Professor Sir William Wakeham has been awarded the President’s Medal, one of the highest accolades of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
The President's Medal is awarded to an individual in recognition of a significant contribution to the Academy’s aims and work through the recipient’s initiative in promoting excellence in engineering.
Professor Wakeham, former Head of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, has achieved this over two decades, through his appointment as Chair of the Academy’s International Committee in 2009 and subsequent success in reforming and expanding the organisation’s overseas reach and influence. During this time he built excellent relationships with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and spearheaded collaborations with India on distributed manufacturing and with South Korea on entrepreneurship.
As Senior Vice President of the RAEng he reviewed its governance procedures which led to substantial reforms and the establishment of a Board of Trustees to replace its Council. He also led a reform of the governance of Euro-CASE, the federation of European academies of engineering and technology, to improve its strategic focus and financial stability.
Academy President Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS said: “Bill Wakeham has championed engineering and science education and entrepreneurship at the highest level. He has been both an invaluable supporter of the Academy and a champion of necessary organisational change. His vision, skill and sensitivity in helping us to achieve it successfully make him a worthy recipient of the President’s Medal.”
Professor Wakeham joined the Department of Chemical Engineering in 1971 as a Lecturer, progressing to Reader in 1979 and Professor of Chemical Physics in 1985, before serving as Head of Department from 1988 until 1996. Following this, he became Deputy Rector of the College.
In 1997 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in recognition of his world-leading research on transport properties of fluids, and was knighted in 2009 for services to Chemical Engineering and to Higher Education. He also served as President of the Institute of Chemical Engineers in 2011.
The Department instituted the Sir William Wakeham Award in 2014 which recognises early career researchers who have made a significant contribution to their research field and have advanced their professional development.
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