Strathclyde University principal to be president of Royal Academy of Engineering

University of Strathclyde principal Professor Sir Jim McDonald has been nominated as the next president of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE).

Sir Jim currently co-chairs the Scottish Government’s Energy Advisory Board with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and is also chairman of the Independent Glasgow Economic Leadership Board.

The new role comes after the RAE’s trustee board nominated him for election by Fellows at their AGM this September.

The professor – given a knighthood in 2012 for his services to education, engineering and the economy – said it was “an honour to be considered” for the position.

Sir Jim said: “To be recognised by the foremost engineering learned society in the world is both humbling and incredibly flattering.

“The RAE promotes engineering in all its forms and is a champion for engineering excellence, industrial innovation, societal and economic impact and the nurturing of world-class talent.

“These are all matters I am passionate about and I am also inspired by the Academy’s commitment to widening the appeal of engineering, not least for girls and young women, along with those from non-traditional backgrounds.

“Scotland has a strong tradition of engineering excellence – from James Watt to John Logie Baird – and I am proud and delighted to be the first Scot to be nominated for this position.

“I am hugely thankful to the Trustees for recommending me to the Fellows for consideration.”

The Glasgow-born academic studied for his first degree in electrical engineering at the university where he would later become principal and vice chancellor in 2009.

The RAE gives policy advice to government and delivers funding and programmes to help researchers with half of their 1,600 fellows drawn from business and industry while the other half come from academia.

Current RAE president Professor Dame Ann Dowling said: “I am delighted that Sir Jim McDonald has been nominated as the next president of our Academy.

“He has made an immense contribution to the development of engineering innovation in Scotland and his business-focused approach will be of great value to the UK as a whole.”