A little over two and a half years ago I gave a lecture to the Institution of Electrical Engineers in which I described what had led up to the creation within the Science Research Council of the Engineering Board in October 1969, and what our hopes for it were. In asking me to be your Maitland Lecturer this year you have done me great honour, especially since my knowledge of structural engineering is confined to certain disastrous Meccano experiments of my youth, while the studies of nuclear structure on which my scientific reputation rests would be a poor model for your more massive constructions. But in honouring me thus you have also presented me with a fine opportunity to return to the subject of my earlier lecture. The Science Research Council’s Engineering Board has just set out on the fourth year of its existence, and it is therefore a suitable moment for me, in my last year of office at the SRC, to tell you something of what has been achieved and of where we believe we are heading. First, however, I would like to say a few words about the SRC as a whole: what its functions are and how it tries to fulfil them. I shall briefly recapitulate the events which gave rise to the Engineering Board so that the rest of my lecture can be seen in a suitable context. I shall go on to discuss the r61e of the SRC and its Engineering Board in the support of universities. I shall discuss how many engineering graduates the universities are producing, .and what sort of engineering graduate we need. I shall describe the research carried out by some university engineering departments, SRC’s role in supporting it, and the way in which universities, industry and the professional institutions can work, through a research council, to influence the development of engineering research and education.
Sir Brian Flowers