Former Senior Vice President of the Royal Academy of Engineering Professor Richard Williams OBE FREng FRSE FTSE has been awarded one of the Academy’s highest accolades, the President’s Medal, in recognition of his significant contribution to the Academy’s aims and work. He received the medal from Academy President Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS on Thursday 11 July at the Academy’s Awards Dinner at London’s Banqueting House.

Professor Williams has made an enormous and valued contribution to the Academy and engineering. In 2000, he was elected as a Fellow of the Academy in recognition of his innovative research into the application of tomography and instrumentation to the behaviour of fine particles and colloids in minerals and chemical process engineering. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and holds an honorary professorship of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

He has been involved in the oversight and operation of the Academy and its programmes and has been one of its most dedicated Fellows. This has included being a Trustee, Chair of the Awards Committee and ERA Entrepreneurs Award Committee, and a member of the Nominations Committee and International Committee. He was the inaugural Vice-President for Fellowship Engagement from 2014 to 2018.

Notable achievements in these Academy roles include a review of Academy governance to shape Trustee selection and building a wider programme of events to enable more Fellows across the UK to engage with Academy activities.

He has worked extensively to develop relationships with academic and industrial partners in Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa, and is interested in public engagement projects across the arts, science and engineering.

Professor Richard Williams receives the President's Medal from Dame Ann Dowling

Academy President Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS said: “Richard Williams has made very significant contributions to the Academy, and the impact of his work has been positive and far reaching. His tireless dedication to the Academy is highly valued by our Fellowship.”

Notes to editors

  1. Professor Richard Williams OBE FREng FRSE FTSE is Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University. His background is as an academic and entrepreneur in mineral engineering, energy storage systems and environmental technologies.  He gained his first degree and PhD at Imperial College London and has held posts at the University of Manchester (UMIST), University of Exeter (Camborne School of Mines), and as Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leeds (2005-2011) and University of Birmingham (2011-2015). He has founded several innovation-based businesses including two PLCs.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK), the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (Australia) and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He has worked extensively in establishing new educational and research collaborations in the Middle East, Africa, Singapore, Malaysia and China. He is a visiting professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing), Tianjin University of Finance & Economics and at Southeast University (Nanjing). He is a trustee of the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, an Advisory Board member of the Lloyds Register Foundation, Lloyds Register 100A1 Ambassador, a Non-Executive Board Director of the British Geological Survey, a member of the Converge Challenge Strategic Advisory Board, Chair of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise, International Convener for Universities Scotland and an appointed Advisor to the UK Board of Trade.
  2. The President’s Medal is awarded to an Academy Fellow who has contributed significantly to the organisation’s aims and work through their initiative in promoting excellence in engineering.
  3. Annual Awards Dinner 2019. This year’s Royal Academy of Engineering Awards Dinner took place at London’s Banqueting House on Thursday 11 July. Along with the announcement of the winner of this year’s MacRobert Award, the event also celebrates the winners of other awards and prizes including the Major Project Award, Silver Medal, President’s Medal, Rooke Award and RAEng Engineers Trust Young Engineer of the Year. The headline sponsor of this year’s Awards Dinner was Rolls-Royce, with additional silver sponsors BP and Lockheed Martin.
  4. Royal Academy of Engineering

As the UK’s national academy for engineering and technology, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers from academia and business – our Fellows – to advance and promote excellence in engineering for the benefit of society.

We harness their experience and expertise to provide independent advice to government, to deliver programmes that help exceptional engineering researchers and innovators realise their potential, to engage the public with engineering and to provide leadership for the profession. 

We have three strategic priorities:

  • Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation and businesses
  • Address the engineering skills and diversity challenge
  • Position engineering at the heart of society

We bring together engineers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics, educators and the public in pursuit of these goals.

Engineering is a global profession, so we work with partners across the world to advance engineering’s contribution to society on an international, as well as a national scale.

For more information please contact: Victoria Runcie at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. 020 7766 0745; email: victoria.runcie@raeng.org.uk