Julia King, Baroness Brown of Cambridge

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The Baroness Brown of Cambridge
Julia King at the CBI Climate Change Summit 2008.jpg
Julia King at the CBE Climate Change Summit 2008
Born Julia Elizabeth King
(1954-07-11) 11 July 1954 (age 67)
Alma mater University of Cambridge (BA, PhD)
Thesis Fracture mechanisms in embrittled alloy steels (1979)
Notable awards

Julia Elizabeth King, Baroness Brown of Cambridge, DBE, FREng (born 11 July 1954) has been the Vice-Chancellor of Aston University since 2006.[1][2][3][4] In 2015, she became a crossbench member of the House of Lords.


King was born on 11 July 1954.[5] She was educated at Godolphin and Latymer School and New Hall, Cambridge, and graduated from Cambridge with a first degree in natural sciences in 1975,[6] then with a research degree, also from Cambridge, in fracture mechanics, graduating PhD in 1978.[6][7]


King continued at Cambridge as a Rolls-Royce research fellow for 2 years before taking a post as a lecturer at the University of Nottingham from 1980 to 1987.[5] She then returned to Cambridge, holding a series of research and teaching positions from 1987 to 1994.[5] In 1994 she moved to Rolls Royce where she held a number of senior positions. She was appointed chief executive of the Institute of Physics in September 2002. From September 2004 to December 2006 she was Principal of the Engineering Faculty at Imperial College London, after which she joined Aston University as Vice-Chancellor.[8]

King has held a number of senior public appointments and works closely with Government on education and technology issues. She is a member of the Committee on Climate Change,[9] the Airports Commission,[10] is the UK's Low Carbon Business Ambassador[11] and was previously a non-executive Director of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

She was an inaugural member of the Governing Board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and is a former member of the World Economic Forum Automotive Council. She was a Board member of the Engineering and Technology Board (now EngineeringUK) from 2004 to 2008 and led a Royal Academy of Engineering Working Party on "Educating Engineers for the 21st Century" which published its final report in June 2007. King has advised the Ministry of Defence as Chair of the Defence Science Advisory Council and the Cabinet Office as a member of the National Security Forum. She was also a non-executive member of the Technology Strategy Board for five years.

She is a non-executive Director of Angel Trains[12] and the Green Investment Bank,[13] and a member of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership,[14] the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council,[15] and the Board of Universities UK, chairing its Innovation and Growth Policy Network.[16]

King was appointed by Gordon Brown, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, in March 2007 to lead the King Review to examine the vehicle and fuel technologies that, over the next 25 years, could help to reduce carbon emissions from road transport.[17] The interim analytical report was published in October 2007,[18] and the final recommendations in March 2008. She has published over 160 papers on fatigue and fracture in structural materials and developments in aerospace and marine propulsion technology, and has been awarded the Grunfeld, John Collier, Lunar Society,[19] Constance Tipper,[20] Bengough and Kelvin medals as well as the Erna Hamburger Prize and the 2012 President's Prize of the Engineering Professors' Council.[17]

Honours and awards

In 1997 she was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to materials engineering in the 1999 Birthday Honours.[21] She is a Liveryman of the Goldsmiths Company, an Honorary Graduate of Queen Mary, University of London, the University of Manchester[22] and an Honorary Fellow of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, and of Cardiff University. In 2006 she presented the Higginson Lecture.[23] On 5 May 2010, she discussed the challenges and opportunities that surround low-carbon transport when she delivered the Institution of Chemical Engineers 6th John Collier memorial lecture.[24][25] She is the UK government's low carbon business ambassador.[24] She has been named as an Inspiring Women Engineer by the Royal Academy of Engineering[26] She was promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to higher education and technology.[27]

On 13 October 2015 her appointment to become a life peer in the House of Lords was announced by the House of Lords Appointments Commission. She will sit as a Crossbencher.[28] On 30 October 2015, her title was gazetted as Baroness Brown of Cambridge, of Cambridge in the County of Cambridgeshire.[29]

Personal life

King is married to Dr Colin Brown, Engineering Director at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.[30]


  1. Interview with Julia King
  2. Kumai, S.; King, J. E.; Knott, J. F. (1990). "SHORT AND LONG FATIGUE CRACK GROWTH IN a SiC REINFORCED ALUMINIUM ALLOY". Fatigue & Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures. 13 (5): 511. doi:10.1111/j.1460-2695.1990.tb00621.x.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Julia King, Baroness Brown of Cambridge's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier.
  4. Davis, C. L.; King, J. E. (1994). "Cleavage initiation in the intercritically reheated coarse-grained heat-affected zone: Part I. Fractographic evidence". Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A. 25 (3): 563. doi:10.1007/BF02651598.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Debrett's People of Today Julia King
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Engineer Aston Vice-Chancellor Julia King
  7. 'King, Dame Julia (Elizabeth) (born 11 July 1954)' in Who's Who 2015 (London: A. & C. Black, 2015)
  8. Aston University website
  9. Membership of the Committee on Climate Change
  10. Airports Commission Julia King
  11. Press Release Aston University
  12. http://www.leasingworld.co.uk/freepages/news-detail.php?ID=938
  13. Green Investment Bank
  14. Aston University Vice Chancellor joins the GBSLEP Board
  15. Membership of EPSRC Council
  16. UUK Board
  17. 17.0 17.1 Julia King career biography
  18. King Review of low-carbon cars issues analytical report
  19. Aston Vice Chancellor awarded prestigious Lunar Society medal
  20. Aston’s Vice-Chancellor receives International Achievement Award
  21. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 55513. p. 9. 12 June 1999.
  22. Falklands War veteran Simon Weston, author and screenwriter Professor Jeanette Winterson and scientist and academic leader Professor Dame Julia King will be awarded honorary degrees at The University of Manchester, University of Manchester 2014-10-22
  23. Higginson Lecture speakers
  24. 24.0 24.1 The Chemical Engineer, June 2010 page 24
  25. IChemE news 7 May 2010
  26. Royal Society of Engineering page
  27. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60173. p. 6. 16 June 2012.
  28. "Four new non-party-political peers". House of Lords Appointments Commission. Retrieved 13 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. The London Gazette: no. 61400. p. 21710. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  30. "EPSRC Appointments Assurance Committee Members Conflicts of Interest 2014/15" (PDF). Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Retrieved 30 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Academic offices
Preceded by
Michael T. Wright
Vice-Chancellor of Aston University
Succeeded by