MBE honour for Lancaster University’s Eurostar engineer

Prof Roger Kemp.
Prof Roger Kemp.

A retired engineer who worked on high profile projects including the Eurostar and Docklands Light Railway has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours.

Prof Roger Kemp said he saw the honour as a reward for his colleagues over the years as well as for himself.

“I prefer to see it as a recognition of engineering as a whole and its significance in society rather than a personal thing,” he said.

Prof Kemp’s career has seen him move around Britain to work in a variety of industries, eventually settling in Lancaster 10 years ago with his wife Joan. The couple have an adult son and daughter.

His work has also taken him to Brazil, Columbia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore.

But it was a career he fell into by accident, after changing his degree to electrical engineering from materials science.

“I was studying at Sussex University and I failed chamistry after two terms,” he said. “I almost got into engineering by accident rather than a big long-term plan.

“But it has been a fun, interesting and very satisfying career. The biggest project I worked on was the Eurostar. I took over managing the design and development team, which was two very intesive years.

“Another exciting project was the initial system for Docklands Light Railway, where I was engineering manager.”

Prof Kemp has been working at Lancaster University as a professorial fellow and lecturer for the last 10 years, after taking early retirement.

He lectures in safety engineering and energy and the environment.

He is particularly concerned with energy use in transport and contributed to the Department for Transport white paper on sustainable transport. His research interests include the safety regulation of the nuclear industry as well as energy use and safety regulation of transport systems.

Prof Kemp was told about his MBE by letter at the end of November.

“I got a very official looking letter,” the 70-year-old said.

“It was very welcome and I take it as a reward for the teams I have been working with as well as for myself.

“It’s a nice recognition.”