Sainsbury Management Fellows

Speech by Professor Dame Ann Dowling DBE FREng FRS

it is a great pleasure to speak to you this evening at this reception celebrating the relationship between the Academy, The Gatsby Charitable Foundation and The Sainsbury Management Fellowship.

As many of you know, the aim of these fellowships is to improve the economic performance of UK engineering, manufacturing and construction businesses by providing a resource of highly motivated engineers who complement their technical qualifications with a first class business education in an international environment.

This objective aligns very closely with the Academy’s aspiration to make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation, and the Royal Academy of Engineering is proud to have been the delivery partner for this important scheme for more than 30 years. During this period, over 300 outstanding engineers have been awarded Sainsbury Management Fellowships, enabling them to undertake an MBA at a leading international business school.

The link between the Academy and the SMFs extends beyond our direct role in managing this programme, and many SMFs have now become involved in wider Academy activity. I would like to offer my personal thanks to all the SMFs who have been engaged in supporting our work – your contributions are much valued and really important to the Academy. And I’m going to pick out a few examples to illustrate the strength and diversity of these interactions.

Sainsbury Management Fellowships scheme – SMFs continue to play a key role in the selection of new SMF appointments and work closely in partnership with the Academy to ensure that the scheme continues to offer a first class business education to the most deserving candidates.

RAEng Enterprise Hub – The Academy’s Enterprise Hub harnesses the experience and networks of successful engineering entrepreneurs within the Academy’s Fellowship and our wider community to build the capabilities of the next generation of engineering and technology entrepreneurs. I’m delighted that at least five SMF alumni are now actively involved in supporting the Hub.

RAEng Leaders in Innovation Fellowships (Newton Fund)
– in addition to working with Hub Members, David Falzani has helped to deliver training to several cohorts of early-stage entrepreneurs from a range of emerging economies as part of the Academy’s international ‘Leaders in Innovation Fellowship’ programme.

Visiting Professors Scheme – SMFs have also contributed to this long established Academy programme, which builds strategic relationships between academia and industry. Davina Patel, for example, served as an Academy Visiting Teaching Fellow at Richmond-on-Thames College where she supported students and helped to promote engineering careers, especially to women.

Engineering Leadership Awards (ELA) Scheme – The Engineering Leadership Awards programme is one of the Academy’s flagship schemes and identifies and supports engineering undergraduates with the potential to become future leaders in industry. SMFs have made an enormous contribution to the success of this scheme over many years by acting as reviewers and interviewers in the selection process, mentoring awardees and delivering training sessions at the Annual Training Weekend for awardees. Particular mention must go to James Raby whose contribution to the success of this scheme has been exceptional.

I would also like to thank Lord Sainsbury for the very generous support he has given to the Academy over so many years, particularly to our education activities. Lord Sainsbury has played an incredibly important role in supporting UK science and engineering and I am sure that I speak on behalf of everyone in expressing our gratitude for his leadership.

I look forward to seeing the relationship between the Academy, Gatsby and the SMFs continuing to develop over the coming years and wish you all an enjoyable evening.

Speech by Professor Dame Ann Dowling DBE FREng FRS


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The Sainsbury Management Fellows is registered as a charity: Engineers in Business Fellowship, charity number 1147203 and is a company limited by guarantee : 07807250