Academy President Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS shared some of her engineering research ideas with students at Ken Stimpson Community School in Peterborough on Wednesday 17 January. Dame Ann’s talk, during the launch week for the Year of Engineering, was part of the Speakers for Schools programme of aspirational talks for young people. Each year, Speakers for Schools coordinates nearly 1,000 assembly talks in UK state schools with influential, eminent figures, to encourage and inspire students of all backgrounds in their future ambitions. 

Following Dame Ann’s talk, students had the opportunity to quiz her about her work in acoustics and reducing fuel consumption in aircraft, particularly on the Silent Aircraft Initiative that she led as a joint project between the University of Cambridge and MIT. The talk included a demonstration showing the students how engineers study the air flow over and around aircraft wings.

Dame Ann says: “Engineers look at the world around them and think ‘how can I make it a better place? What challenges can I solve?’. If you want to use creativity, problem solving and team work to bring your ideas to life, shape the future and make a difference – engineering is for you!

“We need lots more engineers from all backgrounds to join the profession, so much so that government has designated 2018 as the Year of Engineering to highlight the scale of opportunity that a career in engineering holds for young people in the UK.”

Paul Swift, Assistant Principal at Ken Stimpson Community School, says: “'It was a pleasure to welcome Dame Ann Dowling to the school to engage our students in engineering. The presentation was excellent, utilising a range of demonstrations and aspects of design to show our young people what they can go into the big wide world and achieve. Ann was informative and approachable, our students felt comfortable asking her questions and, having spoken to them afterwards, they enjoyed the talk immensely!”

Ashley Hodges, Executive Director, Speakers for Schools, says “We are so grateful to Dame Ann Dowling for sharing her insights and experiences with Ken Stimpson Community School students this week as part of Speakers for Schools. Dame Ann’s talk showed students the exciting role engineering plays in society and captured the imagination of students. We hope this opportunity will help to inspire the next generation of engineers and STEM leaders. Through our work with Dame Ann and the Royal Academy of Engineering, we hope to attract even more of the engineering pioneers and leaders of today to be a part of our work.”

Notes for Editors

1. Speakers for Schools is a UK charity launched in 2011 helping state schools inspire their students and broaden horizons through access to the insights, experiences and expertise of today’s leading figures through free talks and more — free of charge. Founded by journalist Robert Peston, the charity has facilitated over 4,200 free school talks to date, reaching over 500,000 young people across the UK with its network of eminent figures ranging from CEOs of FTSE 100 companies, arts figures and award-winning journalists to political leaders and diplomats. Chaired by Andrew Law with a board of trustees, it is wholly funded by the Law Family Charitable Foundation.

2. 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:

- Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation

- Address the engineering skills crisis

- Position engineering at the heart of society

- Lead the profession 

For more information please contact:

Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering

T: 020 7766 0636

E:  Jane Sutton