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‘If you want to make a difference, consider becoming a fellow’

13 December 2022

ICE Fellow Douglas Chisholm wants to encourage members from underrepresented groups in our industry to apply for fellowship.

‘If you want to make a difference, consider becoming a fellow’
Fellowship is the highest grade of ICE membership. Image credit: Douglas Chisholm

Who can be an ICE fellow?

I feel very honored to have been accepted as a fellow of the ICE – it's a recognition of the highest grade of ICE membership.

Fellowship is achieved by senior professionals who are or were responsible for promoting, planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, or managing important engineering work.

Fellows may also be engaged in education and/or research.

As well as being successful in their career, fellows are senior professionals who have made a major contribution to the industry.

Although this may sound challenging, a fellow is expected to have achieved at least one but no more than four of a broad range of 14 attributes.

In my case I drew upon three attributes covering project and business management, spanning 35 years working as contractor, client and consultant.

Who or what inspired you to apply for ICE fellowship?

I was inspired to apply for fellowship by a desire to use my experience to support the ICE in its aims.

I also wanted to widen my knowledge by networking with other professionals who share my interest in the built environment and engineering.

I was particularly inspired by a fellowship event with Victoria Hills, who is the chief executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

The discussion drew upon a great depth of insight and thought in the planning challenges and the importance of this system in shaping our future world.

My decision to go for fellowship also came from encouragement from friends at work who were keen to sponsor me as fellows themselves, and I saw it as a way of getting more involved in making the ICE more influential.

How do you go about becoming an ICE fellow?

The process of application is not onerous, but I did find I had to set aside dedicated quality time to set out my personal statement and review it with my sponsors.

Time spent talking to current and past colleagues who had been through the process was valuable in giving me confidence in how I presented my case.

The ICE fellowship team were also very helpful in helping navigate the process and making sure my application was able to proceed.

Why does ICE fellowship matter?

Being a fellow matters to me because it carries a responsibility to be influential in shaping the ICE for today and the future.

At the ICE, we have a responsibility to use our talents to influence policy and investment in infrastructure for a more sustainable world.

Being a fellow gives you an opportunity to take a leading role in these efforts.

However, these are complex matters, not just technically but also politically, and so we need a diversity of thought and debate to be effective.

Therefore, I want to encourage more people from underrepresented groups to become fellows.

The fellows’ role in deciding our future

As a civil engineer I’m very conscious that we influence how society uses the world’s natural resources.

In our work we influence choices about natural resources involving land take, materials, logistics, energy sources, water management and waste treatment.

The current climate emergency is an example of the pressing need for us as civil engineers to bring new thinking to how we use these resources.

My current interest is in energy, and I’m fortunate to work in a firm that is committed to supporting our clients in transitioning to cleaner energy sources and transmission.

As the ICE, we must bring ambitious and practical new thinking to energy.

For this we need to ensure that our fellowship cohort is diverse and inclusive.

If you want to make a difference, consider becoming a fellow.

Learn more about becoming an ICE fellow

  • Douglas Chisholm (he/him), director at Arup