Select Committee on Science and Technology Fifth Report


THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING

History

17. In 1965 the Council for Engineering Institutions was set up by a group of major engineering institutions to promote the interests of the profession. The lack of an elite body in this area was felt to be a problem but progress was slow. On 11 June 1976 the Fellowship of Engineering was finally founded. The founding Fellows had either been nominated by the chartered engineering institutions or were drawn from engineer Fellows of the Royal Society. Fellows thereafter were elected and a ceiling of 1,000 imposed, with a maximum of 60 to be elected each year. This ceiling was revised to 1,500 in 1994. The Fellowship of Engineering carried out its first activities in 1977 and issued its first publication in 1978. By 1980 it had raised £1 million through fundraising. It acquired a Royal Charter in 1983 and received its first parliamentary grant-in-aid in 1984. In 1992 the Fellowship became the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Work

18. The Royal Academy of Engineering carries out work similar to that of the Royal Society. It gives independent advice to Government, feeding into consultations whilst also producing its own reports. It has an educational programme for schools and universities. Its engineering research fellowships are the major part of its work, with awards ranging from Personal Research Chairs to postdoctoral awards. There are strong links with industry and an industrial secondment scheme. The Royal Academy of Engineering organises public lectures, industry conferences and has a quarterly journal.

Funding

Table 5: Royal Academy of Engineering funding as set out in the Science Budget 2001-02 to 2003-04


£ million

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

Total

4,270

4,770

5,270

Source: Science Budget 2001-02 - 2003-04

19. Table 5 shows the allocation of government funding to the Royal Academy of Engineering under the 2000 Spending Review.[17] Again expenditure for 2003-04 may be revised in the light of the 2002 Spending Review. The grant-in-aid forms one quarter of the Royal Academy of Engineering's direct income. It expected to have a total income of around £16 million in 2001-02. Although grant-in-aid forms only 26.7%of direct income, it acts as powerful leverage. The Royal Academy of Engineering estimates that grant-in-aid funded programmes attract private sector funding of over £6.5 million. It divides its income into two parts: direct income from the grant-in-aid and other sources, and third party income (in support of programme funding).

Table 6: The Royal Academy of Engineering's direct income 2001-02


Source

Funding £000

Percentage of income

Grant-in-aid

4, 270

26.7

Gatsby Charitable Foundation

1304

8.1

Income from investments

429

2.7

Events and facilities hire

244

1.5

Donations and direct sponsorship

218

1.4

Subscriptions

150

0.9

Other

265

2.3

Total

6,980

43.6

Source: The Royal Academy of Engineering [18]


Table 7: The Royal Academy of Engineering's third party income in support of programmes 2001-02


Purpose

Funding £000

Percentage of income

Grant-in-aid funded programmes

6,540

40.9

Gatsby funded programmes

2,276

14.2

Other programmes

208

1.3

Total

9,024

56.4

Source: The Royal Academy of Engineering [19]

The OST told us how the Royal Academy of Engineering's grant-in-aid for 2001-02 was allocated.

Table 8: Allocations in the Royal Academy of Engineering's grant-in-aid, 2001-02


Programme

Allocation £000

Personal Research Chairs and Senior Research Fellowships

574

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

337

Engineering Professional Development Awards

237

International Travel Awards

389

Visiting Professorships in Design and Sustainable Development

441

Industrial Secondments

290

Engineering Foresight Awards

387

Engineering investigations

416

Education studies and support

374

Public communication and overseas representation

828

Total

4,270

Source: OST [20]

20. We commend the Royal Academy of Engineering for its use of its parliamentary grant-in-aid to lever private income. It estimates it receives £2 of private money for every £1 of public funding. We note that it attracts a higher proportion of public funding than the Royal Society, although we realise that engineering is a far more commercial area than academic science.

Grants and awards

FUNDING

21. The Royal Academy of Engineering makes awards on a smaller scale than the Royal Society, as is commensurate with its income.

Table 9: Grants and schemes supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering's grant-in-aid 2001-02


Award

Funding £000

No.

Personal Research Chairs

574

7

Senior Research Fellowships

3

Post-doctoral fellowships

337

5

Industrial secondment

287

25 by 2004

Engineering Foresight Awards

387

13

Source: The Royal Academy of Engineering [21]

FEATURES

22. The awards have a variety of features although all benefit from mentoring by Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering -

  • Post-doctoral fellowships - five years of full funding.

  • Industrial secondment - allows engineering lecturers to take a secondment in industry for three to six months. Pays the cost of a replacement lecturer.

  • Engineering Foresight Awards - enables academic and industrial researchers to spend between three and 12 months overseas on secondment.


FUTURE FUNDING

23. In 2001, seven Personal Research Chairs were appointed, with funding for five years. Three new Senior Research Fellowships were awarded, one with five years of funding and the others with two. By 2003-04 the total number of these awards should be 33. By 2003-04, the Royal Academy of Engineering hopes that there will be 25 Industrial Secondments a year. It would like to increase its grant-in-aid to fund a variety of new programmes, such as the "Facing Out" initiative which would aim to increase its profile in the community, to extend the work it does in public communication of science, international research exchanges for senior academics and Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chairs. Again, it is still uncertain whether the Royal Academy of Engineering will benefit from the 2002 Spending Review.

OTHER AWARDS

24. The Royal Academy of Engineering provides a wide range of awards, programmes and prizes aimed at school and university students. Schemes in secondary schools include the Engineering Education Scheme, for sixth-formers to get involved in real projects with local companies, the Year in Industry, for high quality students to gain work placements, and the Smallpiece Engineering schemes for year 9 and 10 pupils. University undergraduates benefit from the Engineering Leadership Awards, which offer training, personal development and high quality work placements. Various grants are aimed at post-graduate students including travel grants.


17   Science Budget 2001-02 - 2003-04 Back

18   See volume II, appendix 31 Back

19   Ibid. Back

20   HC 459-i, Ev 27-28 Back

21   See volume II, appendix 31 Back


 
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