Robert L Reuben (OBE FREng FRSE)

Robert L Reuben (OBE FREng FRSE)

The Scottish Association for Metals The Scottish Association for Metals (SAM) is delighted to be able to honour the contribution made to materials science and engineering by Robert L Reuben (OBE FREng FRSE), currently Professor Emeritus in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University, through the award of the Riley Medal[1]

Bob graduated from the University of Strathclyde with a First Class Honours Degree in Metallurgy in 1974, following which he spent 3 years at UKAEA Dounreay carrying out industrial research on stainless-steel-clad fast reactor fuel elements. He returned to academe (for the rest of his career, as it turned out) in 1977, first as a Research Assistant at the Open University’s Oxford Research Unit, culminating in his PhD thesis entitled “Hydrogen Permeation in Nickel, Molybdenum and 316 stainless steel: the Influence of Phase Boundary Processes”. In 1980, he returned to Strathclyde University as a Research Assistant to work on structure-property relationships in steels. In 1983, he obtained a lectureship at Robert Gordon’s Institute of Technology (later to become RGU) in Aberdeen, teaching at HND, undergraduate and postgraduate levels and acting as metallurgical consultant to the offshore engineering industry. In 1985, he moved to Heriot-Watt University as a lecturer in the Department of Offshore Engineering. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 1992 and to Professor of Materials Engineering in 1995. He was Head of the Department of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering from 1999-2002 and Director of Teaching and Learning in the newly-formed School of Engineering and Physical Sciences from 2002-2010. In 2017, Bob took over as Head of the (Research) Institute of Mechanical, Process and Energy Engineering in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, which he held up to his retirement in 2021. Over his career, Bob has accumulated around 70 years’ experience of teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, served concurrently at the Open University and at RGIT and HWU.

Bob joined the Council of Scottish Association for Metals as Vice President in 2019 and served as President from 2021 to 2023.

In retirement, Bob continues to be active in materials engineering research and in the development of teaching of mechanical engineering. He is also Chief Technical Officer of a spin-out company, IntelliPalp Dx, which he founded in 2020 with a long-term clinical collaborator, and which is seeking to commercialise a screening tool for prostate cancer. Bob is dedicated to gender equality in engineering, having chaired the School’s Athena SWAN SAT, culminating in renewal of its Bronze Charter Mark for 5 years from October 2020. He is currently lead for a British Council funded Gender Equality Partnership with Nile University in Ghiza, Egypt.

Although he has stopped counting, he estimates that he is author of over 350 journal and conference articles and around 150 consultancy reports of failure investigations and has been an investigator on at least £20M of externally-funded research from EPSRC, Industry and European research agencies. He has supervised (or co-supervised) around 70 research students and has acted as external examiner for PhD, postgraduate taught and undergraduate programmes in around 20 HEIs world-wide.

[1] The Riley medal is named after the first President of the West of Scotland Iron and Steel Institute, through which the Scottish Association can trace its history. The medal is awarded to individuals in recognition of significant achievement, either technically or in business, or for outstanding professional service.