Materials engineer and television presenter Professor Mark Miodownik has been named winner of a prestigious prize for his work in promoting engineering to the public.

Mark Miodownik, Professor of Materials and Society at University College London, has won this year’s Royal Academy of Engineering Rooke Medal for his dedication to raising the profile of engineering. Over the past 12 years Professor Miodownik has become a public champion of engineering: working with the Tate Modern to explore the engineering behind their collection, contributing to BBC Radio 4 programmes such as Material World and Start the Week, and writing and presenting the 2010 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures.

Mark Miodownik is also a regular presence on television, reaching audiences of millions through his work with the BBC. He presented the first ever BBC series on materials engineering, called How It Works, is the resident engineer on BBC2’s Dara O’Briain’s Science Club and most recently presented the BBC2 series Genius of Invention, which explored the history and engineering of British inventions.

Peter Goodhew FREng, Emeritus Professor of Engineering at the University of Liverpool who nominated Mark for the award, said: “Professor Mark Miodownik’s approach to raising the profile of engineering has been to encourage the media to portray engineering not just as creative and exciting, but also as fundamentally human.

“Despite the razzmatazz of his broadcasting career, he continues to work as an engineer, teacher, and research scientist. He provides a role model to millions of young people for what an engineer can be.”

Mark Miodownik is also the Director of The Institute of Making, based at University College London. The Institute of Making, which opened in March 2013, is a research club for makers of all disciplines, providing them with the space and equipment to collaborate and experiment.

On winning the award, Mark said: “I am thrilled to be this year’s Rooke Medal winner. I’ve been lucky in life to do what I love, but to be recognised by the Academy definitely puts an extra skip in my step.”

Chair of the Awards Committee Dervilla Mitchell FREng said: “From talks at festivals, to his latest book Stuff Matters – which I am greatly looking forward to readingMark is a truly worthy winner. Not only does his work appeal to and reach a wide audience, it has ‘real engineering’ at its heart. Mark is clearly passionate about promoting engineering to the wider public and his enthusiasm for the discipline shines through in everything he does.”

Previous winners of the Rooke Medal include computer science champion Professor Chris Bishop FREng FRSE, the team behind Walking with Robots, children's TV star Dr Johnny Ball and the man who 'propped up' the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Professor John Burland CBE FREng FRS.

The Awards committee have also highly commended a further two nominees – Dr Lucy Rogers and the campaign whynotchemeng, run by the Institution of Chemical Engineers - for their innovative promotion of engineering to the public. The committee held up Dr Rogers as an example of how an individual can leverage the power of social media and the internet to make an impact, while whynotchemeng was recognised for demonstrably raising the numbers of students choosing to study chemical engineering.

Mark Miodownik will collect his award at the Academy’s annual Awards Dinner on 17 July 2013, at Battersea Power Station.

Notes for editors

  1. The Rooke Medal for the public promotion of engineering is awarded to an individual, small team or organisation who has contributed to the Academy's aims and work through their initiative in promoting engineering to the public. The medal is named in honour of the late Sir Denis Rooke OM CBE FRS FREng, a former President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and one of the UK's most distinguished engineers. As Chairman of British Gas, his legacy was to build the UK's gas distribution network and unite the gas industry, making domestic gas a cheap and convenient fuel source for millions of people. He later became Chancellor of Loughborough University and served on many national advisory committees on both energy policy and education.
  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

Manisha Lalloo at the Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7766 0683; email: Manisha Lalloo