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Academy President awarded Royal Medal

Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, is to receive the Royal Medal from the Royal Society.

The first female President of the Academy, Dame Ann is Professor of Mechanical of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, where she served as Head of the Department of Engineering from 2009-14 and is currently a Deputy Vice-Chancellor. She received the Royal Medal for her leading research on the reduction of combustion emissions, aerodynamic noise and the design of aircraft, and her distinguished services to engineering.

In addition to her world-leading research, Dame Ann has an influential leadership role across the engineering and academic sectors. Elected President of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014, she is also a member of the prestigious Order of Merit, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering, the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the French Academy of Sciences. She is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, a trustee of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering and a non-executive director of BP plc and of the Smiths Group plc.

In 2015, Dame Ann conducted a review for government of business-university research collaborations. The Dowling Review identified the complex mechanisms in place to encourage collaboration between academia and industry in the UK and called for a simplification of these systems in order to realise the full potential of the excellent research being done in UK universities. Dame Ann also chaired the widely respected 2004 Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering report Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties, which highlighted the need for responsible regulation and research around the use of materials at an extremely small scale.

Three Royal Medals, also known as the Queen’s Medals, are awarded annually by the Sovereign on the recommendation of the Council of the Royal Society. Dame Ann joins other leading Fellows, including World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee OM KBE FREng FRS and geneticist and cell biologist Sir Paul Nurse FRS FMedSci HonFREng HonFBA, who have previously received the award.

Dame Ann said:

“I am surprised, delighted and very honoured to be awarded the Royal Medal and it is humbling to see the previous recipients. I have been lucky to work with some brilliant colleagues and students and this award recognises their achievements as much as it does mine. Engineering has a vital role to play in meeting the many global challenges we face, and has provided me with a most rewarding and fulfilling career.”

Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, said:

“The Royal Society gives an array of medals and awards to scientists who have done exceptional, ground-breaking work. This year, it is again a pleasure to see these awards bestowed on scientists who have made such distinguished and far-reaching contributions in their fields. I congratulate and thank them for their efforts.”

Notes to editors

  1. Royal Medals

Each year two medals are awarded by the Royal Society for the most important contributions to the advancement of “Natural Knowledge” in the physical and biological sciences respectively. A third medal is awarded for distinguished contributions in the applied sciences.

The three Royal Medals, also known as the Queen’s Medals, are awarded annually by the Sovereign on the recommendation of the Council of the Society. Frederick Sanger FRS, Max Perutz FRS and Francis Crick FRS are among those who have been awarded a Royal Medal.

The Royal Medals were founded by HM King George IV in 1825. Between 1826 and 1964 two medals were awarded each year. In 1965 the third medal, covering the applied sciences, was introduced on behalf of HM The Queen.

The medals are supplemented with a gift of £10,000

  1. The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, reflected in its founding Charters of the 1660s, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

For further information please visit Follow the Royal Society on Twitter at or on Facebook at You can follow the medals announcement on twitter with #RSmedals

  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: Victoria Runcie at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. 020 7766 0745; email: [email protected]

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