Philip graduated from Bristol University in 1961 with a first class honours in Mechanical Engineering. He joined Rolls-Royce where he had a distinguished career becoming the Main Board Director for Engineering and Technology in 1997 until his retirement in 2001.

Professor Ruffles made a major contribution to the development of the RB211 and Trent engines and has written a book The History of the Rolls-Royce RB211 Turbofan Engine. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering. He has served on many government committees including the Council for Science and Technology and has received many national and international awards. He was awarded the Royal Aeronautical Society Gold Medal, the Mac Robert award for his work on the Trent Engine and the Prince Philip Medal from the Royal Academy of Engineering. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2001.