Representatives of the UK’s leading engineering institutions gathered at the Royal Academy of Engineering last month to discuss some of the key policy issues affecting the UK at the one-year anniversary plenary of the National Engineering Policy Centre.

In a keynote speech to delegates, Parliamentary and Scientific Committee chair Stephen Metcalfe MP said that he welcomed the Policy Centre as an opportunity to bring the UK’s professional engineering institutions together. “Shaping and developing the way the world looks in 2120 will be engineers,” he said. “I don’t think you need to be an engineer to understand the contribution engineering makes now and for our future prosperity.”

Parliamentary and Scientific Committee chair Stephen Metcalfe MP speaking at the event

The National Engineering Policy Centre is an ambitious partnership, led by the Academy, between 39 different UK engineering organisations representing 450,000 engineers. The Centre connects policymakers with critical engineering expertise to inform and respond to policy issues of national importance.

Introducing the day, Dr Nick Starkey, Director of Policy at the Academy, gave an overview of the Policy Centre’s activities. He said that the Policy Centre was seeking to have the maximum positive impact on the policy-making process, and wanted to enhance collaboration between partners, giving as an example an open letter sent to the Prime Minister after the general election, which was signed by 34 partners of the Policy Centre.

Delegates participated in interactive sessions to discuss the Policy Centre’s activity over the last year, its plans for the future, and how their priorities will develop during 2020.

Topics discussed at the event

The plenary ended with a lively discussion of the realities of resource sustainability, the role of social science and early public engagement in avoiding missteps and communicating effectively about the transition to net zero carbon emissions. The multidisciplinary panel included Professor Nilay Shah FREng, Deputy Chair of the Policy Centre’s decarbonisation working group; Dr Emily Cox, Research Associate in the School of Psychology at Cardiff University; Professor Julian Allwood FREng, Professor of Engineering and the Environment at the University of Cambridge and Dr Joanna Boehnert, Lecturer in Design and the Creative Industries at Loughborough University. The Policy Centre is currently undertaking a project looking a systems approach to decarbonisation, and how policymakers can achieve the complex challenge of delivering the UK’s climate target.

Notes for Editors

  1. 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: Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. 0207 766 0636; email: jane.sutton@raeng.org.uk