Chris McDonald, Chief Executive of the Materials Processing Institute, has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the profession.
One of the highest honours an engineer can receive in the UK, the Fellowship brings together the most successful and talented people to use their expertise to advance and promote excellence in science, engineering, and technology.
This year’s new Fellows also include Sir Patrick Valance, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser.
Nominated and elected by existing Fellows, Chris McDonald joins a community of almost 1,700 eminent engineers dedicated to building a sustainable society and an inclusive economy.
In his newly elevated position, he will continue to advocate the need to build upon the UK’s economic strengths and its reputation for innovation to reverse the decline in manufacturing and industry.
The Teesside-based Materials Processing Institute, the national innovation centre for the foundation industries remains at the forefront of research into advanced materials, industrial decarbonisation, digital technologies and the circular economy.
Chris said: “Being elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering is a tremendous personal honour and it also reflects the work of national significance that is being led by the Institute.
“These range from hydrogen innovation in green steelmaking and developing the world’s first zero emission cement, to improving waste heat recovery in industrial processes.
“I’d also like to dedicate this accolade to the many inspirational people who have supported me throughout my career, and I hope it encourages others to consider engineering as a profession.
“I have long advocated the need to develop a much stronger UK manufacturing and industrial base, to build a strong and resilient UK economy that provides good jobs and helps us to pay our way as a nation. As a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, I will continue to strongly champion this cause.”
Sir Jim McDonald, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “I am delighted to welcome such an array of enormously talented people to the Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering. From industry and enterprise to education and government – both national and international – these are some of our most pioneering and distinguished engineers and technologists.”
Chris McDonald grew up in Blackhall, County Durham, where both his grandfathers were miners. At school, he discovered an aptitude for science and engineering and was supported by British Steel to study Chemical Engineering at Cambridge University.
With a background in industrial research and manufacturing, he began his career as a researcher with Corus, later rising to Strategy Manager with Tata Steel. As CEO, he led the divestment of the Materials Processing Institute in Redcar in 2014, re-establishing it as a not-for-profit organisation, with a commitment to social responsibility. Chris immediately saved the jobs of 50 people and has grown the organisation to a team of over 80. He is also the Editor of international publication Millennium Steel and chair of the Redhills charity in Durham.
The Fellowship, which represents the nation’s best engineering researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, business and industry leaders, also includes one of Chris’s predecessors at the Institute, Dr Frank Fitzgerald, who was elected a Fellow in 1977.
HRH Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh was instrumental in establishing the Academy in 1976 and was the Senior Fellow. HRH The Princess Royal and HRH The Duke of Kent are Royal Fellows.
By Materials Processing Institute