National Women in Engineering Day


The Royal Academy of Engineering is delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Mary Ryan as the new Shell / Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair at Imperial College London, based in the College’s Department of Materials.


Professor Ryan already leads Shell’s programme for Materials and Corrosion at Imperial, which was set up to help industry develop new ways to manage and protect equipment by providing a better understanding of how to predict the behaviour of materials. Finding ways to reduce corrosion is a serious challenge for industry, estimated to cost the global economy upwards of $2.2 trillion annually and cause significant operational risks.

Professor Ryan’s new chair is for Interfacial Nanoscience for Engineering Systems, to carry out the underpinning research to link nanoscale processes to large scale corrosion – ultimately to make industrial processes safer, more predictable and more efficient.


“It is a huge honour to be awarded this prestigious Chair,” said Professor Ryan. “My work focusses on the nanoscale processes that can cause macroscopic failures. A major challenge is in understanding how materials react in real-world environments.


“We will use state-of the-art facilities and exploit developments in synchrotron science to develop new in-situ approaches to study complex systems over timescales relevant to industrial processes. We will also continue to work on using nanotechnology techniques to develop new protective materials such as smart antimicrobial coatings. These respond to changes in the surrounding environment to provide effective, environmentally friendly alternatives to conventional treatments.”


"I would like to congratulate Mary on this exciting appointment,” said Professor Jeff Magee FREng, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Imperial College London. “This Research Chair reflects Imperial’s priorities in developing multidisciplinary research and in fostering collaborations with other organisations. I am grateful for this support, and look forward to the College continuing to make a real contribution to solving the challenge of corrosion.”


Professor Mary Ryan, appointed as the new Shell / Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair at Imperial College London
“I am delighted that we are able to announce this important new Research Chair appointment on National Women in Engineering Day”, said Professor Dame Ann Dowling DBE FREng FRS, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering. “Professor Ryan’s work on advanced materials and corrosion is a crucial area for collaborative development between academia and industry and I am delighted that Shell is co-sponsoring the appointment.”


Shell, the industrial partner sponsoring the Chair, is working on developing tools that will help enhance asset lifetime, performance and management in the energy industry although the work will impact across many materials sectors in industry and medicine.

“Corrosion minimisation and effective risk management is a primary technological challenge and we welcome this exceptional opportunity to increase the understanding of degradation processes and failure mechanisms using a nanoscience approach”, said Erik Bonino, Chairman Shell UK Limited / Executive Vice President Downstream Technology.


“The design of sophisticated next-generation anti-corrosion protocols and accurate lifetime predictions is exceptionally challenging and requires a dedicated multi-disciplinary approach to provide the holistic understanding which will ultimately lead to greatly enhanced engineering performance and real world impact. We’re looking forward to welcoming Professor Ryan and the research team into our technology centres around the globe to further the understanding of the technical challenges, to drive technical innovation and to support the development of transferrable methodology in this critical area of research.”



Notes for Editors

  1. Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK's national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK's role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK's world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook. We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.


  1. Imperial College London is one of the world's leading universities. The College's 14,000 students and 7,500 staff are expanding the frontiers of knowledge in science, medicine, engineering and business, and translating their discoveries into benefits for society. Founded in 1907, Imperial builds on a distinguished past - having pioneered penicillin, holography and fibre optics - to shape the future. Imperial researchers work across disciplines to improve global health, tackle climate change, develop sustainable energy technology and address security challenges. This blend of academic excellence and its real-world application feeds into Imperial's exceptional learning environment, where students participate in research to push the limits of their degrees. Imperial nurtures a dynamic enterprise culture, where collaborations with industrial, healthcare and international partners are the norm. In 2007, Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust formed the UK's first Academic Health Science Centre. This unique partnership aims to improve the quality of life of patients and populations by taking new discoveries and translating them into new therapies as quickly as possible. Imperial has nine London campuses, including White City Campus: a 25 acre research and innovation centre in west London. At White City, researchers, businesses and higher education partners are co-locating to create value from ideas on a global scale. Read more at:



For more information please contact: 

Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering

T|: 020 7766 0636

E|:  Jane Sutton

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