University of Leicester Professor among ‘Top 50 Women in Engineering’

Posted by ap507 at Jun 23, 2016 09:34 AM |
List citing Professor Helen Atkinson CBE, FREng Released on National Women in Engineering Day

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 23 June

An inaugural list of the top 50 Women in Engineering, featuring University of Leicester Head of Engineering Professor Helen Atkinson CBE, FREng  is published in the Daily Telegraph for the first time on 23 June 2016 to coincide with National Women in Engineering Day.

The list, compiled by the Telegraph in collaboration with the Women’s Engineering Society features the UK’s top influential female engineers chosen from almost 900 nominations.

Dawn Bonfield, Chief Executive of the Women’s Engineering Society who is also the founder of National Women in Engineering Day commented: “We had a very high response to this campaign and were hugely impressed with the entries. This list of amazing role models is a great way of raising the profile of our talented women engineers and making them more visible both within the industry and to the next generation.”

Professor Atkinson said: “I am absolutely stunned to be on this list. I have no idea who nominated me but it is wonderful that the University and the Department is represented on this list.”

Professor Atkinson is Head of the Department of Engineering at the University of Leicester and a  trustee of the Royal Academy of Engineering. She chairs the  Committee on Education and Skills for the Royal Academy of Engineering. She was elected the first woman President of the Engineering Professors’ Council in its fifty year history, the body which represents engineering in higher education throughout the UK.

The list includes many familiar senior engineers’ names such as Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Naomi Climer, President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and Dame Judith Hackitt DBE, former Chair of the Health and Safety Executive and now Chair of EEF the Manufacturers’ Organisation. It also, however, includes some names that may come as a surprise, including Steph McGovern from BBC Breakfast, a former engineer who continues to do a huge amount to encourage the next generation into engineering, and Chi Onwurah MP – the only female engineer in the House of Commons.

The candidates on the list represent the broad range of engineering roles available including industrialists from the traditional built environment, energy and transport sectors, but also including names from Hilton Worldwide, the Merlin entertainment group and many representatives from academia. The list also includes women who are no longer working as practicing engineers but are nevertheless still influential in the sector.

Judge Allan Cook CBE, Chairman of Atkins commented: “I was really impressed with the calibre, quality and quantity of the submissions. Reading through the entries it was incredibly exciting to see the breadth of talent we have in our engineering community.”

Brief biographies of each one of the 50 engineers on the list will be printed in the Telegraph on 23 June and this will be accompanied by a breakfast launch taking place at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Savoy Place, London WC2R 0BL to which all of the engineers listed and many of the other nominated candidates have been invited.

Sponsors of the campaign were Scottish Power, Mars Petcare, Jaguar Land Rover, SEMTA, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and BAE Systems.

Notes for Editors

The 50 women engineers on this inaugural list for 2016 are:


Job Title

Company Name

Roma Agrawal CEng, MIStructE, MIET, FRICS

Structural Engineer


Professor Helen Atkinson CBE, FREng

Head of Department of Engineering

University of Leicester

Danella Bagnall

Chief Product Engineer

Jaguar Land Rover

Faye Banks FIET, FCMI, FinstLm, CEng, Cmgr

Head of Operations North East

National Grid

Alison Baptiste CEng, FICE, BEng, MSc, MCIWEM

Director of Strategy and Investment, Flood and Coastal Risk Management

Environment Agency

Jayne Bryant FREng, CEng, FIET, FWES

Engineering Director Defence Information

BAE Systems

Muffy Calder OBE, FRSE, FREng

Vice-Principal and Head of College of Science and Engineering 

University of Glasgow

Liv Carroll DIC, CGeol, FGS, FIMMM

Chartered Geologist 

Geological Society

Jacqueline Castle CEng, FIMechE, FRAeS

Chief Engineer A330neo Wing

Airbus UK

Amanda Chessell CBE, FREng

Distinguished Engineer


Naomi Climer FREng, CEng, FIET

President, IET

Institution of Engineering and Technology

Susan Dio

Chief Executive Officer

BP Shipping Limited

Dr Michèle Dix CBE, CEng, FICE, FCIHT, FCILT

Managing Director, Crossrail 2

Transport for London (TfL)

Professor Dame Ann Dowling

President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Deputy Vice-Chancellor

University of Cambridge

Elizabeth Eastaugh

Global Head - Customer Experience


Dawn Elson CEng, FICE, FIMechE, FRAeS, FWES

Group Engineering Director

Merlin Entertainments Group

Jane Gartshore FInstR


Cool Concerns Ltd

Professor Lynn Gladden CBE, FRS, FREng

Shell Professor of Chemical Engineering

University of Cambridge

Dr Paulina Bohdanowicz-Godfrey

Director Energy and Environment

Hilton Worldwide

Dame Judith Hackitt CBE, FREng



Professor Dame Wendy Hall DBE, FRS, FREng

Director, Web Science Institute

University of Southampton

Eur Ing Louise Hardy CEng, FICE, CMgr, FCMI, FWES

Non Executive Director

Sirius Minerals Plc

Professor Caroline Hargrove CEng, MIMechE

Technical Director

McLaren Applied Technologies

Professor Karen Holford FREng, FWES, FLSW, CEng, FIMechE

Pro Vice-Chancellor

Cardiff University

Ying Hu

Manufacturing Systems Engineer

Rolls Royce Plc

Dame Sue Ion FREng, FRS

 Chair NIRAB

Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board

Lady Barbara Judge CBE

Chairman Emeritus

UK Atomic Energy Authority

Baroness Brown of Cambridge DBE, FREng

Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive

Aston University

Ailie MacAdam FICE, MIChemE

Managing Director, Europe and Africa, Infrastructure


Dr Cathy McClay

Head of Commercial, Electricity

National Grid

Steph McGovern


BBC Breakfast

Linda Miller PEng (USA)

Senior Project Manager


Dervilla Mitchell CBE



Heidi Mottram OBE

Chief Executive Officer

Northumbrian Water Group

Alison Nimmo CBE

Chief Executive

The Crown Estate

Belinda Oldfield FICE, AMIoW

General Manager

Scottish Water

Chi Onwurah MP, CEng, FIET, FCGI

Member of Parliament

UK Government

Isobel Pollock-Hulf OBE, CEng, Hon DSc, FIMechE, FCGI


Worshipful Company of Engineers

Dr Haifa Ross

 Head of School of Engineering

Solihull College and University Centre

Helen Samuels


United Utilities

Dr Angela Seeney FEI, CEng, CEng, CPet Eng

Director Technology, Supply Chain and Decommissioning

Oil & Gas Authority

Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, FEI

Chief Executive

Renewable Energy Association

Jane Simpson

Chief Engineer

Network Rail

Dana Skelley OBE

Director of Asset Management

Transport for London

Rachel Skinner CEng, FICE, TPP, MCIHT

Director, Development

WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff

Dr Debbie Smith  OBE, FIFE, CPhys, MInstP

Managing Director

BRE Global

Vicky Stewart MIOA, MWED

Associate Acoustic Consultant


Professor Eleanor Stride

Professor of Engineering Science

University of Oxford

Dr Alison Vincent

Chief Technology Officer

Cisco International Ltd

Katherine Ward CEng, MICE

Group Head, Offshore Wind



  • The campaign was jointly coordinated by the Telegraph and the Women’s Engineering Society and sponsored by Scottish Power, Mars Petcare, Jaguar Land Rover, SEMTA, IET and BAE Systems.
  • Judges of the competition were:

Dawn Bonfield MBE Chief Executive, Women's Engineering Society

Allan Cook CBE Chairman of Atkins, Chairman of SEMTA, Non-Executive Director of BIS

Professor John Perkins CBE FREng Previously BIS Chief Scientific Adviser

Michelle Richmond Membership and Professional Development Director of the Institution of Engineering and Technology

Fiona Tatton Founder and Editor of Womanthology

Their biographies can be seen at

  • Press are welcome to attend the launch event at IET Savoy Place, London by registering for a place here
  • National Women in Engineering Day (#NWED2016) is now an International awareness campaign sponsored by UNESCO to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry. It takes place annually on 23 June and in 2016 NWED is celebrated for the third year. It is coordinated by the Women’s Engineering Society and was established in 2014 to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the Society. See more at
  • Many other events take place across the UK and internationally to mark National Women in Engineering Day and these can be seen here:
  • The Women’s Engineering Society is a charity which was established in 1919 to promote diversity in engineering. It is a membership organisation and supports women engineers; encourages the engineering education; and supports corporate engineering diversity and inclusion.

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