poultry

5.30pm David Rowan to end the first day


Parallel events




8.15am-9.15am   Mentoring opportunties 
10.30am-10.55am Purcell room My engineering journey: Talk followed by Q&A

Dr Caroline Hargrove FREng, CTO, Babylon Health
12.25pm-12.45pm Purcell room My engineering journey: Talk followed by Q&A

Andrei Iancu, Director, US Patent and Trademark Office
12.50pm-1.35pm Purcell room

Fireside chat – autonomous vehicles

Dr Jack Stilgoe, Associate Professor in Science and Technology Studies, University College London                                                        

Dr Alex Kendall, Research Fellow, University of Cambridge; Co-founder and CTO, Wayve

1.40pm-2.40pm   Foyer booths Mentoring opportunities 
3.05pm-3.45pm Purcell room Fireside chat – AI and ethics – continuing the discussion

Professor Luciano Floridi, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information and Director of the Digital Ethics Lab, Oxford Internet Institute and Dr James Williams, writer and academic
5.35pm-6pm  Foyer booths Mentoring opportunities

Wednesday 18 September

  • Can we sustain 10 billion people?



7.45am Registration and refreshments
9am Introduction by David Rowan 

Student Co-lab competition final

This session will see the top four Student Collaboration Lab event mixed country teams pitch their innovations to the Summit

Moderator: Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Engineer, author, and broadcaster

10.10am Keynote

Lord Martin Rees Kt OM HonFREng HonFMedSci FRS, Astronomer Royal at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
10.35am Coffee break and networking
11am Increasing resilience: How can engineering reduce the risks of climate change?

Delivering a sustainable energy supply, while mitigating the risks associated with changing climate, is undoubtedly one the toughest and most pressing challenges of our time, for developing countries and advanced economies alike. This session will explore how engineers can help address these dual challenges and deliver a low carbon resilient global future

Confirmed speakers:

Jo Swinson MP (moderator), Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Member of Parliament for East Dunbartonshire
Hannah Olmberg-Soesman, COO and Co-Founder of Guguplex Technologies
Professor Jianyun Zhang FREng, President, Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute
Dr Amrit Chandan, Co-founder & CEO of Aceleron
Professor Klaus Lackner, Director, Center for Negative Carbon Emissions
12.30pm Lunch
2pm Future cities: How do we create sustainable living places for 10 billion people?

Increasing numbers of people creates increasing demand for appropriate housing, workplaces, and access to food, water, energy, and waste services. Will smarter technology in ever-bigger cities be the answer? Or is there an alternative future? This session will explore the central role engineers must play in meeting these challenges, and moving our cities towards a circular economy

Confirmed speakers:

Professor Dame Henrietta Moore DBE FBA (moderator), Director of the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London
Dr Jian Wang, Chairman of Alibaba Group Technology Committee, founder of Alibaba Cloud
Monica von Schmalensee, Adviser to Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London; President, Swedish Council for Sustainable Cities
Professor Zhiqiang Wu, Vice President of Tongji University, Shanghai
Peter Lacy, Senior Managing Director, Accenture Strategy, UK & Ireland
3.15pm Future wellbeing: How do we sustain a healthy population of 10 billion?

New technologies, from AI doctors to novel neural interfaces, have the potential to deliver life changing health benefits or even to change humanity itself. But is technology always the best way to improve wellbeing? Will it be accessible to 10billion people? And who decides where limits should lie?

Confirmed speakers:

Dr Loubna Bouarfa, founder & CEO, OKRA Technologies
Christine Schindler, Co-Founder & CEO of PathSpot
Neo Hutiri, Founder, Pelebox; 2019 Africa Prize Winner
4pm Closing session

Confirmed speaker:

Dean Kamen, President of DEKA Research and Founder of FIRST
5pm Closing reception 

Parallel events




8.15am-9am Foyer booths Mentoring opportunities
8.20am-9am Purcell room

Fireside chat: Engineering entrepreneurship

Dr Sam Chapman (moderator), Founder and CEO, Kenoteq

Chris Mairs CBE FREng, Venture Partner, Entrepreneur First

Maria Dramalioti-Taylor, Managing Partner, Beacon Capital LLP

David Byard, Technology Business Development Manager, BP

10.40am-11.00am Purcell room

My engineering journey: Talk followed by Q&A

Rob Meyerson, space engineer and former CEO, Blue Origin

12.30pm-1.15pm Purcell room

My engineering journey: Talk followed by Q&A

Professor Liz Tanner OBE FREng FRSE, Bonfield Professor of Biomedical Materials, Queen Mary University of London

Dr Shakir Mohamed, Research scientist in statistical machine learning and artificial intelligence, DeepMind

1.20pm-1.50pm Purcell room

My engineering journey: Talk followed by Q&A

Dr Olivia Feng, Founder and CEO, ICAN Future Star

Dr Jian Wang, Chairman, Alibaba Group Technology Committee and Founder, Alibaba Cloud

Professor Weijia Yuan, Professor of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Strathclyde

Professor Sheng Xu, Assistant Professor of Nanoengineering, Bioengineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering, UC San Diego

2pm-3pm Foyer booths Mentoring opportunities
3.15pm-4pm Purcell room Fireside chat – Greenhouse gas removal/carbon sequestration

Professor Nilay Shah FREng, Director of the Centre for Process Systems Engineering, Imperial College London
Professor Raffaella Ocone OBE FREng FRSE, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Heriot-Watt University
Professor Klaus Lackner, Director, Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Arizona State University