Sir John O’Reilly will receive the award of Honorary Doctorate of the University for his “outstanding contribution to science and technology on a national and international level” and will collect his award at the University’s July Awards Ceremonies.
Sir John is a Chartered Engineer specialising in the field of information and communication technology. His first degree was in electrical engineering whilst his PhD and subsequent higher doctorate addressed respectively aspects of applied mathematics and applied physics. He is the author or co-author of some 350 research and technology publications, including three books on aspects of telecommunications.
Sir John is Chairman of NICC (Standards) Ltd, the pan-industry and government body responsible for ensuring telecommunication network and service interoperability in the UK, a Director and Board Member of ERA Foundation Ltd and a commissioner of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. He served recently for a two-year term as Director General of Knowledge and Innovation for the UK Government within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, previously having been Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University and before that chief executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. He has held academic appointments at the universities of Essex, Bangor and UCL while appointments outside academia include periods with BT Laboratories, Ultra Electronics Ltd and in the ‘small and medium enterprise’ sector as chief executive and deputy chair of IDB Ltd and as chair of CAST Ltd.
Active in the engineering profession, Sir John is an Honorary Fellow and former President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, a Fellow and former member of Council of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Fellow and member of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Aeronautical Society, an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and a member of the science, industry and translation committee of the Royal Society.
Internationally, he is a former President of EUREL, the Confederation of Professional Electrical Engineering Societies in Europe, served as chair for Systems and Communications Engineering for the European Research Council, chairs the search committee for the European Science Prize of the Koerber Foundation and is chairman of the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) and member of the Board of the Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore.
He received the J.J. Thompson Medal of the Institution of Electrical Engineers for distinguished contribution to electronic engineering, is an International Fellow of Académie Hassan II des Sciences et Techniques and also of Academia das Ciências de Lisboa.
In 2007, he received a Knighthood in recognition of his contributions to science.