Roderick A Smith




Prof. Roderick Arthur Smith, BA, MA (Oxon), MA, PhD, ScD (Cantab), FREng,

 C Eng, FIMechE, FIM, FCGI

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London,

Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2BX

Chairman, Future Rail Research Centre, Imperial College London Tel: 020 7594 7007


President Institution of Mechanical Engineers 2011-12

Chief Scientific Advisor UK Department for Transport, Jan 2012-2014.

Chair Heathrow Airport Advisory Committee Jan 2015-date.

Member Singapore MRT Advisory Committee 2013-2015.

Honorary Fellow Queens’ College Cambridge 2015-date.


Born 26 December 1947. Oldham, Lancashire, Nationality, British, Married Yayoi Yamanoi of Tokyo, 1975.

Home address 55 Stone Meadow, Road, Oxford, OX2 6TD  Tel: 01865 515372


1959‑66                         The Hulme Grammar School, Oldham, Lancs.

1967‑70                         St John's College, Oxford (BA, Engineering Science).

1966‑71                         Student Engineer Apprentice, Service Engineer, David Brown Corporation.

1971‑74                         Gas Council Research Scholar, Cambridge University Engineering Department and Queens' College Cambridge.

1975                              PhD, Cambridge University.

1975‑78                         Godfrey Mitchell Research Fellow, Queens' College, Cambridge.

1977‑88                         Assistant Lecturer. Lecturer, 1980, Cambridge University Engineering Department.

1978‑88                         Official Fellow and Director of Studies in Engineering, Queens' College, Cambridge.

1988‑2000                      Professor of Mechanical and Process Engineering, University of Sheffield.

1992‑95                         Head of Department Mechanical and Process Engineering, University of Sheffield.

1992‑2000                      Warden of Stephenson Hall, University of Sheffield.  Senior University Warden, 1997‑2000.

1993‑2000                      Chairman, Advanced Railway Research Centre (ARRC)

1995‑2000                      Royal Academy of Engineering/British Rail Research Professor of Advanced Railway

                                      Engineering, University of Sheffield.

1996‑1997                      Chairman & non-executive Director, College of Railway Technology Derby.

1998                                               Doctor of Science, Cambridge University.

2000- 2005                     Professor and Head of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London

2005-2006                      Senior Visiting Research Fellow, St. John’s College, Oxford.

2006-2011                      Royal Academy of Engineering Research Professor in Advanced Railway Engineering, Imperial College, 2006- 2011.

2011-date                       Research Professor, Imperial College London

2012-2014                      Chief Scientific Advisor Department for Transport


Fellow Royal Academy of Engineering, Chartered Engineer. Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Elected  Member IMech E Council, 1999- date, elected Trustee 2006-, Vice President 2008-. Deputy President 2009-11, President 2011-12

Honorary Doctor of Engineering, University of Lincoln 2012, University of Sheffield 2015.


Editor-in-Chief,  IMechE Proceedings Part F, Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit. 1996-2005.

Member of Editorial Boards of Int. Journal of Fatigue, Fatigue of Engineering Materials, Condition Monitoring and Diagnostic Technology, Int. Journal Crashworthiness, Engineering Fracture Mechanics, Structural Integrity & Durability .

Holder of many research contracts from EPSRC, GKN, CEGB. UKAEA, Rolls Royce, British Rail, DTI, British Gas, The Welding Institute, George Wimpey, Hitachi, Network Rail & many other railway companies.


Author of approximately 350 published papers, in the areas of fatigue and fracture mechanics, finite element stress analysis railway & environmental engineering. Editor of nine books: five on fatigue and fracture mechanics, one each on innovative teaching, engineering for crowd safety, railway engineering, condition monitoring.

Consultant in Engineering to the Technical Director of British Steel plc, 1987‑90. Consultant to Health and Safety Executive on Materials and Structures. 1990-2000, HSE Science subgroup, 2007-8. Consultant to the Board of British Rail; Member of BR Research and Technical Committee (1992‑96).

Chairman, BR Crashworthiness Development Steering Group (1993‑96). Member AEA Technology Science & Engineering Committee (1997‑2005). Chairman, Japanese Railway Society (1996- ). Chairman, Railtrack Steering Committee Gauge Corner Cracking, 2000-02.

President, Structural Integrity Society 2016-date.

Extensive travel and research experience in Japan. High level contacts with Japanese railway and manufacturing companies.

Expert witness in structural integrity, many railway cases, (Sandy, Potters Bar, Southall, Hatfield, Eschede) and in shipping failures.

Member RAEng ad-hoc committee on Energy Supply matters.

Member Sunday Times/UGov Think Tank.


Mountaineer: Member Alpine Club, Arctic Club, leader of expeditions to Arctic Norway, Everest Region and the Karakoram.


Listed in 'Who's Who' from 1996. Member, Sunday Times/ U Gov. Think Tank. Member, Reform Club, 2005-date.

Visiting Professor Universities of York and Kyushu (Japan). 1997‑9, Honorary Professor Central Queeensland University, Australia 1999-,

Visiting Chair of Transportation Systems Engineering, University of Tokyo, sponsored by JR Central Railway Company, 1998-9.

Honorary Professor China Academy of Railway Sciences, 2002-date.

Distinguished Professor Tokyo Institute of Technology Sept –Dec 2015.


Initiated the transfer of a Series 0 Bullet train from Japan to the National Railway Museum, York. Trustee National Museum of Science & Industry, 2002-2010. Member National Railway Museum Advisory Committee, Chair, NRM at Shildon Management Committee, 2003-6.


Prestige lectures include, Vernon Clancy (I Chem E), Thomas Hawksley (I Mech E), Hatfield (University of Sheffield), 5th City & Guilds, Jenkin (Society Oxford University Engineers), Lloyd’s Register Lecture (Royal Academy of Engineering). Awarded Thornton Medal (Clark Maxwell Award), Institution Material, Minerals & Mining, 2007. Advisor to Lord Adonis on High-Speed Rail for UK. Advisor to Conservative Party on Transport Policy (Railways) 2007-2010. Chair I Mech E Committee investigating science of volcanic ash and jet engines, 2010. Appointed Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Department for Transport January 2012-2014.


Acted as expert witness in the majority of inquires and prosecutions arising from major UK railway accidents, since approximately 1995: together with many international accidents and incidents.

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