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Honorary Degree Orations


Professor Doug Taylor

Public Orator, Mr Jon Walker presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Ceremony held on Monday 17 December at 10.30am

Doug Taylor has an outstanding record in engines research and development. He is a World-leader in his field and we are particularly proud of his achievements because we is not just an engineer, he is a Loughborough engineer.

Doug began with a first class honour degree in Mechanical Engineering, which he gained in 1962. He was fully involved in the wider student experience serving on the committee of Hazlerigg Hall and gaining a blue for his performances as a triple jumper in the then Loughborough Colleges team. On graduating he joined Ruston and Hornsby in Lincoln, a leading diesel engine manufacturer, and one of the few companies undertaking fundamental research in diesel engines and thermo-dynamics.

Within a year he was back at Loughborough sponsored by Hornsby and undertaking a PhD into diesel combustion using optical techniques. It is an area in which Loughborough still has a World-leading position.

Of course in the 1960’s research techniques were somewhat less developed than now. Doug recalls early experiments taking pictures of combustion inside engines, leading to concerns of possible explosions. Clearly somewhere safe was required and working with Ken Topley, the Departmental technician, (and we are delighted that Ken is here today) the engine was rigged inside a coal bunker at the back of the main laboratories. The engine was started by means of a piece of string running out of the coal bunker to where he and Ken crouched. An effective and safe system although on one occasion the Principal walked past with a couple of visitors! I assume that the Principal just kept walking. In spite of the unusual circumstances the experiments were successful and so began a distinguished career in engine research.

On completing his PhD in 1967 Doug returned to Ruston’s where he ultimately became Chief Thermo-dynamics Engineer, returning to Loughborough from time-to-time as a visiting industrial lecturer.

In 1972 a pivotal moment saw Doug head-hunted by Ricardo Consulting Engineers, the World-famous engine design consultancy. During his time at Ricardo, Doug was to work with all the major engine manufacturers in the World, including General Motors, Ford, John Deer, Caterpillar, Mitsubishi.

It is probably fair to say that literally everyone here this morning either arrived in a vehicle whose engine has been influenced and changed through Doug’s work, or travelled on a motorway or a railway constructed by machines using an engine that was profoundly influenced by Doug’s work.

Doug was outstandingly successful at Ricardo’s in both engineering and management, and ultimately became Chairman and Chief Executive. Doug counts himself fortunate that his work at this highest level still allowed him to continue with hands-on engineering as well as running a significant PLC.

Since the early 1990’s he has been a consultant working particularly closely with Caterpillar, where he has been involved in both the strategic planning of the engine development process as well as getting involved in direct technological issues related to emissions and measurements. On many occasions when special investigation were needed, he would come back to Loughborough to work with his long-term collaborator, Professor Colin Garner, in the Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering.

Doug Taylor’s achievements have been widely recognised and he is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Automotive Engineers. He has demonstrated tremendous commitment to this University acting as a visiting Professor, and helping support the development of a substantial collaborative link with Perkins and subsequently Caterpillar. Doug Taylor is an outstanding inspiration to us all. He might be described as an example of a vertically integrated engineer who has throughout his career worked at strategic level at practical management level and retained an interest in activity in hands-on engineering.

Chancellor it is a great privilege and honour to present to you and to the University Doug Taylor, Engineer, Loughborough Engineer, Loughborough Engineer of Engines across the World for the dury of Doctor of Technology on Honoris Causa.


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