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Geoff Kirk Awarded the 2006 Sir Misha Black Medal for Distinguished Services to Design Education

Geoff Kirk, RDI, FREng, Chief Design Engineer – Civil Aerospace for Rolls-Royce, creator of the most advanced aircraft engines has been awarded the 2006 Sir Misha Black Medal for distinguished services to design education.
The Misha Black Medal will be given to Geoff Kirk at a special award ceremony to be held at the Royal College of Art at 6pm on Wednesday 15 March 2006, when Professor Kirk will also deliver an address on his design and education philosophy.
Professor Kirk has been involved with major engineering developments for Rolls-Royce since he first joined the company at Derby in 1968. He is an internationally recognised designer with outstanding knowledge, experience and understanding of gas turbine, aero-engine and component design; engine performance and aircraft installation. His designs have been developed to give Rolls-Royce and the UK a leading position in powering the world’s largest civil aircraft. His recent key achievements include the conceptual design of the Trent 500, the sole power plant for the Airbus A340-500/600 and the Trent 900 for the Airbus A380 aircraft. He led the team that did the original design for the latest Rolls-Royce engine, the Trent 1000, selected by Boeing and a number of airlines to power the new 787 Dreamliner, due to enter service in 2008. Rolls-Royce has continually reduced fuel consumption, noise and harmful emissions across their range of aero-engines by the application of good design and technology.
The Medal is, however, awarded not for these achievements but for Professor Kirk’s major contribution to the education and development of designers both within Rolls-Royce and across a broader community. He is a Rolls-Royce Engineering Fellow-Design and is responsible for design professionalism throughout the whole company. He is a Visiting Professor at Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Nottingham where he is closely engaged in design teaching and student assessment and is renowned for spreading his enthusiasm for his subjects. He is a member of the Design Council – supporting activities, including the annual ‘Designers into Schools’ week where designers from industry work with the young on design projects.
Geoff Kirk’s commitment to innovation through teamwork by designers and engineers falls very much within the tradition of Sir Misha Black who founded the Industrial Design (Engineering) course at the Royal College of Art and who was responsible for initial collaboration with Imperial College. Prof. Frank Height, Committee Member, who was the immediate successor to Misha Black at the Royal College of Art, says:
“Misha Black had a powerful belief in the creative interaction of engineering and industrial design education. In my opinion, Geoff Kirk has taken this belief and applied it to achieve international recognition for the excellence of advanced engineering design and engineering skills which are being fostered in UK educational institutions.”

The 2006 Award Programme and Ceremony have been generously supported by the John Lewis Partnership.