Anne Neville

1970 – 2022

Anne Neville

Inspirational researcher in mechanical engineering, specialising in tribology.

Engineering Achievements

Professor Neville’s research expertise covered corrosion and tribo-corrosion, lubrication and wear, mineral scaling, surgical technologies and tribology. She started working on some of these areas whilst at Heriot-Watt University.

Neville and her group moved to Leeds in 2003 where she became Director of the newly formed Institute of Functional Surfaces (iFS) which comprises 70 researchers. The institute spans many agencies and industrial sectors including medical, oil and gas & automotive.

Her research group was the first to measure corrosion rates in-situ in hip joint simulators. This was very important in the most recent controversies around metal-on-metal implants. They have used advanced microscopy x-ray spectroscopy to understand how surfaces are lubricated in industrial and medical components.

Her Life

  1. 1970 Born in Dumfries on 21 March 1970
  2. app 1981 Age: 11 Educated at Maxwelltown High School, Dumfries
  3. 1988 Age: 18 Matriculated in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Glasgow, graduating BEng (First Class Honours in 1992
  4. 1992 Age: 22 Began PhD research, completing in 1995
  5. 1995 Age: 25 Lecturer, Heriot -Watt University
  6. 1999 Age: 29 Awarded EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship
  7. 1999 Age: 29 Awarded the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Makdougall Brisbane Prize for particular distinction in the promotion of scientific research (the first woman winner of a prize established in 1859)
  8. 2002 Age: 32 Professor, Heriot-Watt University
  9. 2003 Age: 33 Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies and Professor of Tribology and Surface engineering, Leeds University and Director of the Institute of Functional Surfaces
  10. 2005 Age: 35 elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
  11. 2010 Age: 40 elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering
  12. 2011 Age: 41 Royal Society Research Merit Award
  13. 2014 Age: 44 Announced as one of 10 EPSRC RISE (Recognising Inspirational Scientists and Engineers) Fellows
  14. 2016 Age: 46 Royal Society Leverhulme Medal for revealing diverse physical and chemical processes at interacting interfaces, emphasising significant synergy between tribology and corrosion.
  15. 2017 Age: 46 OBE in the New Year Honours for services to engineering
  16. 2017 Age: 47 Fellow of the Royal Society
  17. 2020 Age: 50 Retired from the University of Leeds
  18. 2022 Age: 52 Died at home on 7 July


A great feature of Anne’s work was her boundless enthusiasm and her ability to inspire the coming generation of engineers. It is not unreasonable to say that, as well as being amongst the most influential mechanical engineers in the UK, she was and still is the No.1 role model for female mechanical engineers.

More Information

Honorary Doctorate, Heriot-Watt University, 2017

Honorary Doctorate, University of Glasgow, 2019

Cite Top