Arup Director Peter Head OBE FREng has been awarded The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Sir Frank Whittle Medal for his efforts to deliver an environmentally sustainable built environment in a rapidly urbanising world.

Peter Head has been a powerful advocate of engineering’s role in delivering sustainable development and active in sharing his knowledge for the good of the profession and society. His career has marked him out as one of the most innovative engineers of his generation, responsible for a number of innovations in the structural use of fibre reinforced plastics, including the world’s first major composite footbridge at Aberfeldy in 1992. His interest in composites has extended outside core civil engineering into the design of agricultural spray booms.

Joining Arup in 2004 as a Director Peter Head created a team to tackle integrated urbanism and recruited staff to develop his specification for an integrated resource model for city planning and low carbon city retrofit strategies. This is now being used by governments worldwide. Peter is recognised for his work as project director for planning China’s demonstrator Dongtan eco-city project, a development on an immense scale that looks to embrace social, economic and environmental goals. His team are working on another five eco-city projects in China, are designing the eco-town at Northstowe and a number of other zero carbon developments.

Peter Head OBE, Director of Arup comments, “This is an award I really cherish. I want to use this new platform to further increase awareness of the extreme urgency in reducing carbon emissions and the opportunity to create jobs in the process that will move the UK onto a more sustainable economic footing.”

Since 2001, The Royal Academy of Engineering has awarded the Sir Frank Whittle Medal annually to an engineer for outstanding and sustained achievement which has contributed considerably to the well-being of the nation. The award looks to reflect the achievements and legacy of the late Sir Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine. Previous winners have included Professor Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web.

Peter was presented with his medal by the President Lord Browne of Madingley at the New Year’s reception

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. Arup

    Arup is the global firm of designers, engineers and business consultants providing a diverse range of professional services to clients around the world.The firm is the creative and inspirational force behind many of the world’s most innovative and sustainable building, transport and civil engineering projects. Arup provides its clients with the brightest minds who provide extraordinary business advice and creative solutions for the built environment.

    Established in 1946, Arup has over 10,000 employees, based in more than 90 offices across more than 35 countries, working on up to 10,000 projects at any one time. Its unique structure, with the firm held in trust on behalf of its employees, gives Arup complete independence. Profit at 31 March 2008 was £81m GBP, before tax and profit share, while turnover rose 27% on the previous year to reach £726m.

    Arup’s multi-disciplinary approach means that any given project may involve people from any or all of the sectors or regions in which it operates. Its aim is to achieve excellence in all it does by bringing together the best professionals in the world to meet clients’ needs.

For more information please contact

Tonia Page, PR Consultant at The Royal Academy of Engineering email: 07770 845984


Beth Hurran at the Arup Press Office