The Royal Academy of Engineering is to award its prestigious President’s Medal to Sir David Davies CBE FREng FRS for his consistent positioning of engineering at the highest levels in the UK throughout his distinguished career.

Sir David is one of the most influential engineers of his generation. Formerly Chief Scientific Advisor to the MoD, he has advised government on some of the most sensitive political and defence issues in modern times. He also served as non-executive chairman of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) from 1998-2000.

He is probably best known for his report to the Deputy Prime Minister on the options available to improve the safety of rail travel in the wake of the Ladbroke Grove train crash in October 1999 which killed 31 people and injured many more. His reasoned, technically robust report published in February 2000 provided a voice of calm in the clamour for immediate action. His evaluation of available safety systems and subsequent recommendations were endorsed by the ensuing Public Inquiries and he was later asked to become Chairman of Railway Safety, a new company set up to promote and oversee rail safety issues.

Sir David has also made significant technical contributions to the development of radar and communications and to higher education policy during his tenure as Professor of Electrical Engineering at UCL. He also served as Vice-Chancellor of Loughborough University (1988-1994), renowned for its engineering focus.

His own research work in antenna arrays, radar, signal processing and optical fibre is highly regarded – he won the Rank Prize for optoelectronics in 1984 and the Institution of Electrical Engineers’ Faraday Medal in 1987. He was elected to the Academy in 1979 and to the Royal Society in 1984, and was awarded a CBE in 1996. He was President of the IEE in 1994/5 and has served on the committees of many national bodies, including the BBC Engineering Advisory Committee and the Royal Society’s Science Inquiry Committee. Sir David was President of The Royal Academy of Engineering from 1996-2001.

Sir David’s career continues at the highest levels: he is currently a non-executive director of the ERA Foundation, Chairman of the Hazard’s Forum and safety advisor to the Board of National Grid plc.

Sir David will be presented with his Medal at The Royal Academy of Engineering Awards Dinner on 05 June in London.

Notes for editors

  1. The President’s Medal is awarded, not more often than once a year, to an organisation or individual, who has contributed significantly to the Academy’s aims and work through ’initiative in promoting excellence in engineering’. The 2005 President’s Medal was awarded to Jonathan Ive, Vice-President of Industrial Design at Apple, designer of the iMAC and the iPOD.
  2. 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

Amy Abbott, Manager, Events and Awards, The Royal Academy of Engineering