"EngD was ahead of its time," Minister tells AEngD

(2 November 2012 - London, UK) - “The EngD was ahead of its time,” said Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts MP, when he spoke at the launch conference of the Association of Engineering Doctorates in London on 1 November.

Speaking to 120 academic and industry representatives, including EngD alumni and current research engineers, at the Royal Academy of Engineering, Mr Willetts saluted the UK research community for creating a qualification that broadened understanding of engineering disciplines and applied intellectual advances to the world of industry, business and commerce. He said:

“I think that engineering, not for the first time, was ahead of the field in the development of this qualification. … We can look around and see many other disciplines that are trying to learn from this as they broaden their doctorates so that they have the same kind of range of skills that the EngD represents.”

As a believer in evidence-based policy and evaluation, he went on challenge the sector to track the career outcomes of people who have completed the qualification, before reiterating the Coalition's belief in “the importance of the engineer and the importance of the EngD within the STEM pipeline”.

The AEngD is the umbrella group for UK university research centres offering the EngD postgraduate qualification, and the event marked the 20th anniversary of the launch of the first EngD course in the UK in 1992. Dr Paul Golby, chairman of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) which funds UK EngD research, delivered the keynote address at the conference, which also heard from Professor James Powell, who described himself as the “midwife of the EngD”.

The launch conference brought together representatives from almost all UK Industrial Doctorate Centres, along with stakeholders from the EPSRC, industry sponsors and other organisations. Sponsors, alumni, current researchers, and European academics also contributed to the event:

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For further information, contact: Paul Wilkinson (PR consultant to AEngD) – tel 020 8858 1104, mob 07788 445920, email

Notes for editors

A transcript of Mr Willetts' speech, conference presentations, photographs and videos from the event are available on the AEngD website here.

The Association of Engineering Doctorates established its steering group in 2010 and has grown to encompass almost all of the 28 EPSRC-designated industrial doctorate centres at UK universities. A community engaged in research in engineering and related disciplines, it aims to:

The Engineering Doctorate (EngD) scheme was established by the EPSRC in 1992 (following recommendations of the 1990 Engineering Doctorate Report, produced by a working group chaired by Professor Parnaby).

The first EngD programmes began in 1992, and 28 schemes are now offered by UK universities - either singly or as multi-institution academic partnerships.

Research interests embrace all major areas of engineering, manufacturing and related disciplines including:

David Willetts addressing AEngD launch conference, November 2012Paul Golby at AEngD launch event