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Cambridge’s triple honours in engineering elite

Professor Andrew Blake, managing director of Microsoft Research Cambridge

Cambridge DNA is all over an injection of ‘new blood’ elected to the Council of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) by the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts.

The new members are Professor Andrew Blake, managing director of Microsoft Research Cambridge, Professor Sir Richard Friend of the Cavendish Laboratory and a leading ‘dontrepreneur’ and Professor Julia King, a former researcher and lecturer at Cambridge University.

The appointments run until March 31, 2016.

EPSRC chair Dr Paul Golby, said: “Their knowledge and experience will undoubtedly add to an EPSRC Council that is already strong and rich in talents. The breadth of academic and business skills will help us and the scientific communities address the major challenges facing the UK.”

Andrew Blake is a Microsoft Distinguished Scientist and MD of Microsoft Research Cambridge. He joined the company in 1999 as a senior researcher to found the Computer Vision group, becoming deputy MD at the lab in 2008 before assuming his current position 2010.

Professor Sir Richard Friend is the Cavendish Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge and has considerable experience both within academia and also the world of business.

He has pioneered the physics, materials science and engineering of semiconductor devices made with carbon-based semiconducting polymers. His research group was the first to demonstrate using polymers efficient operation of field-effect transistors and light-emitting diodes.

Cambridge Display Technology and Plastic Logic owe their existence to his brainpower. More recently, Sir Richard co-founded, Eight-19 Ltd, a company to develop organic solar cell technology for manufacture.

Professor Julia King CBE has a distinguished background in academia and business. She spent 16 years as a researcher and university lecturer at Cambridge and Nottingham universities before joining Rolls-Royce in 1994 where she held a number of senior executive appointments.

In 2002 she became chief executive of the Institute of Physics and two years later returned to academia as Principal of the Engineering Faculty at Imperial College, London. In December 2006 she became Vice-Chancellor of Aston University. She regularly advises government on education and technology issues and is a non-executive director of the Department for Business Innovation & Skills and a member of the Committee on Climate Change. In 2010 she was appointed by the Prime Minister as the UK’s Low Carbon Business Ambassador.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change.