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INCOSE Awards Systems Engineering Pioneer

by INCOSE UMS | Jan 01, 2008

Release Date:  15 May 2006
INCOSE celebrates 16 years as the authoritative body on Systems Engineering. Since 1997, ten individuals have been recognized for their pioneering contributions to the discipline. Professor Philip K. M’Pherson is the most recent recipient of the Pioneer’s Award, announced during the Annual International Symposium this July in Orlando. Unable to travel, Professor M’Pherson will receive his award in a special ceremony during the opening plenary of the 5th Biennial European Systems Engineering Conference taking place in Edinburgh the 18-20th September.
The citation reads,
“Philip M’Pherson has been a practitioner, educator and intellectual leader in systems engineering for over 45 years and an early and inspirational member of the UK chapter of INCOSE. His appreciation for precise mathematical modelling in system design design inspired a generation of systems engineers to follow. As Professor of Systems Science at City University in London, he set up the Department of Systems Science in 1972 – his knowledge, passion and tenacity led the department into a position of intellectual leadership in applying systems thinking. He developed the Inclusive Value Methodology (IVM™) for the broad measurement of both the tangible and intangible assets of projects and organizations. His lasting contribution to systems engineering is a clarity of understanding and quantifying the dynamic relationships among and within complex systems.”
Members of INCOSE hail from industries in which complex systems are the mainstay – such as aerospace and defence design and manufacture. Thanks to the efforts of the INCOSE pioneers and visionaries, increasing numbers of members are joining from other sectors such as transportation, information technologies and telecommunications, energy and infrastructure, to name a few.
Philip M’Pherson first thought of himself as a systems engineer back in 1954/5 when, as an officer in the Royal Navy, he was working at MIT on inertial navigation. He retired from the Navy to accept an appointment to the UK Atomic Energy Authority, and left the UKEAE on his election as a fellow of St. Johns College, Oxford. His next challenge was with City University, London, where he launched a department that would teach and research in the disciplines of Systems Science and Systems Engineering. Philip M’Pherson retired early from the University to concentrate on consultancy where he pursued his fascination with systems engineering as a whole-process and with cost-effectiveness analysis in particular. After a few years private development, the Inclusive Value Manager (IVM) was launched as a generic methodology for valid value measurement. IVM is employed by many corporate clients measuring their value, cost effectiveness, and intellectual capital. Professor M’Pherson has degrees from MIT and Oxford University; he is a Chartered Electrical Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers; and he is a Freeman of the City of London. He remains Emeritus Professor of Systems Engineering in the School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at the City University, London.
During the conference, Professor M’Pherson will deliver an invited lecture on “The Meaning and Value of Systems Engineering: A Life-cycle Appreciation” during which he will clarify the meaning of Systems Engineering as he experienced it in the 50 years spanning 1950-2000. He says, “Without a doubt SE has the potential to contribute considerable positive intangible value, as well as reducing costs. But that value will not be fully realised until society can come to terms with 21st century complexity and appreciate the endeavours of the systems engineer of the future as the Master of Complexity.”
The International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) is an international professional society for systems engineers. INCOSE ( was founded in 1990 to develop, and disseminate the interdisciplinary principles and practices that enable the realization of successful systems. Today there are over 5,000 members, 50 chartered chapters, and more than 50 Corporate Advisory Board organizations from government, industry, and academia worldwide.