Four of the UK’s top women engineers have been elected to The Royal Academy of Engineering – a record number of women elected in one year but still highlighting the need for more diversity in the engineering profession. Geotechnical engineer Professor Sarah Springman, process engineer Professor Nina Thornhill, structural engineer Jane Wernick and software engineer Sophie Wilson join the Academy, which promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the UK. A total of 45 new Fellows were elected at its AGM in London on 6 July.

E.ON UK Chief Executive Paul Golby, Motorola Chairman Graeme Hobbs and Thames Water Chairman Sir Peter Mason are among the leading industrialists who have been elected as Fellows of the Academy this year. They are joined by some of the country’s most visionary academics, including Sir Michael Pepper, Pender Professor of Nanoelectronics at University College London, and Professor Brian Collins, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department of Transport and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

Sir John Rose, Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce plc, was elected an Honorary Fellow, together with Dr Mo Ibrahim, founder of Celtel International, Sir John Bell, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Sir John Sorrell, Chair of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.

“The Academy is an ambitious organisation,” said Academy President Lord Browne of Madingley at the AGM. “But none of our success would be possible without our Fellows who give their time and world-class expertise so selflessly in order to lead our work.”

The complete list of new Fellows for 2009 is as follows:


BELL, Professor Sir John
President of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University

IBRAHIM, Dr Mohamed
Founder and former Chairman of Celtel International. Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation

ROSE, Sir John
Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce plc

Co-founder of Newell and Sorrell, co-Chair of the Sorrell Foundation, Chairman of the London Design Festival, Chair of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment


Professor of Security Engineering, University of Cambridge

Senior Fellow, Technical Leader Passive Millimetre Wave Imaging, QinetiQ

ASKEW, Timothy Edward Arthur
Managing Director, Atkins Middle East and India Region; Group Executive Board Director, Atkins plc

Professor of Computer Science and Head of Department, University of York

BURROUGHES, Jeremy Henley
Chief Technology Officer, Cambridge Display Technology Ltd

COLLINS, Brian Stanley
Chief Scientific Advisor to both the Department for Transport and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills; Professor of Information Systems, Cranfield University

COWAN, Colin Frederick Nathaniel
Research Director for Digital Communications and Chair of Telecommunications Systems Engineering, Queen's University Belfast

CRONIN, Donal Gerard
Head, Global Engineering and Technology, AstraZeneca

ELLIOTT, Stephen John
Director, Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, University of Southampton

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Director of Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds

Chief Executive, E.ON UK plc

GROOM, John Douglas Graeme
Head of Safety, Health and Environment, Anglo American PLC, London

HARRIS, Robert William
Director, Ove Arup and Partners Ltd

HOBBS, Graeme Nigel
Chairman, Motorola Ltd

Director, Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre and Professor of Computational Engineering Dynamics, Imperial College London

JOHN, Philip
Professor of Systems Engineering and Head of Department of Human Factors and Systems Engineering, Cranfield University

MASON, Sir Peter
Chairman, Thames Water, Senior Independent Director, BAE Systems plc and Director, Acergy S.A.

Chief of Materiel Fleet, Ministry of Defence

McCANN, Hugh
Professor of Industrial Tomography, University of Manchester

Professor Electronic Communications Systems, University of Edinburgh

MUGHAL, Hamid Ghafoor
Executive Vice President, Manufacturing Engineering, Rolls-Royce plc

Professor of Coating Technology and Head of Surface Science and Engineering and Director of the National High Temperature Surface Engineering Centre, Cranfield University

ORR, David Malcolm
Corporate Services Director, Department of Finance and Personnel, Government of Northern Ireland

Director of Research, School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Queen Mary, University of London

PEPPER, Sir Michael
Pender Professor of Nanoelectronics, University College London; Senior Advisor, Cambridge Research Laboratory, Toshiba Research Europe Ltd

POWRIE, William
Professor of Geotechnical Engineering and Director of Knowledge Transfer, University of Southampton

Deputy Director, Optoelectronics Research Centre, University of Southampton

Professor of Ultra Precision Technologies and Head of Precision Engineering Centre, Cranfield University

SMITH, Robert Anthony Charles
Engineering Director Typhoon Mission Systems and International Programmes, BAE Systems

SPRINGMAN, Sarah Marcella
Professor of Geotechnical Engineering, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zurich (ETHZ)

ABB/RAEng Research Chair in Process Automation, Imperial College London

TOMLINSON, David Joseph
President and Chief Executive, Davy Process Technology Limited

WERNICK, Jane Melville
Director, Jane Wernick Associates Ltd

Group Managing Director, Programmes and Support, BAE Systems

WILLIAMS, John Austin
Professor of Engineering Tribology, Cambridge University

WILSON, Sophie Mary
Broadcom Corporation Director, IC Design and Distinguished Engineer

Professor, Technical University of Denmark

WYLLIE, Andrew
Chief Executive, Costain Group Plc


Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, ASSIA Inc; Hitachi America Professor Emeritus, Stanford University

POOR, Harold Vincent (USA)
Dean of Engineering and Applied Science, Princeton University

RAMAKRISHNA, Seeram (Singapore)
Vice-President (Research Strategy) National University of Singapore and Co-Director (Founder) of NUS Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Initiative, NUSNNI

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.

For more information please contact

Jane Sutton at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7766 0636