Professor Sir Peter Gregson FREng

We are deeply saddened by the passing of one of our Honorary members and the Aerospace Careers Programme’s very first sponsor – Professor Sir Peter Gregson FREng.

Sir Peter was an extremely distinguished scientist and engineer who has very rightly been described as an ‘aerospace luminary’. He was appointed Chair of the Henry Royce Institute in December 2021, and prior to that he was Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Southampton University. He received a Knighthood for Services to Higher Education in 2011. Awarded the Bessemer Medal and Matthey Prize at Imperial College London, he pursued an academic career at Southampton University and was appointed Professor of Aerospace Materials in 1995.

During his research career he published over 160 papers, books and patents, with over 80 being in premier academic journals focused largely on light alloys. He was Academic Director of the Luxfer Advanced Technology Centre (1998–2004), the DePuy University Technology Partnership (2000–04) and the Defence and Aerospace Research Partnership (DARP) in Advanced Metallic Airframes. As head of the department and Director of Research for Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science (1995–99) he created a new Transport Systems Research Laboratory and founded an Engineering Graduate School.

Among many other academic honours Sir Peter was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2001 and to Membership of the Royal Irish Academy in 2007. He had also been a Non-Executive Director of Rolls-Royce plc (2007-12), Strategic Advisor to Lockheed Martin UK (2016-18), founded the Chair of the Arc Universities Group and served on the Council of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2005-08) and the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (2004-06).

Sir Peter was a stalwart supporter of the Aerospace Careers Programme and provided much highly valued advice and behind the scenes assistance to the Board of Trustees and, in particular, to the Chair, Dr Michael Smith who was a personal friend as well as colleague over many years.

Peter will be greatly missed by us all. Our heartfelt condolences go to Rachael and their three daughters.