The Council of the Royal Academy of Engineering has nominated Professor Dame Ann Dowling FRAeS FREng FRS, Head of the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, as its Presidential candidate for election by Fellows at the September 2014 AGM. Upon election by the Fellowship, Dame Ann would become the Academy’s first female President and serve a term of five years.

An outstanding career

A world authority on combustion and acoustics, Dame Ann became a Cambridge research fellow in 1977 and has remained at the university ever since, including visiting research posts at MIT in 1999 and Caltech in 2001. In 1993, she became the Department of Engineering's first ever female professor. In 2002, she was recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours, receiving a CBE for services to Mechanical Engineering, and again in the 2007 in the New Year's Honours List when she received a DBE for services to science. In 2011, she was awarded a UK Resource Centre award for her 'Inspiration and Leadership in Academia and Research'. Dame Ann started her career as a mathematician but always wanted to pursue applied mathematics and did her PhD in engineering acoustics with Prof John Ffowcs Williams FREng, who led pioneering noise-reduction research on Concorde. She now leads research on efficient, low emission combustion for aero and industrial gas turbines and low noise vehicles, particularly aircraft and cars.

Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society

Her work in aeronautics and energy has been recognised by fellowships of the Royal Aeronautical Society, Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering, and foreign associate membership of both the US National Academy of Engineering and the French Academy of Sciences. Dame Ann led the Cambridge MIT Silent Aircraft project, which published its radical new design concept SAX-40 in 2006 with the aim of raising aircraft industry aspirations. Dame Ann is a non-executive director of BP, a panel chair for the Research Excellence Framework and was nominated in BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour power list 2013 as one of the 100 most influential women in the country.

Congratulations from the RAeS President

RAeS President Jenny Body OBE FRAeS welcomed the nomination and said: “I am delighted to congratulate Dame Ann on her nomination to be the first female President of the Royal Academy of Engineering. She is an inspirational role model for our engineers of the future and I welcome her nomination as the RAeS continues to work closely with the Academy to promote engineering to a new generation of innovators and encourage more young people into careers in engineering, and aerospace in particular.”

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Notes for Editors

1. The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) is the world’s only professional body dedicated to the entire aerospace community. The Society promotes the highest professional standards in all aerospace disciplines; provides specialist information; acts as a central forum for the exchange of ideas; and plays a leading role in influencing opinion on aerospace matters.

2. Dame Ann spoke recently about her engineering career on Radio 4’s The Life Scientific, the programme is available to listen to on BBC iplayer.

3. 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: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.

For more information please contact: Jane Sutton at The Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. 020 7766 0636; email:  


Emma Bossom
12 January 2014