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Lord Broers, FREng FRS, was president of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2001−2006) and played a significant role in the University of Cambridge’s rise as a major economic force and center of excellence for high technology and was vice chancellor from 1996 to 2003. He has always expressed strong views about the role of engineers in society, considering that any artificial barrier between engineering and the rest of science is just as damaging as the perceived division between the arts and sciences. He sees engineering and science as two sides of the same coin and believes that national engineering academies are ideally placed to drive home this message.
Lord Broers spent nearly 20 years of his career in research with IBM, working at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in New York, the East Fishkill Development Laboratory, and corporate headquarters.
When he arrived back in Cambridge, he set up a nanofabrication laboratory to extend the technology of miniaturization to the atomic scale. He also developed his research on using electrons, X-rays, and ultraviolet light in microscopy and on making microelectronic components.
Lord Broers has served on numerous national and international committees, including the UK government’s Council for Science and Technology, the NATO Special Panel on Nanoscience,and the NAE panel that selected the fourteen Grand Challenges for Engineering. He is a fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering, a foreign member of the US National Academy of Engineering and Chinese Academy of Engineering, and an honorary fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering.
He has served on the board of directors of Lucas Industries, Vodafone, Plastic Logic, RJ Mears LLC, and Bio Nano Consulting and is currently on the board of FlexEnable.
On June 21, 2004, Her Majesty the Queen made him a life Peer in recognition of his contributions to engineering and higher education. He serves as a cross-bench member of the House of Lords and has chaired the select committee for Science and Technology and the Diamond Light Source, and was president of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Lord Broers received a first degree in physics from Melbourne University in 1959, a degree in electrical sciences from the University of Cambridge (after arriving initially as a choral scholar), and his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 1965.