Annual review

Annual Report 2019

Read about a year of change, achievements and the eighth consecutive year of record breaking professional registration numbers in 2019.

Joe McGeough, IMechE PresidentMany before me have acknowledged the privilege of being asked to lead our prestigious Institution and my own experience means that I can only echo their sentiment. It is at the same time a great honour and yet also a great responsibility. Our Institution represents a long-standing and still highly relevant profession that has much to do in addressing the issues of the 21st Century. Wellbeing is as much in our hands as it is with doctors or lawyers or politicians.

I have been entrusted and indeed rewarded by the chance to work with my fellow Trustees and our staff to address these issues. I am proud now to present our annual report that shows the positive progress we have made.

Mechanical engineering remains a pivotal subject. From my own experience as a university professor, students, when they choose a course, are ever more mindful of the need for it to lead naturally to later employment. The analytical and thinking processes that are core to what we teach and espouse will stay with them throughout their lives. I am therefore pleased to continue the key role that our Institution plays in accrediting those courses and then assessing the professional growth of their graduates.

We continue however to have a specific challenge with diversity and inclusion that bothers me. Mechanical engineering should be available to all, anywhere in the world. Mothers and fathers need to know more of the opportunities that are open to their children. Teachers need better support too. At present, our Black, Asian, ethnic minority and gender representation in membership and the profession generally remains well below acceptable levels. We have taken action, but we clearly need to do more. One small but important example is that we have set 2020 to be our ‘Year of Values’. One of these values is: ‘We are one inclusive team and we treat everyone with respect’. It’s all part of the culture in the way we behave that needs to be welcoming to new people and to new ideas.

To be fully effective we need ourselves to be a professional and high performing organisation. I am very grateful to my predecessor, Tony Roche, for the excellent work he did in coming in at short notice in 2018 and steering us through some difficult times.

I have tried to follow in his footsteps of listening to members to ensure that we have their support, and hence access to the goodwill and generosity with their time necessary to deliver our charitable goals.

I feel that as a result, the Institution has now come back on track. We are committed to steering through the outputs from our governance, finance and code of conduct reviews to ensure that we embed their ideas and hence the improvements to the way we have been working, notwithstanding COVID-19. I am delighted so far with the inclusive way in which we have responded to their recommendations and am very grateful to President-elect Terry Spall and his team for the work they have been doing.

Thank you to all our members, volunteers and employees with whom I have worked this year. They are creative, supportive, hardworking and dedicated to the Institution and its aims. I said at the beginning of my year that I wanted our Institution to be a more forward- looking, enthusiastic place than it has been. We needed to get back to our core purpose of popularising mechanical engineering and inspiring young people. As I come to the end of my tenure, I hope you will agree from what you read here that we are well on our way.

Professor Joe McGeough FREng FRSE FIMechE

2019 Highlights


  • Eighth year in succession as the leading Engineering Council licensee for new registrations
  • Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) adherence on track.


  • ‘Challenge’ competitions at record participation with 254 individual teams across the five events
  • Engineering Education Grants Scheme (EEGS) funded 17 new projects in collaboration with the IET.


  • Social media followers up by 4.2% to over 600,000
  • Professional Engineering (PE) App (both Apple and Android) has over 16,000 users, up by 22%
  • Active support for the National Engineering Policy Centre.


  • Five teams entered the first formal Formula Student Artificial Intelligence (FS-AI) competition
  • Continued growth of existing Stephenson Fund investments.


  • Ongoing operations ran a surplus of £1.1M before exceptional costs (2018 - £0.8M deficit)
  • After all costs and all financial gains and losses, the result was a surplus of £3.9M (2018 - £6.1M deficit)
  • Member engagement metrics have been included in all manager appraisals
  • Major internal reviews reported, and an implementation group created to deliver on their recommendations.


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