Speaking at The Royal Academy of Engineering last night, Business, Innovation and Skills Secretary Lord Mandelson outlined the opportunities and challenges facing UK engineering and set out how the Government is investing in the country’s science and engineering capabilities.

Giving the Academy’s annual Hinton Lecture, Lord Mandelson said that, far from being a post-industrial economy, the UK retains exceptional strengths in engineering and advanced manufacturing, with huge potential in a global economy that will put a premium on low-carbon technologies and hi-tech industries. He said the nation must invest in these sectors and in the skills to help them grow.

“I think we need to work on our pitch for a new generation of engineers and applied scientists in this country,” said Lord Mandelson.

“Think for a moment of the major challenges of the decade ahead – climate change, public health, communications, transport, international development, the list goes on. In every case, our scientific and technological literacy will be the measure of our capacity to overcome them. That’s our collective challenge.”

Lord Browne of Madingley, President of The Royal Academy of Engineering, said:

“Over the last year, Lord Mandelson has repeatedly said that the UK needs ‘less financial engineering and more real engineering’. We could not agree more. Engineers face both science and commerce – solving problems while creating wealth.

“The engineering profession has recently combined its efforts in a new way, giving support to a joint initiative called ‘Engineering the future.’ Together we are stronger than when we act apart, and registering a strong shared engineering vision with policy makers and politicians is one of our key goals.

“The global slowdown has focused attention on the need to rebalance and diversify our economy. We need to refocus on our comparative advantages including creating world-leading, technology based products and services. It is engineers – as innovators, problem-solvers and entrepreneurs – who will help deliver this future.”

Watch video clips from the Hinton Lecture 2009

Notes for editors

  1. The Academy’s annual Hinton Lecture is named after its first President, the late Lord Hinton of Bankside. One of the most eminent engineers of the 20th century, Lord Hinton’s career took him to the top of the power generation sector, culminating in his appointment as the first chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board.
  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

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