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The University of Southampton

Professor Philip Nelson awarded a CBE in 2018 New Year Honours

Published: 4 January 2018
Professor Philip Nelson
Southampton graduate Professor Philip Nelson was awarded a CBE in the 2018 New Year Honours list.

Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has been awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the New Year Honours list in recognition of his services to UK Engineering and Science.

A University of Southampton graduate (BSc Mechanical Engineering, 1974; PhD Sound and Vibration Studies, 1979) and Professor of Acoustics, Professor Nelson served as Southampton’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise from 2005-2013. In 2014, he was seconded to the EPSRC. He is also Chair of the Research Council’s Group of Chief Executives.

Professor Nelson previously served Southampton as Director of the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) from 2001-2005 and as the founder Director of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Gas Turbine Noise from 1999-2001.

“I consider myself incredibly lucky to have worked in UK engineering and science, and feel greatly honoured to have my contributions recognised in this way,” said Professor Nelson. “I have also had the good fortune, and very real pleasure, to have worked with so many wonderful colleagues in EPSRC, at the University of Southampton, and across the wider UK research community.”

Mark Spearing, Vice-President (Research and Enterprise) at the University of Southampton said: “All at the University of Southampton are delighted that Professor Nelson’s contributions have been recognised with the award of a CBE which is richly deserved.  After studying as a student at the University, Professor Nelson returned to the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research initially as a lecturer, subsequently becoming its director and then Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) for the University.  He is highly respected and admired as a leader and a colleague.”

EPSRC’s Chairman Paul Golby concluded: “This is a thoroughly deserved award. Philip has done a fantastic job as EPSRC’s CEO and steered the organisation through a period of change and uncertainty with a calm, decisive and collegiate approach. Acting as the Chair for the Research Councils’ CEO group, he has been able to articulate the need for maintaining the country’s investment in research to build our skills and secure our capacity. On behalf of the board and staff I wish to congratulate him.”

Throughout his distinguished career, Professor Nelson’s work and research has focused on acoustics, vibrations, signal processing, control systems and fluid dynamics. He led Southampton’s submission to the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise and 2014 Research Excellence Framework and chaired the General Engineering sub-panel for REF2014.

Professor Nelson is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He was awarded the 1992 Tyndall Medal (jointly with S.J. Elliott) and the 2002 Rayleigh Medal, both by the UK Institute of Acoustics.

The director of a number of spin-out companies, Professor Nelson has served on the CBI South East Regional Council as well as the boards of the University of Southampton Science Park and of the ‘SET-squared’ partnership of Southampton, Bristol, Bath and Surrey universities. He also served as President of the International Commission for Acoustics from 2004-2007.


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