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28 March 2007 PR 07/44

Thales’ innovator to visit Loughborough as Professor in Integrated Systems Design
three-year appointment to address industry skills gap at source

Paul Davies, Head of Innovation within Thales UK’s aerospace business, has been appointed as Visiting Professor in Integrated Systems Design at Loughborough University. The three-year post is supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) as part of its ‘Vision for the Future’ programme.

Professor Davies’ role is to promote the importance of systems engineering in large-scale engineering projects, teaching core skills that will be vital as they join multi-disciplinary teams in industry. With this appointment, the RAEng and Thales are seeking to address the gap between skills taught in traditional discipline-specific engineering courses and the needs of the workplace.

“Preparing the next generation of engineers for the world of work is a privilege and a challenge,” said Professor Davies. “The approach to systems engineering required in industry is often at odds with what’s been taught on traditional single-disciplinary courses. Being able to bring real-world experiences to the students at Loughborough is an excellent way to equip them with the skills required to work on integrated systems projects in a variety of industries. Loughborough already has a lead on this in the UK, and I am delighted that Thales and I can help to improve its position still further.”

Professor Davies is teaching both postgraduates and undergraduates on a part-time basis, as well as mentoring Masters degree projects, reviewing the curriculum, and providing strategic advice on the penetration of systems engineering in various sectors.

Professor Davies, who was formerly UK Chapter President of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), brings systems engineering expertise and insight in not just the aerospace sector, but also in areas such as transport and energy from working with INCOSE.

“The support of Thales for our programme will make an enormous difference to the students,” said Yiannis Vardaxoglou, Head of the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department and Professor of Wireless Communication at Loughborough University. “With Paul as part of the team, our students will benefit from his wealth of knowledge regarding the theory and practice of systems engineering.”

Alex Dorrian, Chief Executive at Thales UK – himself a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering – said: “Industry is vital to the future of the UK and systems engineers are vital to the future of UK industry. Thales is therefore delighted to support this Royal Academy of Engineering programme, and we wish Paul every success in his role at Loughborough.”

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Notes to editors

About Thales
Thales UK is a major electronics and systems group serving defence, aerospace, security and services markets. Thales employs 10,000 staff in the UK and 60,000 people in 50 countries. In 2005, Thales UK’s revenues were over £1 billion.

About the University
Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough in the top five among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.


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