Harman Patil (Editor)

Royal Academy of Engineering

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June 1976



"To bring engineering to the heart of society"

3 Royal Fellows, 1,541 Fellows

Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM, DBE, FREng, FRS

The Royal Academy of Engineering is the UK’s national academy of engineering. The Academy brings together the UK's leading engineers, from across all engineering sectors, to advance and promote excellence in engineering.


The Academy was founded in June 1976 as the Fellowship of Engineering with support from Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who became the first Senior Fellow and, as of 2017, remains so. The Fellowship was incorporated and granted a Royal Charter on 17 May 1983 and became the Royal Academy of Engineering on 16 March 1992. It is governed according to the Charter and associated Statutes and Regulations (as amended from time to time).


The Fellowship currently includes over 1,500 engineers from all sectors and disciplines of engineering. The Fellows, distinguished by the title 'Fellow of The Royal Academy of Engineering' and the postnominal designation FREng, lead, guide and contribute to the Academy’s work and provide expertise. Up to 60 engineers are elected each year by their peers. Honorary and International Fellows who have made exceptional contributions to engineering are also elected.

The current President of the Academy is Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM, DBE, FREng, FRS, the first woman to hold the office. The Immediate Past President is Sir John Parker GBE FREng. The Royal Fellows of the Academy comprise Prince Philip, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and Anne, Princess Royal.


The Academy’s activities focus on positioning engineering at the heart of society by:

  • encouraging entrepreneurs and innovators to develop ideas, investing in a body of world-class, commercially useful research and the researchers to create it
  • shaping national policy as an independent adviser to, and delivery partner of, government.
  • nurturing engineering education and skills through leadership, policy advice and programmes to enhance teaching and learning
  • inspiring young people to become engineers, increasing diversity across the profession and celebrating engineering excellence and innovation
  • leading the profession, harnessing the strengths of the engineering institutions and providing the voice of engineering
  • recognising great engineering through prizes and awards
  • electing the best engineers to the Fellowship and supporting them in leading its activities
  • It is a national Academy with a global outlook and conducts a number of international activities with partners across the world.

    The Academy is also instrumental in two policy alliances set up in 2009 to provide coherent advice on engineering education and policy across the profession: Education for Engineering and Engineering the Future.

    The Academy is one of four agencies that receives funding from the UK's Department for Business Innovation & Skills for activities that support government policy on public understanding of science and engineering.

    As part of its programme to communicate the benefits and value of engineering to society, the Academy publishes a quarterly magazine, Ingenia[4]. The Academy says that Ingenia is written for a non-specialist audience and is "aimed at all those with an interest in engineering, whether working in business and industry, government, academia or the financial community". The Academy also makes Ingenia available to A-Level students in 3,000 schools in the UK.

    Awards and prizes

    With the support of the Worshipful Company of Engineers, the Academy manages the annual Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award, the premier prize for UK innovation in engineering. First presented in 1969, the award honours the winning company with a gold medal and the team members with a prize of £50,000.

    The Academy also manage the day-to-day running of the Queen Elizabeth Prize, for Engineering. The QEPrize is an international, £1 million engineering prize that "rewards and celebrates the engineers responsible for a ground-breaking innovation that has been of global benefit to humanity". The objective of the prize is to "raise the public profile of engineering and to inspire young people to become engineers".

    The Academy's Sir George Macfarlane Medal is an annual award that "recognises a UK engineer who has demonstrated excellence in the early stage of their career".


    Conceived in the late 1960s, during the Apollo space programme and Harold Wilson’s ‘white heat of technology’, the Fellowship of Engineering was born in the year of Concorde’s first commercial flight.

    The Fellowship's first meeting, at Buckingham Palace on 11 June 1976, enrolled 126 of the UK’s leading engineers. The first fellows included Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, the jet engine genius,the structural engineer Sir Ove Arup, radar pioneer Sir George MacFarlane, the inventor of the bouncing bomb, Sir Barnes Wallis, father of the UK computer industry Sir Maurice Wilkes. The Fellowship’s first President, Lord Hinton, had driven the UK’s supremacy in nuclear power.

    The Fellowship focused on championing excellence in all fields of engineering. Activities began in earnest in the mid-1970s with the Distinction lecture series, now known as the Hinton lectures. The Fellowship was asked to advise the Department of Industry for the first time and the Academy became host and presenter of the MacRobert Award.

    In the 1980s, the Fellowship received its own Royal Charter along with its first government grant-in-aid. At the same time it also received significant industrial funding, initiated its research programme to build bridges between academia and industry and opened its doors to International and Honorary Fellows.

    In 1990, the Academy launched its first major initiative in education, Engineering Education Continuum, which evolved into the BEST Programme and Shape the Future and Tomorrow's Engineers.

    The Academy’s increasing level of influence – in policy, research and education – was recognised when it was granted a royal title and became The Royal Academy of Engineering in 1992.

    Presidents of the Royal Academy of Engineering

    The President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the elected officer of the Academy, presides over meetings of the Council. The President is elected for a single term of not more than five years.


    The Academy strives to ensure that the pool of candidates for election to The Fellowship better reflects the diverse make-up of society. It set up the Proactive Membership Committee in 2008 to identify and support the nomination of candidates from underrepresented areas, with the aim of boosting the number of women candidates, engineers from industry and Small and Medium Enterprises, those from emerging technologies and ethnically diverse backgrounds.

    Carlton House Terrace and Prince Philip House

    The Academy's premises, 3-4 Carlton House Terrace, are in a Grade I listed building overlooking St James’ Park, designed by celebrated architect John Nash and owned by the Crown Estates. The Academy shares the Terrace with two of its sister academies, the British Academy and the Royal Society as well as other institutes.

    The building was renamed Prince Philip House, in honour of the Senior Fellow, after renovation works were completed in 2012. Prince Philip House is also available for venue hire for meetings or events.

    The Academy’s current logo is inspired by the Neolithic hand-axe, humans' first technological advance, which was taken to be a symbol appropriate to the Academy, representative of the ever-changing relationship between humanity and technology.


    Royal Academy of Engineering Wikipedia

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