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World leading engineers win at IET Achievement Awards

  • 15 of the world’s top engineering and technology talent honoured with medals and trophy’s for services to the industry
  • Top medals go to Sir Peter Knight FRS for his pivotal role in quantum engineering and Dr Irwin Jacobs for his work in bringing smartphone technology to the world
  • Other prestigious medallists include Marcus Burton for his significant contributions to manufacturing and Professor Chenming Hu for his fundamental contributions to microelectronics

The IET Achievement Awards exist to recognise individuals from all over the world who have made exceptional contributions to the advancement of engineering, technology and science in any sector. This can be through research and development in their respective technical field or through their leadership of an enterprise.

Sir Peter Knight FRS has also contributed at National and International levels to the development, oversight and governance of physics and technology, also guiding strategy and policy in Defence and National Security as an Advisor to Government.

On winning his award, Sir Peter said: “I was astonished as I had no idea I had been nominated for this extremely prestigious technology award. My first reaction was “who me??” and my second reaction was how pleased that an emergent technology such as quantum has been recognised – and how the community I am part of will appreciate how the IET has noted how research is being exploited to realise devices of economic and strategic importance. This is an award for the whole team, I feel.” 

Another top accolade this year goes to Dr Irwin Jacobs, who received the Mountbatten Medal for his pioneering work on mobile broadband telecommunications, which brought smartphone technology to the world. His leadership has further enabled higher-speed 4G mobile connectivity and multi-functionality in smartphones, benefiting many sectors of society.

On receiving his award, Dr Irwin commented: “I am honoured to receive the prestigious IET Mountbatten Medal, with its membership in the distinguished family of earlier awardees. Since graduation from Cornell and MIT, I have enjoyed both academic and business careers, enabling me to apply lessons from information theory to the real world of wireless communications. 

“A career highlight has been leading the adoption of CDMA technology to the third generation of cellular communications, bringing wideband mobile internet access and its many benefits to people's lives worldwide. Change continues to accelerate, and I often advise students to pursue a good fundamental education, and then to be opportunistic, take risks, be persistent through the many changes required for success, and then to give back to their community.”

Other prestigious medallists include Marcus Burton for his significant contributions to manufacturing, overseeing major developments in machine tool technology, and Professor Chenming Hu for his fundamental contributions to microelectronics including the invention of 3D FinFET transistors.

Dr Peter Bonfield OBE, IET President, said: “We are honoured to present these talented individuals with our top Achievement Medals. They have each excelled in their professions and have made a vast contribution as pioneers of important areas in the engineering and technology industries. They should all be very proud of their achievements – with each award being extremely well-deserved.”

All four medallists join 11 other winners, who were nominated by their peers as leading engineers and technicians in their field.

Thomas Sutherland, who recently completed his Technical Apprenticeship for Leonardo, was named the IET’s Apprentice of the Year. Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) Kay Howells, was named the IET’s Armed Forces Technician of the Year and Jonathan Potter was named the IET’s Technician of the Year.

The Achievement Awards, which took place on Thursday 24 October 2019, are part of the IET’s Achievement Awards and Scholarships programme, which this year provided over £1million in awards, prizes and scholarships to celebrate excellence and research in the sector and encourage the next generation of engineers and technicians. All IET awards seek to inspire and reward engineering excellence, including apprentices at the start of their careers, through to reputable, established professional engineers and technicians.

Find out more about the Achievement Awards here:


Full list of Achievement Award Winners:

  • Faraday Medal – Sir Peter Knight FRS
  • Mountbatten Medal – Dr Irwin Jacobs
  • Mensforth Gold Medal for Manufacturing – Marcus Burton
  • J J Thomson Medal for Electronics – Professor Chenming Hu
  • Achievement Medals – Dr Michael Burrows FRS, Terrie Smith, Dr Richard Soref, Aruna Sundararajan
  • IET Volunteer Medal – Paul Meenan
  • Paul Fletcher Award for Young Professionals – Mr Tan Wee Ser
  • Mike Sargeant Career Achievement Medal – Anirudh Koul
  • Sir Henry Royce Medal for Young Professionals – Dr Robert Hoye
  • Apprentice of the Year – Thomas Sutherland
  • Technician of the Year – Jonathan Potter
  • Armed Forces Technician of the Year – Warrant Officer class 2 (WO2) Kay Howells

More about the IET Awards

  • The IET provides over £1,000,000 per annum in awards, prizes and scholarships, to celebrate excellence and innovation in the sector and encourage the next generation of engineers and technicians.
  • The portfolio of awards includes Diamond Jubilee scholarships, Apprentice and Technician awards, scholarships in India, the Present around the World competition and the IET A F Harvey Engineering Research Prize.
  • For more information visit http:/


Notes to editors:

About the IET

  • We inspire, inform and influence the global engineering community to engineer a better world.
  • We are a diverse home for engineering and technology intelligence throughout the world. This breadth and depth means we are uniquely placed to help the sector progress society.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and technology to change outdated perceptions and tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.
  • Interview opportunities are available with our spokespeople from a range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and diversity in engineering.
  • For more information, visit
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