Five University of Sheffield academics elected to Royal Academy of Engineering

20th September 2023

Five academics from the University of Sheffield have been honoured with one of the most prestigious awards in engineering, announced today (20 September 2023).

  • Five academics from the University of Sheffield have been elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering in recognition of their outstanding contributions to engineering and technology
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering is one of the world’s leading engineering institutions, with Fellows being elected each year by peer-review
  • The University of Sheffield has more engineers being elected this year than any other UK university, along with Imperial College London
  • Five is believed to be the highest number of academics elected from Sheffield at any one time

Five academics from the University of Sheffield have been honoured with one of the most prestigious awards in engineering, announced today (20 September 2023).

Professor Joby Boxall, Professor Timothy O’Farrell, Professor Ashutosh Tiwari, Professor Iain Todd and Professor Keith Worden have been elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Fellowship in recognition of their outstanding contributions to engineering and technology.

The Academy is one of the world’s leading engineering institutions. It brings together some of the best engineering researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, business and industry leaders through its Fellowship, which elects new Fellows each year by peer-review in recognition of their outstanding and continuing contributions to the profession.

This year sees five engineers elected from Sheffield - more than any other university in the UK along with Imperial College London. It is believed to be the highest number of academics elected from Sheffield at any one time.

Sheffield’s engineers will be formally admitted to the Academy at a special ceremony in London on 28 November 2023. In joining the Fellowship, the academics will lend their unique capabilities to achieving the Academy’s overarching strategic goal - to harness the power of engineering to create a sustainable society and an inclusive economy for all.

Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: 

“It is fantastic that so many researchers from Sheffield have been elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering this year. Engineering has always been a significant part of the University of Sheffield's identity, and our academics are known around the world for their engineering research and expertise. 

“I am delighted that the Academy has recognised the outstanding dedication, hard work and skills of our engineers, and the positive impact their research has on society.”

Professor Joby Boxall is a leading international authority on urban water engineering and is recognised for his research on drinking water distribution systems infrastructure. He provides industry and society with sustainable engineering solutions by developing new fundamental understanding and evidencing it experimentally. He has major influence in the fields of water quality, leakage and asset management for water distribution systems. His approach is founded on interdisciplinary research and close collaborative partnerships across the water sector. The main impact of his research is on preventative maintenance ahead of failure. This includes over £400 million in efficiency savings and service improvements for trunk main applications 2014-2020, international best practices and engineering analysis software and tools.

In wireless communications, Professor Timothy O’Farrell has made significant contributions in waveform and energy-efficiency (EE) design for radio access networks (RANs). He has translated significant research into industry through standards, products and practices. As Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Supergold Communication Limited, he accomplished strategic breakthroughs by determining the IEEE802.11g Wi-Fi standard, as well as developing standardised practices for measuring EE in RANs and producing software-tools for modelling RAN performance. He led the UK Research Strategy Community Organisation in Communications, Mobile Computing and Networking within the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council portfolio and is currently leading the UKRI National 6G Radio Systems Facility - a UK first - which is set to officially open at the University of Sheffield later this year.

Professor Ashutosh Tiwari is internationally renowned for research in digital manufacturing and works in partnership with industry to develop new techniques and solutions for digitalisation, instrumentation, in-process monitoring and realtime simulation of skill-intensive manufacturing processes, such as wing manufacture and engine assembly. He holds a Royal Academy of Engineering / Airbus Research Chair in Digital Manufacturing, and has a strong track record of leading research and innovation projects across technology readiness levels. He serves on the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Strategic Advisory Team for Manufacturing and Circular Economy, is Deputy Director of the EPSRC Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing Hub, and Sheffield Lead of the Made Smarter Research Centre for Connected Factories. He is passionate about training people for manufacturing research.

Professor Iain Todd is an international authority in the field of powder metallurgy and additive manufacture (AM or 3D printing) of metals and alloys. His work focuses on enhancing the manufacturing rate while simultaneously improving component quality and structural integrity. His work is conducted in close collaboration with industry and on an appropriate scale to allow rapid transition of laboratory discoveries into industrial practice. He is highly sought-after by industry for his expertise, and his experimental results and insights have been exploited by the AM and aerospace sectors to solve important engineering challenges in the development of additive manufactured aeroengine and aerostructure components.

Professor Keith Worden is a world-leading authority in structural dynamics, notably in the areas of nonlinear dynamics and structural health monitoring. In particular, he is one of the pioneers of data-based health monitoring, and has developed methodologies that are used worldwide, in industry and in academia. A current industrial focus is wind energy; recent work with Siemens-Gamesa has resulted in a patent. He leads one of the world’s largest dedicated structural dynamics groups at the University of Sheffield, with over 70 members, and is a director of the Sheffield Laboratory for Verification and Validation.

Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh, Vice-President for Engineering at the University of Sheffield, said: 

“I am really proud to see that five of our academics have been elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering this year. The Academy is one of the world’s leading engineering institutions, so for them to recognise so many of our academics at once is a real honour. 

“The University of Sheffield is one of the biggest providers of engineering research and education in the UK, and this award illustrates just how well regarded our engineers are, not only in academia, but throughout industry. 

“Our academics who have been elected are working in a range of disciplines - from electronics, 3D printing and telecommunications to digital manufacturing, structural dynamics and water engineering - all of which bring major benefits to society and the economy. Engineering has a crucial role to play in some of the major challenges of our time and I’m delighted that the work our engineers are doing as part of this has been recognised by the Academy.”

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