Zienkiewicz Lecture 2022

On Wednesday 9th November at 6pm Swansea University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering will host its sixth Zienkiewicz Lecture at The National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.

The guest speaker will be Professor Sir Jim McDonald BSc, MSc, PhD, DSc, CEng, who will deliver a lecture entitled 'A Whole Systems Approach to achieving Net Zero: a 21st Century Energy System'.

Guest Speaker Professor Sir Jim McDonald

Guest Speaker Professor Sir Jim McDonald, BSc, MSc, PhD, DSc, CEng

We are delighted to welcome Professor Sir Jim McDonald, BSc, MSc, PhD, DSc, CEng, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde and President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, as guest speaker of the 2022 Zienkiewicz Lecture.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald is a three-time graduate of Strathclyde having taken his BSc, MSc and PhD degrees in the area of electrical engineering, power systems and energy economics.

On first graduating, he worked for seven years in the electric utility industry, re-joining Strathclyde in 1984 as a "new blood" lecturer in Electronic & Electrical Engineering.

He was appointed to the Rolls-Royce Chair in Electrical Power Systems in 1993, became Head of Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in 2003 and served as Deputy Principal for Research and Knowledge Exchange from 2006. He became Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde in March 2009.

In October 2019 he was elected President of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), becoming the first Scottish holder of the office.
Sir Jim Co-chairs, with the First Minister, the Scottish Government’s Energy Advisory Board. He is Chairman of the Independent Glasgow Economic Leadership Board and is a past-Chair of the Board of the Glasgow Science Centre.

He is delighted to act as the Chancellor of the Children's University, a charity raising education aspirations for children and their families. He is President of CESAER, the association of Universities of Science and Technology with 52 member institutions.

He currently holds several senior non-executive business appointments on the Boards of Scottish Power, the Weir Group, the UK Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult Board and the UK National Physical Laboratory.

He chairs two of the pan-Scotland university research pools in Energy and Engineering.

Previously he has been a Board Member of: Scottish Enterprise; UKTI Energy Excellence Board; and Scottish Science Advisory Committee. He has held other company positions with ASCADA (acquired by GE) and Axeda Systems, a NASDAQ quoted company.

In the Queen’s Jubilee Birthday Honours List on 16 June 2012, Professor McDonald was awarded a Knighthood for services to education, engineering and the economy. In September 2013 Professor McDonald received the “Outstanding Contribution as a Business Leader” recognition at The Herald’s inaugural Inspiring City Awards event.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Institute of Physics and the Energy Institute.


There is a need to redesign and implement a new energy system that embeds net zero objectives in supply and demand to address the challenge of climate change. The resolution of the ‘energy trilemma’ across energy decarbonisation, cost and security – compounded by the need for societal acceptance and economic value – should be central to this.

This talk will present a framework for such a whole systems approach in technology, innovation, policy, skills and investment. Examples will be provided in a number of energy themes including: offshore wind; smart, d.c. and autonomous grids; hydrogen; built environment; and, nuclear. These themes will be presented in the context of a redesigned, low-carbon, energy system for the 21stC.

The requirements for engineering, technology, innovation and skills will be highlighted as fundamental requirements to realise this energy future.

Each year we hold a Zienkiewicz Lecture where we welcome a guest speaker from industry and host a formal dinner in Swansea.

The annual lecture is supported by the following organisations:

  • International Association for Computational Mechanics
  • Learned Society of Wales
  • National Research Network, Engineering, Swansea University
  • Swansea University
  • UK Association for Computational Mechanics
  • South Wales Institute of Engineers Educational Trust