BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Middle East
South Asia
N Ireland
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Thursday, 7 October, 1999, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
Former MoD adviser to study rail safety
Sir David is due to deliver his report by the end of the year
The aftermath of the devastating Paddington rail disaster has raised a series of questions about the best safety systems to install on the UK's railways.

To attempt to resolve this question once and for all, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has appointed one of the country's leading engineers to analyse the contrasting systems.

Sir David Davies may not be a household name but he is among the few people that the term genius can be applied to without overstatement.

As president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, he is regarded as one of the finest academics and engineers of his generation.

London Train Crash
And until earlier this year, Sir David was chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defence, a position he had held since 1993.

Sir David was born in Cardiff in 1935 and studied electrical engineering at the University of Birmingham.

He joined the staff at Birmingham University after achieving his Ph.D.

In a prelude to his work for the Ministry of Defence, Sir David held a part-time post as honorary senior principal scientific officer at the Royal Radar Establishment, Malvern, for some of his time at Birmingham.

Sir David worked with British Rail
As well as experience in defence, Sir David also worked with the pre-privatised railways.

In 1967, he became assistant director of research at British Railways Board.

But in 1971, Sir David returned to academia and became professor of electrical engineering at University College London.

Sir David later also served as dean and vice-provost until he became vice-chancellor at Loughborough University of Technology.

He held that post until he moved to the MoD in 1993.

His position at the MoD saw Sir David working with government ministers and the chiefs of staff of the UK's armed forces on projects which looked years into the future.

Academic excellence

Sir David's fields of expertise include antenna arrays, radar systems, signal processing and optical fibre sensors.

Despite leaving the MoD, Sir David remains a non-executive chairman of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency.

Sir David was elected to The Royal Academy of Engineering in 1979 and to the Royal Society in 1984.

He became vice-president of the Royal Academy of Engineering in July 1995 and president in July 1996 for a five-year term.

In 1996, Sir David was awarded a CBE and, in 1994, he received a knighthood.

List of achievements

His other lists of achievements include holding the presidency of the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences during 1997-8.

Sir David has also been a council member of various bodies, including the Royal Society, the Open University and currently the University of Sussex.

He has also served on various government and private sector advisory boards and committees, including the Science Inquiry Committee of the Royal Society, the BBC Engineering Advisory Committee and the British Rail Research and Technology Committee.

Sir David received the Rank Prize for Optoelectronics in 1984 and the Faraday Medal of the Institute of Electrical Engineers in 1987.

He married his second wife, who is a chartered surveyor, in November 1992, and has two sons and a daughter.

See also:

07 Oct 99 | London train crash
08 Oct 99 | UK
07 Oct 99 | UK Politics
07 Oct 99 | UK Politics

E-mail this story to a friend

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |