Dr Diane Crann receives the 2014 Rooke Award for public engagement

Dr Diane Crann has been chosen as this year's recipient of the Royal Academy of Engineering's prestigious Rooke Award for excellence in public engagement.

  • Dr Diane Crann and Masterclass student at the Ri this year

    Dr Diane Crann and Masterclass student at the Ri this year

    Credit: Tim Mitchell
  • girl listening to a homemade acoustic speaker

    Ri Masterclasses cover engineering, mathematics and computer science.

    Credit: Tim Mitchell
  • Volunteer speaker Victoria Martin leads a bridge building Masterclass

    Volunteer speaker Victoria Martin leads a bridge building Masterclass

    Credit: Tim Mitchell


We are delighted to announce that following our nomination Dr Diane Crann, Clothworkers’ Fellow in Mathematics and Masterclasses Programme Manager at the Ri, has won this year's prestigious Rooke Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering for her pivotal role in setting up a programme of Ri Engineering Masterclasses.

The aim of Ri Masterclasses is to open the eyes of young people to the excitement and value of engineering, and the diverse range of careers it can offer, by encouraging them to think creatively about solving real-life problems. Participating students attend six different half-day workshops, which excite, enthuse and inspire attendees about the relevance, importance and fun of engineering.

The hands-on sessions also provide a unique learning experience for the engineers from industry and academia who volunteer their time to design and run the sessions, and gain communication and presentation skills as a result that can be taken back to the workplace.

Diane will receive this year’s Rooke Award for her commitment to the public promotion of engineering at the Academy's annual Awards Dinner on 2 July 2014.

Following the format of the Ri’s established Mathematics Masterclasses, Diane piloted an engineering version of the scheme in 2008 after receiving an Ingenious grant from the Academy. Six years later, Dr Crann’s dedication and persistence has resulted in a network of Ri Engineering Masterclasses around the UK supported by a wide range of organisations and individuals from industry and academia. She also helped secure a second Ingenious grant in 2014 to develop and run new Engineering Masterclasses on the theme of robotics.

On winning the award, Diane said: “I am thrilled to be named the recipient of this year’s Rooke Award. It has been an honour to lead the Ri Masterclasses team and support so many fantastic engineers to share their passion for the subject with the next generation. I hope that many young people will now pursue engineering as a career as a result of their fun and inspiring sessions and that is something we should all be incredibly proud of.”

Director of Science and Education at the Ri Dr Gail Cardew said: “When I found out nominations for this year’s Rooke Award had opened, it took me about a nanosecond to decide to put Diane forward. I’ve been working with her for years and so I personally know how determined she has been to establish the Ri Engineering Masterclasses. Of course her expert knowledge in developing stimulating masterclasses for students played a huge part in this, but equally important is how she has assembled a powerful network of funders, teachers and of course engineers to pull it off.”

Chair of the Awards Committee Dervilla Mitchell FREng said: "Diane has invested great amounts of energy into setting up a programme of dedicated masterclasses in engineering at the Royal Institution. Her passion and enthusiasm for the subject is evident and her dedication to spreading the excitement of engineering is to be highly applauded. In awarding Diane this year’s Rooke Award, we are recognising her long-term contribution and commitment to engineering engagement and education which will have a long-lasting legacy at the Ri.”

Previous winners of the Rooke Award include broadcaster, engineer and former Christmas Lecturer Prof Mark Miodownik, computer science champion and Ri Trustee Prof Chris Bishop FREng FRSE, children's TV presenter Dr Johnny Ball and the man who 'propped up' the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Prof John Burland CBE FREng FRS.

About the Rooke Award

The Rooke Award for the public promotion of engineering is awarded to an individual, small team or organisation who has contributed to the Academy's aims and work through their initiative in promoting engineering to the public. The award is named in honour of the late Sir Denis Rooke OM CBE FRS FREng, a former President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and one of the UK's most distinguished engineers. As Chairman of British Gas, his legacy was to build the UK's gas distribution network and unite the gas industry, making domestic gas a cheap and convenient fuel source for millions of people. He later became Chancellor of Loughborough University and served on many national advisory committees on both energy policy and education.

About the Royal Academy of Engineering

As the UK's national academy for engineering, the Royal Academy of Engineering brings together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. It provides analysis and policy support to promote the UK's role as a great place to do business. It takes a lead on engineering education and invests in the UK's world-class research base to underpin innovation. It works to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. It is a national academy with a global outlook. It has four strategic challenges: drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.


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