New IET chief to promote greater diversity & inclusivity

Posted on 3 Oct 2016 by Jonny Williamson

The new president of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Professor Jeremy Watson CBE has announced that he will use his year-long term of office to showcase how different professional disciplines come together to create new opportunities and benefits for society – as well as to highlight the need for greater diversity and inclusivity in engineering.

Prof Jeremy Watson CBE, 142nd President of the IET – image courtesy of the IET.
Prof Jeremy Watson CBE, 142nd President of the IET – image courtesy of the IET.

Prof Jeremy Watson CBE, who became the 142nd President of the IET on October 1, wants to champion just how important engineers are, being responsible for everything we take for granted in our lives, including life-saving devices such as an MRI scanner or air ambulance.

Watson’s first official engagement will be his President’s Address.

Having worked in many different areas of industry, government and academia, he is described as being “well placed” to highlight the benefits of different bodies working together more closely.

Watson commented: “During my term as IET president, I will be highlighting the increasingly integrated and cross-disciplinary approach to engineering training, formation and practice.

“Greater inclusivity and diversity are also key opportunities for our profession, and one of the new ways I will be supporting this is by launching a new appeal to help give additional financial support to talented people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to pursue an engineering career.

“In a world where technology is moving faster than ever before, I believe we need to think more broadly and remove unnecessary barriers that might be discouraging more young people from becoming engineers. In other words, we need to be more inclusive about inspiring and recruiting the next generation of engineers.”

Watson was chief scientific advisor for the Department of Communities & Local Government and Arup’s global research director. His specialities include research strategy, systems thinking, innovation processes, and emerging technology identification.

Naomi Climer, president, the IET.
Naomi Climer, president, the IET.

He is also director of the £9.8m PETRAS research hub funded by EPSRC, which brings together nine universities to collaborate on research into Cybersecurity of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Watson is professor of Engineering Systems and vice-dean in the Faculty of Engineering Sciences at University College London, as well as chief scientist and engineer at BRE.

Jeremy succeeds Naomi Climer, the first female president of the IET.