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Prof. Dame Ann Dowling

Honorary Doctor of Engineering


Professor Dame Ann Dowling is a pioneer in the field of acoustics and aircraft engine design. She has also broken new ground for women in engineering and focuses considerable energy on encouraging young people – and girls in particular – to follow in her footsteps.

Ann Dowling began her career studying mathematics at Girton College, Cambridge, followed by a PhD in aero acoustics. In 1993, she became the University’s first female professor of engineering and was Head of Department from 2009 until 2014. Along the way she has held visiting posts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the California Institute of Technology.

Her research has focused on two main areas: reducing noise from cars, helicopters, aircraft and wind turbines; and efficient, low-emission combustion. A key element of her work on noise has been the Silent Aircraft Initiative, a collaboration with colleagues at MIT, which has fed directly into the work of NASA and been incorporated into various industry noise and efficiency targets.

She also led the University Gas Turbine Partnership with Rolls Royce, and was one of the founders of the Energy Efficiency Cities initiative. This cross-disciplinary project aims to address energy consumption and environmental impact in cities, and focuses on research in building and transport technologies, district power systems and urban planning.

On being appointed the first female President of the Royal Academy of Engineering in late 2014, she made a public commitment to work with both industry and education to inspire young people to follow what she describes as a creative and rewarding career path.

Professor Dowling was one of the four main panel chairs for the Research Excellence Framework 2014, and chaired the Dowling Review into how government can support collaboration between universities and business. She is Patron of the Women’s Engineering Society, and has been named as one of the UK’s most powerful women by the influential Radio 4 programme Woman’s Hour. In 2002, she was made a CBE for her services to mechanical engineering and in 2007 she was appointed DBE in recognition of her services to science.

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