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Dr David Cleevely FREng CBE

David is wearing a suit and tie underneath his doctoral graduation gown. He holds the cap in the air and smiles.

Areas of Interest

Business, Science and Technology

Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of Technology



Citation

Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to read the citation for David Cleevely for the award of Honorary Doctor of Technology.

David Cleevely is a Cambridge-based entrepreneur, former Chair of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, co-founder of Cambridge Angels, and recently described as “the original digital architect”.

Born in Germany to parents stationed at an RAF base, David came home to the UK at the age of two. He grew up in southwest London, attended the local grammar school, and possessing a sharp and inquisitive mind, won a sponsorship to study Cybernetics at the University of Reading.

After graduating, he did a stint working for the Long Range Studies Division at Post Office Telecoms, then took a PhD in Telecommunications and Economic Development at Cambridge University.

Armed with his doctorate and the experience gained in some interesting fieldwork for the World Bank in Africa, David went to work for the Economist Intelligence Unit – the research and analysis division of the Economist Magazine.

His successful consulting assignments led to speedy promotion to Divisional Director for Telecoms. It also led him to believe that he had the ability to succeed on his own. And in 1985, David set up a new telecoms consultancy business, Analysys.

The timing was perfect. David’s decision to take his unique expertise and experience onto the open market coincided with an unparalleled technology boom. The venture was an extraordinary success.

As the telecoms market grew exponentially, David and Analysys were at the very heart of it, deploying his unique expertise to extend the boundaries of what was possible, and making industry-changing deals.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Analysys grew at breakneck speed, and was soon running a worldwide network of offices, from Washington to Kuala Lumpa – all connected via pioneering web based systems, the like of which had never been seen before but which nearly 30 years later we take for granted.

When the telecoms crash of 2001 swept away great swathes of the industry, Analysys - a business built on the firm foundations of unrivalled knowledge and capability – stood strong.

The rollercoaster ride finally ended in 2004 when David sold the business. Yet in truth, he was just getting started. Because in 1998 he had co-founded the antibody company Abcam with Jonathan Milner and in 2006 took it to a stock market listing, taking him to the next stage in his career.

Over the next two decades, David went on to invest in over 50 companies, three of which he remains chair of today.

He has made significant contributions to the success of Cambridge, having been a cofounder and Chair of Cambridge Network, Cambridge Wireless, Cambridge Angels, cofounded Cambridge Ahead. He was the Founding Director of the Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge and was Chair of the Advisory Council until 2018.

Shortly after Raspberry Pi began operations in 2012 David was brought in as a director and was then appointed Chair of both Raspberry Pi Technology and the Raspberry Pi Foundation, posts he held until a couple of years ago.

David has been involved in a wide range of government advisory roles including the Ofcom Spectrum Advisory Board and the Ministry of Defence Board, overseeing information systems and services.

David is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering where he chaired the Enterprise Committee and of The Institution of Engineering and Technology.

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to technology and innovation in 2013 and in that same year was elected a Fellow Commoner of Queens College, Cambridge, in 2013. He was appointed as an honorary fellow at Trinity Hall in 2016.

David boasts a quite remarkable track-record of founding and leading innovative businesses, and he has had a profound impact on the economic development of our region and our nation.

His integrity, diligence, resourcefulness, and a strong commitment to serve the local community, are all closely aligned with our university’s values. And he will be a powerful role model both for our technology and our business students. We are delighted to welcome David Cleevely to our Anglia Ruskin community.

Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to present David Cleevely for the award of Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa.