The Karen Burt Award

About the award

Each year WES asks Professional Engineering Institutions to nominate their best newly chartered engineer, from which a winner of the Karen Burt Award is chosen.   This most prestigious annual WES award was set up to encourage more women to aim for and celebrate the achievement of Chartered Engineer status.  For further information on the award please contact the WES office on info@wes.org.uk.

Congratulations to the 2016 Karen Burt Award winner, Clare Lavelle, and to the other newly chartered engineers nominated by their PEI.  Read more about Clare Lavelle and the nominees for 2016. 

**Nominations are now open for the 2017 Karen Burt Award**

Previous Winners of the Award

What is the award and who is eligible?

Launched on 3 November 1998 by WES, the Karen Burt Memorial Award is made annually to a newly Chartered woman in the following disciplines – engineering, applied science, IT.

The award recognizes the candidate's excellence and potential in the practice of engineering and highlights the importance of Chartered status, as well as offering recognition to contributions made by the candidate to the promotion of the engineering profession.

How are nominations made?

Each participating accrediting engineering Institution nominates one candidate annually, following the normal institutional review process, with final selection by a WES panel on the basis of further information provided by the candidate. This latter stage focuses particularly on the candidate's contribution to the promotion of the engineering profession. The collaboration strengthens links between WES and the engineering Institutions and helps raise the profile of women engineers and encourage them to attain Chartered status.  Deadline for submission of application from the nominee: 31 July 2017.

For details about how to apply, please refer to the application form found at the bottom of this page.

Further information on the Karen Burt award

Individuals wishing to obtain further information about the award and the nomination procedure should in the first instance contact their own accrediting professional Institution. Institution managers who need further information should contact the WES office at info@wes.org.uk.

Who was Karen Burt?

As an active member and Council office holder in The Women's Engineering Society, Dr Karen Burt was a tireless campaigner for the recruitment and retention of women in science and engineering. From her own experience and her extensive research she was regarded as an expert in the management of career breaks and women 'returners' to engineering.

Karen graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge and obtained a PhD from Reading University in electron microscopy. She joined British Aerospace Systems at Stevenage as project engineer for scientific satellites and progressed to Senior Systems Engineer before developing an interest in management in the Total Quality Environment, and subsequently becoming Business Acquisition Manager.

Leaving BAe, she set up her own consultancy and was instrumental in establishing the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation Systems within University College, London. She had just accepted a position on the staff of UCL when her career was abruptly ended by a devastating stroke.

Karen is remembered as a gifted communicator and her fight to recover speech and mobility following her stroke was an inspiration to all who knew her.