John Stuart Archer: 2005—2006

John Archer was born in 1943 and was brought up in London, attending Chiswick Grammar School before gaining a BSc in Industrial Chemistry through a four year sandwich degree at City University London and ICI Mond Division. He continued his studies and gained his PhD and DIC in chemical engineering from Imperial College London in 1968.

In 1969 he was awarded the R P Fraser Memorial Fellowship for Post Doctoral Research in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College and then began his career as a petroleum engineer spending four years as Senior Research Reservoir Engineer at Imperial Oil in Calgary, Canada. In 1973 he returned to the UK as Petroleum Engineer at the Gas Council (Exploration) Ltd in London, and the following year moved to D&S Petroleum Consultants as Manager of Reservoir Studies.

In 1977 he became a partner at Keith and Archer, a firm of consulting petroleum engineers, and co-founder and director of ERC Energy Resource Consultants Ltd.

In 1980 he returned to Imperial College, joining the academic staff as reader in Petroleum Engineering and Research Group Leader in Applied Petroleum & Reservoir Engineering. He went on to play increasingly senior roles in the management of Imperial College first as Dean, then Pro-Rector (1991-1994) and finally Deputy Rector (1994-1996).

It was in 1997 that he moved to Heriot-Watt University as Principal & Vice Chancellor. During his tenure at Heriot-Watt student numbers increased by one-third and the number of post graduates doubled. He oversaw a restructuring drive that returned the university to financial health, oversaw its merger with Scottish College of Textiles to create the University's Scottish Borders Campus in Galashiels, and the formation of the University's new campus in Dubai in 2005.

His work in petroleum engineering led to recognition by a number of organisations and he was made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1992, the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1998, the City & Guilds London Institute in 1996, and was awarded the Lubbock-Sambrook Prize of the Institute of Energy in 1970 and the Society of Petroleum Engineering's Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Faculty in 1992.

John Archer has held numerous external appointments including Convenor of Universities Scotland, a member of the ITI Energy Advisory Board, a member of Council of the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, member of the Scottish Executive Science Strategy Review Group, and as Advisory Editor of a number of petroleum engineering journals.

His expertise has been valued worldwide as evidenced by his Visiting Professorships at University of Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil (September 1989); University of United Arab Emirates, Al-Ain, UAE (where he was also examiner and member of their International Quality Control Team from 1989-1991); and University of Delft, Netherlands (1990-1993).

He received honorary degrees from the University of Edinburgh, Imperial College, City University and Heriot-Watt University and was awarded the CBE for services to education in 2002.

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