Professor Richard Darton awarded OBE

Professor Richard Darton, OBE
Professor Richard Darton, OBE at the Department of Engineering Science

Congratulations to Professor Richard Darton, former head of the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, who has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in recognition of his services to Engineering.

Richard Darton is Professor of Engineering Science here at Oxford, a Fellow of Keble College, and is the current President of the European Federation of Chemical Engineering (EFCE).  He is also a Fellow of IChemE (Institution of Chemical Engineers) and a member of its Council, and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Notable achievements in Professor Darton’s career have included:

  • Being instrumental in establishing the new course in chemical engineering at Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science in 1991. According to this year’s QS World University Rankings, chemical engineering at Oxford is rated as the fourth best in the world!
  • Changing the way engineering courses are accredited and raising professional standards. Professor Darton headed the IChemE’s qualifications activities. This led to the way courses are accredited, first by IChemE, and later by other engineering institutions.
  • Advancing the strategic direction of the EFCE (an association of 40 professional societies throughout Europe representing over 100,000 chemical engineers). With Professor Darton at the helm the EFCE strategy today focuses on areas that he believes chemical engineers of European countries ‘can and should be taking a lead on’.  These are: sustainability; food and water supply; innovation in new technology; creation of new wealth and new jobs.

Prior to working in academia, Professor Darton had a successful career with Shell.  During his time there he researched and developed new technologies in “separations”, significantly for large scale oil distillation, purifying natural gas and cleaning up waste water.

Commenting on his OBE, Professor Darton said: “In my career I have been privileged to work with outstandingly talented people – at Shell, at Oxford and in the professional and institutional world.  All engineering is a team effort; you need individual creativity and drive of course, but you depend on colleagues to a huge extent.  So I am greatly honoured by the award of an OBE – a pleasure for my family and friends – but I am conscious that my contribution has relied on the work of others. I regard it as an accolade for engineering.

The OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire), is an order of chivalry established to honour those who serve the UK in a non-military capacity. Honours are given by Her Majesty the Queen on the advice of the Government.