New Year honour for Royal Academy of Engineering President

30th December 2023
Paige West

The President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Professor Sir Jim McDonald FREng FRSE, was honoured with a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire in the King’s New Year Honours list.

This accolade was bestowed for his services to Engineering, Education, and Energy.

Professor McDonald, holding the dual role of Principal and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Strathclyde, expressed his deep honour at this recognition by His Majesty. He noted: “I am deeply honoured to have been recognised by His Majesty in this way. It is a huge privilege to hold the Presidency of the Royal Academy of Engineering, one of the UK’s National Academies. The discipline of engineering – particularly in the field of energy – and the institution of Strathclyde are both very close to my heart and to receive such recognition for my work in these areas is incredibly humbling.

“I lead a fantastic team at Strathclyde and this award also recognises the help I’ve received from a huge number of people who have contributed to my personal development, professional opportunities, and career over many years in academia, industry, and public service. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support and encouragement of my wife Eileen and that of my children, family, and friends.”

Established in 1917, the Knight and Dame Grand Cross is the highest rank in the Order of the British Empire. In the past 60 years, fewer than 115 individuals have received this honour, with only 27 bestowed this century.

Sir Jim was previously knighted in June 2012 in the Queen’s Jubilee Birthday Honours List for his contributions to education, engineering, and the economy. He was elected President of the Royal Academy of Engineering in October 2019, becoming the first Scot to occupy this position.

Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering, praised Sir Jim's exceptional leadership: “Sir Jim has provided outstanding leadership as President of our Academy over the last five years, steering the organisation through the pandemic and through a period of significant growth in scale and impact. He is a passionate advocate for engineering careers, making time to mentor people at all levels.

“Sir Jim truly embodies the spirit of engineering, he exemplifies socially progressive leadership of the highest calibre and I am delighted that he has received this recognition.”

Sir Jim, a triple alumnus of Strathclyde, with degrees in electronic and electrical engineering, power systems, and energy economics, initially worked in the electrical utility sector for seven years. He returned to Strathclyde in 1984 as a New Blood Lecturer in Electrical Engineering and was later appointed the Rolls-Royce Chair in Electrical Power Systems in 1993. He assumed the role of Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Strathclyde in March 2009.

His extensive involvement includes membership in the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, co-chairing roles in the Scottish Government’s Energy Advisory Board and the Sino-UK Engineering and Technology Steering Committee, and chairing the Independent Glasgow Economic Leadership Board. He holds fellowships in several prestigious institutions and serves on the boards of Scottish Power, the Weir Group, and the UK National Physical Laboratory, chairing two of the pan-Scotland University Research Partnerships in Energy and Engineering.

Academy Fellows recognised

Congratulations also to the following Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering, who have been recognised in the 2024 New Year Honours list for their services to engineering research, industry and wider society:

Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire DBE

Professor Molly Morag STEVENS FRS FREng, John Black Professor of Bionanoscience, University of Oxford and Professor, Imperial College London. For services to Medicine

Commander of the Order of the British Empire CBE

Mark CUTIFANI FREng, Lately Chief Executive, Anglo American. For services to Investment in the Global Mining Industry

Professor Penelope Clare ENDERSBY FREng Chief Executive Officer, Met Office. For services to Meteorology, to Defence Science and to Technology (Newton Abbot, Devon)

Professor Penelope Clare ENDERSBY FREng, Chief Executive Officer, Met Office. For services to Meteorology, to Defence Science and to Technology

Dr Andrew John MACKINTOSH FREng, Adviser, The Knowledge Assets Initiative. For services to Science and Technology, and to Enterprise Development

Catriona Mary Robertson SCHMOLKE FREng, Chief Executive Officer, Charlie Five and Vice President of the Royal Academy of Engineering. For services to Engineering

Dr Charles Nicholas WOODBURN FREng, Chief Executive Officer, BAE Systems. For services to International Trade and Skills Development

Officer of the Order of the British Empire OBE

Brian Andrew PALMER FREng, Founder and Chief Executive, Tharsus Group Ltd. For services to Manufacturing and Skills

Dr Sabesan SITHAMPARANATHAN FREng, Founder and President, PervasID and Enterprise Fellow, Girton College, University of Cambridge. For services to Innovation Technology

Member of the Order of the British Empire MBE

Dr Enass ABO HAMED FREng, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, H2GO Power. For services to Engineering and to Enterprise

David Alan SHORT JP FREng, Lately Group Technology Director, BAE Systems. For services to Military Capability

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