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IPEM Fellows become RAE Fellows

TWO Fellows of IPEM have been elected as Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering in recognition of their outstanding and continuing contributions to the profession.

Professor Stephen O’Connor, Immediate Past President of IPEM, and Professor Sebastien Ourselin, Head of School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences at King’s College London, are among 69 leading engineers from the UK and around the world who have been honoured.

They were formally admitted to Fellowship at the Academy’s online AGM and add their expertise to a Fellowship of around 1,700 eminent engineers from both industry and academia.

Sir Jim McDonald FREng FRSE, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: ‘Our Fellows represent the best of the best in the engineering world, and we welcome these 69 excellent and talented professionals to our community of businesspeople, entrepreneurs, innovators and academics.

‘This year’s new Fellows are the most diverse group elected in the history of our institution. The engineering profession has long suffered from a diversity shortfall and the Academy is committed to changing that, including by ensuring that our own Fellowship community is as inclusive as it can be. It is well established that diverse organisations tend to be more agile and more innovative, and as the UK’s National Academy for engineering and technology, we have a responsibility to reflect the society we serve in addressing the shared challenges of our future.’

IPEM’s Fellows

Professor O’Connor has an international reputation in the medical device industry as an expert in implantable devices and respiratory physiology. His work on implantable devices has benefited millions of patients worldwide. He has transformed the training and education of medical and technical professionals in the device industry. He advanced medical technology to improve diagnosis, therapy and most importantly patient outcomes. He has also contributed hugely to the work of professional bodies, particularly IPEM, serving as President from 2019 until the 2021 Annual General Meeting  and as a volunteer for more than three decades.

Professor O'Connor said: 'This is a great honour and I am delighted to join such illustrious company, which includes IPEM Fellows Professors John Mallard, Peter Wells, Rod Smallwood, David Delpy and Mark Tooley. It is noteworthy there are two IPEM Fellows in the RAE's new Fellows for 2021, Professor Sebastien Ourselin and myself. Many congratulations Seb.'


Professor Ourselin has gained international recognition for his engineering contributions in medical image registration, segmentation and classification. Over two decades, he has made major advances to imaging sciences, focusing on brain diseases and the robust translation of image analysis pipelines into clinical settings. His innovations have reached the clinic and commercialisation, especially in neurodegenerative diseases, neurosurgery, image-guided surgery, and surgical simulation. He has been a leading advocate for healthcare engineering in the UK and globally, leading the development of the MedTech Hub at St Thomas’ Hospital, a transformative ecosystem enabling and facilitating medtech co-creation between academia, industry and the NHS.

Phil Morgan, IPEM's Chief Executive Officer, said: 'Many congratulations to Stephen and Sebastien on becoming Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering. This honour is richly deserved in recognition of their contributions to engineering.'


By invitation only

The RAE's Fellowship represents the nation’s best engineering researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, business and industry leaders.

The Academy, which is not a membership organisation or a professional institution that exists to maintain standards within one sector of engineering only, aims to bring together the most successful and talented engineers from across the engineering sectors for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering.

Election to the Academy is by invitation only, with about 50 Fellows being elected each year by peer review from nominations made by existing Fellows. They are distinguished by the title Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the postnominal FREng.

International and Honorary Fellows are also elected and are distinguished by the postnominal FREng and HonFREng respectively.

HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was the RAE’s Senior Fellow. HRH The Princess Royal and HRH The Duke of Kent are Royal Fellows.

White heat of technology

Conceived in the late 1960s, during the excitement of the Apollo programme and the buzz of Harold Wilson’s ‘white heat of technology’, the Academy came into being in 1976, the year of Concorde’s first commercial flight.

It met for the first time at Buckingham Palace, where 130 of the UK’s finest engineers were enrolled – people who over the course of their careers had literally changed the world. Engineers like the jet engine visionary Sir Frank Whittle, design guru Sir Ove Arup, radar pioneer Sir George MacFarlane, bouncing bomb inventor Sir Barnes Wallis, Lord Hinton, who had driven the UK’s supremacy in nuclear power, and Sir Maurice Wilkes, father of the UK computer industry.

There were also people who were yet to do their greatest work, like Sir Frederick Warner, who would lead the first international inspection team into Chernobyl after the catastrophic meltdown in 1986.

Early beginnings to present day

The Fellowship, which today has around 1,700 Fellows, focused on championing excellence in all fields of engineering. Activities began in earnest in the mid-1970s with the Distinction lecture series, now known as the Hinton lectures. The Fellowship was asked to advise the Department of Industry for the first time and the Academy became host and presenter of the MacRobert Award.

In the 1980s, the Fellowship received its own Royal Charter and at the same time also received significant industrial funding, initiated its research programme to build bridges between academia and industry, and opened its doors to International and Honorary Fellows.

In 1990, the Academy launched its first major initiative in education, Engineering Education Continuum, which evolved into the BEST Programme, Shape the Future, and Tomorrow's Engineers.

The Academy's increasing level of influence – in policy, research and education – was recognised when it was granted a royal title and became the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1992.

The Academy is instrumental in two policy alliances set up in 2009 to provide coherent advice on engineering education and policy across the profession: Education for Engineering and Engineering the Future.