Anne Neville

The James Clayton Prize is awarded to a member of the Institution who has contributed the most to modern engineering science – by way of research, invention, experimental work, a paper, engineering design or by Anne Neville services to engineering.

Professor Anne Neville FREng FRSE FRSA CEng FIMechE FIM BEng PhD MICorr holds the Chair in Tribology and Surface Engineering at Leeds University, as well as the highly prestigious position of RAEng Chair in Emerging Technologies. She wins this award for her work in the fields of corrosion and tribology problems in mechanical engineering in the oil industry and biomedical applications.

Her degree is in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Glasgow, where she also did her PhD in corrosion engineering. She works on corrosion and tribocorrosion, lubrication and wear, mineral scaling and surgical technologies; has attracted £34million of research funding, and has countless patents and publications. Anne enjoys being in front line research and particularly the interaction with post doctoral researchers, PhD students and industrial collaborators.

Her work is in the field of corrosion/erosion for the oil industry and marine pumps.  She also works on tribocorrosion of artificial hip joints, where she demonstrated that corrosion is a highly significant factor in the total wear of artificial joints. “People had been working on wear of hip joints for many years, but the corrosion influence had not been considered.” Anne describes the parallels between the two sectors:

“The fundamental principles of tribocorrosion for the oil and gas environment are similar to those in hip joints, and it is crucial to understand the science in order to solve the problem in both environments.”  She enjoys the variety that comes with working in different industries, as well as the cross fertilisation of ideas and knowledge. “There is a richness from collaboration with industry and cross sector working.”

Anne regularly interacts with secondary school pupils to demonstrate the exciting challenges in science and engineering, and encourage students into engineering careers. “It is important to ensure that school children at all levels are informed about engineering and understand that it is an exciting way to apply maths and physics. I want the profession to be inclusive and for young people to see that engineering is a great career choice.”

She is keen to encourage more women into engineering:  ”I see lots of very able girls choosing to do engineering at university. If we are to make a step change in the number of women engineers, we need to encourage all girls to have the confidence to make this as their career choice and break down the idea that engineering cannot be combined with a happy family life.  Engineering is a great career for women, and in academia and industry it is possible to be an engineer and a Mum.”

Looking to the future Anne thinks that solving problems will become ever more complicated, as more detailed information becomes available. “I believe that it is essential to bring the best of science to engineering. As the complexity of problems increases engineers must use the best science to produce sustainable solutions.”

Anne reflects on winning the James Clayton prize. “For me personally, this is one of the major highlights in my career. It makes me incredibly proud to see my name among some of the great UK engineers. It is great to see mature fields like corrosion and tribology producing the some of the best engineering science and tackling current engineering problems. This is only possible by having some of the most fantastic PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and collaborators.  I have been very lucky to work with some really talented engineers and scientists across disciplines.”

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