Womens Engineering Society: Inspiring women as engineers, scientists and technical leaders

Role Models

Julia Elizabeth King

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Professor Dame Julia Elizabeth King, DBE

Awards: FREng; UKRC Women of Outstanding Achievement; Board Energy Inst Grunfeld, Bengough and Kelvin medals


After sixteen years as an academic researcher and university lecturer at Cambridge and Nottingham universities, Julia King joined Rolls-Royce plc in 1994.  At Rolls-Royce she held a number of senior executive appointments, including Director of Advanced Engineering for the Industrial Power Group, Managing Director of the Fan Systems Business, and Engineering Director for the Marine Business.   In 2002 Julia became Chief Executive of the Institute of Physics, and in 2004 she returned to academia as Principal of the Engineering Faculty at Imperial College, London.  In December 2006 she became Vice-Chancellor of Aston University.

Julia works closely with Government as a member of the Ministerial Group on Manufacturing, the Committee on Climate Change, and the National Security Forum.  She spent four years advising the Ministry of Defence as Chair of the Defence Science Advisory Council, and five years as a non-executive member of the Technology Strategy Board.   She is a member of the Governing Board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of Transportation.  She led a Royal Academy of Engineering Working Party on ‘Educating Engineers for the 21st Century’ which published its final report in June 2007, and plays an active role in encouraging women and young people to go into science and engineering-based careers.

Julia was appointed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in March 2007 to lead the ‘King Review’ to examine the vehicle and fuel technologies that, over the next 25 years, could help to reduce carbon emissions from road transport.  The interim analytical report was published in October 2007, and the final recommendations in March 2008.

She has published over 160 papers on fatigue and fracture in structural materials and developments in aerospace and marine propulsion technology.  Her research has been recognised through the award of the Grunfeld, Bengough and Kelvin medals.  In 1997 she was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering and was made a CBE for ‘Services to Materials Engineering’ in July 1999.  She is a Liveryman of the Goldsmiths’ Company, an Honorary Graduate of Queen Mary, London, and an Honorary Fellow of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, and of Cardiff University.

In 2012, Julia was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to higher education and technology.

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