Formerly Director of Engineering and Technology and a Main Board member of Rolls-Royce plc from 1997 to 2001 where he enjoyed a distinguished career in engineering. He is a former Member of the Council for Science and Technology and a former Member of the Council of the Royal Society. He has received many national and international awards including the prestigious Mac Robert Award and the Prince Philip Medal from the Royal Academy of Engineering for his work on the Trent engine. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2001 for his services to the Defence and Aerospace Industries.
Professor John Denton was director of the Whittle lab at Cambridge University from 1984 – 1990 and from 1999 – 2005. At the Whittle lab he developed numerical methods for flow calculation in turbomachines and performed research on the flow in aero engines, gas turbines and steam turbines. The numerical methods that he has developed are widely used around the world and he has received many international awards for his work. He retired from the University in 2005 but is still active as a consultant and continues to develop his numerical methods. He is a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and of the Royal Society. He obtained his BA and PhD from Cambridge University and an MASc from the University of British Columbia.
Professor Kirk was Chief Civil Aerospace Design Engineer at Rolls Royce. Through the application of innovative design and technology, he continually reduced fuel consumption, noise and harmful emissions across the company's range of aero-engines.
Since leaving Rolls Royce he has pursued a career in design education, for which he is internationally recognised. Professor Kirk is a member of the Design Council, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng), and a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI).