Presentation address by Professor Alison McKay

Vice-Chancellor,

Engineering and design are critical to our nation’s prosperity.   Professor Isobel Pollock-Hulf has made significant contributions to both of these areas:  supporting young people preparing for their future careers, and supporting manufacturing organisations by identifying ways in which they can create value for their customers and wider society. 

Isobel was born in Northern Ireland and graduated from Imperial College with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  She began her successful engineering career with large, Yorkshire based multi-nationals including ICI in Huddersfield and DuPont Howson in Leeds.  Her expertise in measurement and metrology has led to work at National Physical Laboratory where she chairs the National Measurement System Programme Expert Group for Quantum, Electromagnetics and Time on behalf of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

Isobel is committed to the development of young engineers. She was a trustee of the AUDI Design Foundation from 1999 to 2011 and, in 2014, led the Engineering Council review of the UK requirements for Chartered and Incorporated Engineers, and Engineering Technicians.  Last year she became a trustee of the Design & Technology Association, which is addressing current skills shortages in the creative, manufacturing and engineering industries by promoting the inclusion of design and technology in school curricula.  At a more practical level, she is inspiring future generations of engineers through the Bloodhound project, whose goal is to set a new World Land Speed Record of 1000mph.

Isobel’s contributions to engineering have been recognised in many ways.  For over thirty years she has been an active volunteer member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and in 2012 became its 127th President, only the second woman to hold that office.   In 2014 she was awarded an OBE for services to mechanical engineering and in 2015 she became Patron of the Women’s Engineering Society.  This April she was installed as the first female Master of the Worshipful Company of Engineers, and last month was included in the Telegraph newspaper’s list of the Top 50 most influential women in engineering.

Isobel has been a Visiting Professor in Engineering and Design at the University since 2006. In honouring Isobel today, we are celebrating her outstanding contributions to the engineering profession.   Vice-Chancellor, in recognition of her many achievements, I am delighted to present to you, for the Degree of Doctor of Science (Engineering), honoris causa, Isobel Anne Pollock-Hulf.