Professor Barry Downing completed an MScEng degree by research into electronically tuned Gunn oscillators in 1970. He then worked for the Plessey Allen Clarke Research Centre as a Senior Research Engineer working with Microwave and Millimetre wave GaAs oscillators and wide band GaAs monolithic low noise and power amplifiers. He completed a PhD part time at the University of Sheffield in 1973. He accepted a company transfer to Plessey South Africa, where he was a senior design engineer responsible for developing transmitters and receivers for fixed point to point and mobile electronic distance measuring systems.
He joined the University of Cape Town as a full professor in 1983 and established a research group in novel Microwave transducers, components and circuits. He was Head of the Electrical Engineering Department for 12 years and a Deputy Dean for 10 years. He retired in December 2010 and he has continued to be actively involved at UCT to date as an Emeritus Professor.
He is presently the Program Convener for the MEng Professional Taught Masters degree in Radar.