Royal Academy of Engineering celebrates its first female president

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Professor Dame Ann Dowling has succeeded Sir John Parker as president of the Royal Academy of Engineering. Fellows of the Academy elected Dame Ann as their first female president.

An authority on combustion and acoustics, Dame Ann has been head of the department of engineering at the University of Cambridge since 2009. She 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 received a CBE for services to mechanical engineering and, in 2007, she received a DBE for services to science. 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 Fowcs Williams, who led 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 aircrafts. Her work in aeronautics and energy has been recognised by fellowships of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society, as well as foreign associate membership of both the US National Academy of Engineering and the French Academy of Sciences. Dame Ann said: "There is a growing recognition of the vital importance of engineering in addressing the many challenges that face society. But there is much work to be done to ensure that UK engineering is in a position to make its optimal contribution, including the need to address our looming engineering skills gap and crucially to pursue a strategy of efficient and sustainable growth in a rebalanced economy."