Regius Chair of Engineering

Employer: University of Edinburgh
Job location
Job salary
from £61,818 per annum
Job term
Open-ended, 35 hours per week
Job closing date

The School of Engineering seeks to appoint the Regius Chair of Engineering. The Regius Chair of Engineering is a Royal Professorship in Engineering, established since 1868 in the University of Edinburgh. The Chair is attached to the University's College of Science and Engineering, based at the King's Buildings in Edinburgh. Appointment to the Regius Chair is by Royal Warrant from the British monarch, on the recommendation of Scotland's First Minister. The appointee will be based in one of the School of Engineering’s seven Research Institutes and four Teaching Disciplines. The successful candidate will have a distinguished track record in Engineering, intellectual vision and strategic focus in research and education.

The post is full-time and open-ended and the salary is on the Professorial scale.

To apply for this role please follow this link

Job title:                        Regius Chair of Engineering

School:                         School of Engineering

Reporting to:                 Head of the School of Engineering

Job Purpose

The Regius Chair of Engineering is a Royal Professorship in Engineering, established since 1868 in the University of Edinburgh. The Chair is attached to the University's College of Science and Engineering, based at the King's Buildings in Edinburgh. Appointment to the Regius Chair is by Royal Warrant from the British monarch, on the recommendation of Scotland's First Minister (More Information on the Regius Chair in Appendix 1).  The appointee will be based in one of the School of Engineering’s seven Research Institutes and four Teaching Disciplines (See full list of Disciplines and Institutes in Appendix 2).

The successful candidate will have a distinguished track record in Engineering, intellectual vision and strategic focus in research and education. You will be an exemplary communicator who is able to inform, enlighten and inspire both undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as leading outreach activities with the general public. You will have an outstanding research portfolio in Engineering, providing evidence of collaborative working, attracting external research funding and producing significant outputs. You will have demonstrated substantial skills in influencing, stimulating and motivating people (students and colleagues) and be able to plan and organise resources effectively. You will have outstanding achievement in delivering research project results and/or effective learning programmes with high-quality publications, knowledge exchange and innovation as appropriate.

Main responsibilities

Responsibilities: Teaching

You will lead the development of new programmes in your fields of expertise and contribute to teaching and project supervision on these and other relevant courses. You will participate and take initiative in appropriate continuing professional development  ventures. You will be expected to:

  • Contribute to the School’s general teaching activities, including academic and pastoral support of students.
  • Develop and review approaches to teaching - including suitable online/hybrid provision - that advance our Engineering curriculum.
  • Lead and support developments involving external organisations in teaching, for example through collaborative studentships, student projects, student industrial placements or those involving students in public engagement activities.
  • Lead developments which foster and embed a strong student-focused culture;
  • Develop, deliver, manage and review courses in one of our Engineering Disciplines up to Senior Honours and Masters level.
  • Develop student research project topics and supervise MSc, MEng and/or BEng students on these projects.
  • Lead developments in programme development which enhance teaching quality and create opportunities for income generation.

Responsibilities: Research

You will initiate, perform and deliver fundamental and applied research that complements and integrates with other appropriate research areas in the School.  You will be expected to:

  • Create, lead, and participate in collaborative research projects within the University of Edinburgh, in the UK and around the world, with academic researchers and industry practitioners in the field.
  • Lead and expand a vibrant and interactive group of research staff and students within one of our seven Research Institutes.
  • Develop graduating engineering professionals and early career researchers, by means of BEng, MEng, MSc teaching and doctoral training.
  • Initiate, plan, lead and deliver research in strategically important research topics in Engineering and disseminate results appropriately.
  • Participate in Knowledge Exchange and Innovation using established University policies and procedures.
  • Demonstrate and deliver internationally excellent research, with commensurate publishing activity.
  • Generate UK and international external funding to support research.

Responsibilities: Leadership and Management

You will be expected to undertake and deliver administrative duties within the School of Engineering, where appropriate. This might include but is not limited to:

  • Collegial participation in relevant School committees and initiatives.
  • Representing your Research Institute, Discipline, School, College or University to other parts of the University and the outside world.
  • Representing the Engineering profession to the general public via outreach programmes and encouraging secondary and primary school students to take up an Engineering career.
  • Contributing to general School activities, e.g. student recruitment.
  • Developing and managing staff through workload planning and annual review processes.
  • Contributing to staff recruitment processes.
  • Acting as a personal tutor for individual students.
  • Contributing to the overall planning of the curriculum.
  • Developing and organising courses and/or degree programmes.
  • Developing suitable research strategies and identifying suitable new areas of activity.

Key contacts / Relationships:

  • Work closely with the relevant Director of Discipline and Head of the Research Institute, and with all colleagues in the School of Engineering.
  • Act as personal tutor for assigned taught students.
  • Line manage staff on research grants and supervise PhD and project students.
  • Represent the University in discipline-focused teaching, research and industrial networks involving peers in the UK and internationally.

Planning & Organising

  • Plan own workload over short-term (weekly) and long-term (annual) timescales, identifying key

priorities in collaboration with the relevant Director of Discipline and the Head of Research Institute and balancing teaching, research, management/administration and external activities.

  • Plan appropriate progression and content for teaching programmes and contribute to overall planning of the curriculum.
  • Plan and organise overall delivery of undergraduate or taught postgraduate courses and programmes as Course or Programme Organiser.
  • Develop a research strategy and plan for the research area, including its funding and laboratory facilities.

Problem Solving

  • Prioritise and allocate work to staff in own team.
  • Resolve problems for individual and class students’ learning.
  • Identify and analyse original research concepts and problems.

Decision Making

  • Decide on teaching and assessment methodologies best suited to each course.
  • Decide which research areas to pursue within overall framework of School research strategy.
  • Decide on research project spend and timescales.

Knowledge Skills and Experience

Essential Criteria

  • A demonstrated ability to influence, stimulate and inspire others – especially in supporting early career researchers and the development of multi-disciplinary research teams;
  • Leading contribution to student education at undergraduate or postgraduate level.
  • Outstanding achievement in the advancement of knowledge and understanding or in professional application in any field of Engineering, evidenced by publication, research grant income or industrial engagement for example;
  • Outstanding contributions to research in any field of Engineering through methods other than publication, which may include applied research, technology transfer, consultancy, or advanced professional practice;
  • Distinguished professional standing, evidenced by fellowship of engineering institutions, leadership of national and international committees, journal editorships, etc.;
  • Excellent communication, presentation and organisational skills and high proficiency in written and oral English language;
  • Hold a Doctorate in a STEM related subject, or equivalent.

Desirable Criteria

  • Hold a university teaching qualification, for example a postgraduate certificate in academic practice;
  • Experience of planning and leading curriculum development, including the use of innovative approaches to teaching;
  • Leadership in public engagement activities including, for example public talks and discussions, engagements in festivals and popular and specialist media.
  • Significant experience of working with industry and managing/maintaining growing industrial partnerships.


Appendix 1 - History of the Regius Chair of Engineering

Regius professorships are a unique feature of academia in the British Isles. The first Regius professorship was in the field of medicine and founded in 1497 by King James IV of Scotland at the University of Aberdeen. Regius Chairs have since been instituted in a variety of academic disciplines in various universities. Each was established by a British monarch, and — except in Ireland — the current monarch still officially appoints the professor (following proper advertisement and interview, through the offices of the university and the national government). This royal imprimatur, and the relative rarity of these professorships, means a Regius Chair is prestigious and highly sought-after. Regius Professors are traditionally addressed as 'Regius' and not 'Professor'.

George Wilson was appointed to a new Regius Chair of Technology in the University of Edinburgh in 1855. His interest in acquiring artefacts and relics of the industrial revolution led to his simultaneous appointment as the first Director of the Industrial Museum of Scotland (now part of the National Museum of Scotland).

While this Chair of Technology was abolished on Wilson's death in 1859, the growing importance of engineering studies at the University of Edinburgh was recognised by the founding of the Regius Chair of Engineering by Queen Victoria in 1868 within the University's Faculty of Arts. The new chair was endowed by Sir David Baxter, of Dundee, and supplemented by annual funds from the UK parliament. Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin was appointed from the Chair of Engineering at University College, London, to be its first incumbent.

Fleeming (pronounced as "Fleming", so we are informed by his one-time student Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote an affectionate memoir of him) Jenkin brought to the Regius Chair a notable combination of scientific knowledge, practical experience and business acumen. His reputation rested principally on his work on long-distance undersea telegraphy, and as a member of the committee which drew up the proposals for methods of electrical measurement, subsequently ratified as international electrical standards.

In 1885 George Armstrong, a specialist in railway engineering, became the second Regius Professor, following his move from Yorkshire. Under his supervision, the Fulton Engineering Laboratory was established in 1889, "to provide systematic instruction on experimental methods ... and to familiarise students with the strength and other physical properties of the chief materials used by engineers."

Following Armstrong's death in 1900, Thomas Hudson Beare was appointed as the third Regius Professor of Engineering. He oversaw the Engineering Department grow from a handful of students in the basement of the University's Old College to more than a hundred occupying what the Edinburgh University Journal called "one of the best planned and equipped engineering schools in the Empire". These were the new engineering facilities at the University's King's Buildings, which had been opened in 1935.

In 1946 Ronald Arnold, a Glasgow-born specialist in structural analysis and gyrodynamics, was appointed from Swansea University as the fourth Regius Professor of Engineering. In 1960 Arnold pioneered the division of the unitary department of engineering into separate departments of civil, mechanical and electrical engineering.

Following the untimely death of Arnold in 1963, Leslie Jaeger was appointed fifth Regius Professor, from Magdalene College, Cambridge. Jaeger’s appointment was brief, leaving after only four years to take up the Chair of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics at McGill University (coincidentally, the chair that a previous Regius Professor, George Armstrong, had held much earlier).

James King, former Chief Scientist in the Naval Construction Research Establishment at Rosyth, became the sixth Regius Professor in 1968, and on his retirement in 1983 the seventh holder of the chair was Joseph McGeough, who was appointed from the University of Aberdeen to expand the Edinburgh research activities in electro-chemical machining.

Following McGeough's retiral in 2005, the University appointed, in 2007, Peter Grant as the eighth Regius Professor of Engineering, from within the enlarged 26-strong body of professors in the newly merged School of Engineering. Grant had previously led the signal processing research at Edinburgh, with achievements in the design of adaptive filters and mobile communication receivers. He was President of EURASIP, the European Association for Signal Processing from 2000–02 and recipient of the 2004 IEE Faraday medal. In 2008 he was awarded an OBE.

In 2013 Jason Reese was appointed the ninth Regius Professor of Engineering. With a background in physics and applied mathematics, his research focused on multiscale flow systems in which the molecular nature of the fluid determines the overall fluid dynamics. A former Philip Leverhulme Prize for Engineering (Leverhulme Trust) winner, Bruce-Preller Prize Lecturer (Royal Society of Edinburgh) and MacRobert Award (Royal Academy of Engineering) finalist, he had previously been Weir Professor of Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics, and Head of the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

Following on from Professor Reese’s untimely death in March 2019, the University now seeks to fill this prestigious position and appoint the tenth Regius Professor of Engineering.

Appendix 2 – Teaching Disciplines and Research Institutes in the School of Engineering

Teaching Disciplines

Chemical Engineering

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Electronics and Electrical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Research Institutes

Institute for Bioengineering (IBioE)

Institute for Digital Communications (IDCoM)

Institute for Energy Systems (IES)

Institute for Infrastructure and Environment (IIE)

Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems (IMNS)

Institute for Materials and Processes (IMP)

Institute for Multiscale Thermofluids (IMT)