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Eur Ing (European Engineer) Dr Brian Andrew Nicholson: oration

Dr Adrian Evan's oration on Eur Ing Dr Brian Andrew Nicholson for the honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering in December 2018.


Eur Ing Dr Brian Andrew Nicholson
Eur Ing Dr Brian Andrew Nicholson

Acting Vice-Chancellor, Dr Brian Nicholson is a leading and extremely successful barrister at the Intellectual Property Bar. He is based at 11 South Square Chambers and practises in all areas of Intellectual Property and related fields including Patents, Copyright, Design Rights and Trademarks.

After graduating with a 1st Class BEng (Hons) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 1995, Brian stayed at Bath for further study and his PhD entitled “Artificial Intelligence for the Robust Optimisation of Control System Stability” was awarded in 1998. During his PhD, Brian served as a Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer and held the position of Postgraduate Association Chair. On leaving Bath, Brian studied for his Postgraduate Diploma in Law at City University before being called to the Bar (Lincoln’s Inn) in 2000.

In May 2014, following an open competition, Brian was appointed by the Attorney General as Standing Counsel for the Comptroller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks. His engineering background means that he is frequently instructed in complex electronic patent disputes that demand in-depth knowledge of the latest technology. To keep up to date, he consults with the leading academics in this area and is never happier than when deep in discussion of new technology with the relevant world expert. Brian’s logical approach to litigation is renowned and he has received numerous award nominations, including a place in the list of the top 100 juniors practising at the Bar of England and Wales across all areas of law.

Although a barrister by profession, at heart Brian remains an electronic engineer and in 2011 he established a fund to enable students from his former department to enjoy the same opportunity he had, of pursuing their passion for electronic engineering through to PhD level. After completing his PhD in bioelectronics, the first recipient of this award, Dr Ben Metcalfe, was subsequently appointed as a Lecturer in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in August 2016. Brian’s philanthropic support, both financially and as a mentor, was instrumental in helping Ben develop the independent, critical thinking required for the doctoral process and for his longer-term career.

Brian went on to fund a second PhD Student and, in September 2015, he pledged £139,000 to fund a series of five more studentship over the next ten years. This generous funding will provide the opportunity for students in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering to follow their passion for electronic engineering and pursue doctoral study in a topic of their choosing. This passion for curiosity–driven research is a reflection of Brian’s own love of the discipline and his undiminished thirst for knowledge in this area. In addition to taking a close interest in the projects of all the students he supports, Brian also gives up his very valuable time to give guest lectures to undergraduates on intellectual property issues in electronic engineering. His connection to the Department is ongoing and we look forward to it continuing for many years to come.

Brian is a Chartered Engineer and a registered European Engineer. He is a member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the British Computer Society, the Association for Computing Machinery, the Chancery Bar Association, and the Intellectual Property Bar Association. He is a fellow of the Royal Institution of Great Britain and a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce.

Both his success as one of the UK’s leading Intellectual Property Barristers and his unfaltering support of Bath, in both academic and philanthropic terms, demonstrate that Brian is an extremely worthy candidate to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa.


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