Cliff Burrows joined the University in 1987 as Professor of Systems Engineering and the Director of the Fluid Power Centre, subsequently re-named the Centre for Power Transmission & Motion Control.
Cliff’s research interests were in the dynamics and control of machine systems. This work was supported by numerous major grants and many projects were undertaken in collaboration with industry. Over the course of his career he authored/co-authored around 250 papers in journals and conference proceedings. In 1988, he inaugurated what is now known as the Annual Bath/ASME Symposium on Fluid Power & Motion Control and was co-editor of the Proceedings until 2005.
His efforts and contributions were recognised by, amongst other things: the award of a DSc in 1987; the award of the IMechE Joseph Bramah Medal in 1993; election to the Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1998; award of honorary doctorates from RWTH Aachen University and the University of Aston in 2000 and 2001 respectively; and the award of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Robert E. Koski Medal in 2008.
His lifetime achievements were further recognised by the award of an OBE in 2005 for services to Higher Education and to Engineering. One of his proudest days was at Buckingham Palace receiving his honour from Her Majesty The Queen.
Cliff served as Head of what was then the School of Mechanical Engineering between 1990 and 1995. During this period, under his leadership the School was awarded the highest (5*) rating in the Research Assessment Exercise.
Cliff subsequently served as the Inaugural Hebron and Medlock Dean of the Faculty of Engineering for a period of five years. He continued to make substantial research contributions whilst serving as Head of School and as Dean and largely as a result of his efforts in leadership the University was awarded external funding for a new building for the Centre for Power Transmission & Motion Control (8 East). Further external recognition, under Cliff’s leadership, of the Centre's outstanding research and its industrial significance came through the award of a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education in 2001 – the first of these to be awarded to the University.
Following retirement as Dean and Director of the Centre, Cliff continued to contribute to research activities through, amongst other things, his role as chairman of the University’s Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre.
Cliff’s family played a huge part in his life, and he was devoted to his wife Margaret who sadly passed away last September, their four children, and grandchildren.
With all his academic commitments he had little spare time, but he was an avid rugby supporter. His mood on a Monday morning would be a good indicator as to how well Bath fared in the most recent match! Additionally, although not widely known in the academic community, he was an ordained minister. When the award of his OBE was reported in the press he was referred to as the Reverend Professor Clifford Burrows. He was actively involved with Christ Church in Bath.
Cliff had a great sense of humour and had the grace to enjoy a joke at his own expense.
The family have expressed the intention to do something special to honour this extraordinary man's life but unfortunately, although understandably with the current pandemic situation, that will have to take place at some point in the future. We will bring you a further announcement on this when we know more.