Arup Director Mike Glover FREng has been named as the seventh winner of The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Sir Frank Whittle Medal for his achievement in the planning, design and construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Project (CTRL) – the first high speed rail link connecting the Channel Tunnel to St Pancras station in London.

The Sir Frank Whittle Medal is awarded to an engineer for outstanding and sustained achievement which has contributed considerably to the well-being of the nation. The field of activity changes annually. This year the Medal was awarded for engineering innovations in the delivery of large scale civil engineering structures. The award looks to reflect the achievements and legacy of the late Sir Frank Whittle whose most notable success was the invention of the jet engine.

Mike has been instrumental in the design and management of the technical aspects of the £5.8bn CTRL project and in implementing methods of construction Kent along the Eastern Thames Corridor and beneath London that required extensive programmes of testing and research. The 109km high-speed rail link will also enable high speed links with the rest of the UK and the urban rejuvenation of large depressed areas particularly around King’s Cross and East London. The project will have a major impact both economically and socially for UK commuters and was a key factor in London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

Mike, who is a Director at Arup and Technical Director of Rail Link Engineering, comments, “I am delighted and honoured that my contributions to the advancement of engineering and the successful delivery of large projects have been recognised by The Royal Academy of Engineering in this way. I would like this award to bring focus to the massive contribution that engineers make to the wellbeing and advancement of society and particularly to inspire the next generation of budding engineers to take up the exciting challenges that the future holds.”

Judging Panel Chair, Professor Richard Williams FREng remarks on this year’s award winner, “Mike Glover so ably demonstrates sustained dedication and achievement in the meticulous planning, management and development of this extraordinary infrastructure for transportation. There could be no better illustration of the vitality and importance of British engineering and its impact for the wellbeing of the UK.”

Dave Pointon, Managing Director, Union Railways North says, “As the first new railway to be built in the UK for more than a century, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link has, by any standards, been a project that ranks alongside the celebrated Victorian projects. No-one has made a greater contribution to its realisation than our chief engineer and technical director on the project Mike Glover. Mike combines in-depth technical analytical skills with a creative design flair and the ability to plan for construction. This is a rare combination.”

Notes for editors

  1. 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.
  2. The Sir Frank Whittle Medal was first awarded in 2001 to the creator of the world-wide web, Professor Tim Berners-Lee OBE FREng FRS for his achievements in communication. In 2005 the Medal was awarded to world expert in electrical and electromagnetic devices, Professor Peter John Lawrenson, Emeritus Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Leeds in recognition of his generally applicable design methologies and the development of electrical machines used worldwide, including the invention and commercialisation of switched reluctance drives.

    Frank Whittle was born in Coventry in 1907, the son of a skilful mechanic and inventor. From an early age he experimented in his father's factory and was fascinated by the fledgling aviation industry. He joined the RAF in 1923 as an apprentice. His talents were soon recognised and he qualified as a pilot at the RAF College, Cranwell, before reading Mechanical Sciences at the University of Cambridge. While at Cranwell he had developed a thesis on jet propulsion and patented his design in 1930, but officials at the Air Ministry dismissed his ideas as impractical. However, in 1936 he and some associates founded a company, Power Jets Ltd, to develop the theory. Despite political and financial adversity, Whittle's jet engine made its maiden flight on 15 May 1941, powering the purpose-built Gloster E28/39. By 1944 the engine was in service with the RAF. The technology quickly spread and has been fully exploited worldwide.

For more information please contact

Tonia Page at The Royal Academy of Engineering