The Early Years - How the AUE initially achieved recognition


Harland Roberts, Superintendant Engineer of Essex University, in a letter dated 9th April 1970, named the first four members to serve on the Steering Committee.

At a meeting on 9th May 1970, five more members joined the steering committee and all were confirmed. The Steering Committee Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer were elected. The objective was to organise and develop the proposed concept for a group to be known as ' The Association of University Engineers'.

Harland Roberts Essex - Chairman
Len Sanderson - Aston
Geoff Hoare - Manchester
John Hallet - Manchester
John Urquart - Manchester
Tom Taylor - Warwick
Peter Kerr - Bristol
Jim Cansfield - Lancaster
P. Pearson - Keele
Eric Adams - Salford

Click here to read the Minutes of that meeting.

The Steering Committee met again on the 9th June 1970, when they formulated proposals for the Objectives & Terms of Reference for an Association of University Engineers and wrote to the CVCP informing them of this proposal and of the fact that a Steering Committee had been formed.

The Steering Committee was formally disbanded at its first Annual General Meeting, held on the 12th September 1970, and this enabled the Association of University Engineers (AUE) to be formed, ratified and duly constituted by the 19 Engineers present.

The Chairman of the Steering Committee, Harland Roberts, formally stood down, the Association of University Engineers was duly established and Harland Roberts was elected as first Chairman of the Association.

At this meeting, the proposed 'Articles of Constitution' were discussed, the title 'Association of University Engineers' agreed and the roles of Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer established. The remaining members of the original Steering Committee were all then elected to Council.

Therefore the Association of University Engineers was formally ratified and came into existence on the 12th September 1970.


The First Annual Conference

The first Annual Conference was held at Salford University on the 8th October 1971 and Eric Adams of Salford University was the first Conference Chairman.


General Development

The annual membership subscription for the AUE had historically been based on a personal levy and this remained until 2006 whereupon the AUE followed the general practice of all University groups through moving to an Institutional levy.

During the 1970s, the Higher Education sector in the UK was undergoing a massive expansion programme, and the engineering services aspects of a University Estate became more important and in focus.  This was further highlighted by the Energy Crisis, caused by conflict in the Middle East, which led to the dramatic rise in fuel costs and which was to have a long term impact on the running costs of a University Estate and the need for Energy Management.

The Association of University Engineers developed through the 1970s and 1980s, the Executive Committee being elected from the floor at the AGM in a similar manner to the major institutions, the IEE, IMechE and CIBSE. In general, the Chairman of the AUE was elected for a two-year period, the period on enrollment for the Treasurer and Secretary being left flexible and very much up to the individual. During this period the Constitution for Association was drawn up and presented to its members at the AGM for ratification.

On 12th February 2016 the AUE became a ‘Private Company Limited by Guarantee’ and is registered at Companies House.

The AUE is now registered as a non-profit organisation and as such all monies accrued from membership levies and the annual conference are used for the benefit of the general membership and include subsidised training and membership to several professional organisations; one of which is the National Equipment Defect Reporting Scheme (NEDeRS), an extremely useful site for electrical engineers, which is currently free to AUE members.

The Association has always organised an Annual Conference, which generally had an allocated theme with invitation or call for conference papers from within the AUE and also from external companies and agencies. The conferences have traditionally begun on a Wednesday afternoon, with the main conference papers delivered on the Thursday followed by a conference dinner and end of conference Friday lunchtime. The AUE Annual Conference developed in size as interest in the Association grew and this marked the beginning of companies being allowed to exhibit at the conference and generate conference income for the Association. Also, the AUE Conference made provision for retired members to continue to attend conference, with a separate social programme, but with the opportunity to meet with acquaintances at the conference dinner.

The AUE awards annually the "Tom Bradley" prize to the member who presents the best paper at the annual conference or who has submitted the best paper for the News Letter or Website article in the previous twelve months. The Tom Bradley prize is a large "Egg Timer" with a duration of 30 minutes, which is presented at the conference dinner and is held by the recipient until the following conference.


Past Chairmen of AUE

The Association notes the outstanding contributions from the following individuals who have led the Association at the highest level: