Womens Engineering Society: Inspiring women as engineers, scientists and technical leaders

The Karen Burt Award

The Karen Burt Award

Deadline for 2015 applications from the nominated candidates has now closed.

Meet the Karen Burt Award Judges.

This most prestigious WES award is awarded to the best newly qualified woman Chartered Engineer. It is an annual award to encourage more women to aim for and celebrate the achievement of Chartered Engineer status. Entries for the 2015 award are now open, and forms can be downloaded here. Deadline for applications is the end of July 2015. The award will be presented at the WES Prestige Lecture 2015 on 4 November in London. Applications should be sent to karenburt@wes.org.uk and marked Karen Burt Nomination 2015.

Candidates for the 2015 award must have been awarded Chartered Status between 1 July 2014 and 1 July 2015.

2014 Award: Elaine Greaney

The 2014 award has been given to Elaine Greaney of Qinetiq, the candidate of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. 

Elaine graduated from Oxford University with a Masters degree in Physics. She also holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Management from the University of Bath and became a Chartered Engineer with the IET in October 2013.

Elaine has worked for the Space department at QinetiQ in Farnborough since starting as a new graduate in 2004. For the first 4 years she was the Operations Engineer for an experimental remote sensing satellite called TopSat - capturing imagery of the Earth to support disaster relief projects. In recognition of her achievements in this role Elaine was a finalist in the Women of the Future awards 2007 (science & technology category), and was awarded the Royal Aeronautical Society Geoffrey Pardoe Space Award and Silver Team Award.

In 2008 she joined the Electric Propulsion team and began working to develop cutting edge ion engines for interplanetary spacecraft such as the European Space Agency’s BepiColombo mission to Mercury. Her current role is as the Mechanical and Propulsion Team Leader - leading a team of system engineers who specialise in the design of new rocket technologies.

Elaine has presented several papers at international space conferences and events organised by IET regional branches. She has a particular interest in STEM outreach – regularly supporting careers events at local schools and authoring articles published in educational magazines such as the BIS’s “Voyage” and the national STEM centre’s “Catalyst”. Elaine has been interviewed several times for national newspapers, regional television news and the Teacher’s TV channel in support of aerospace careers segments.

The award will be presented to Elaine at the WES Prestige Lecture on 29 November 2014 at IMechE in London.

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.

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.

Who was Karen Burt?

Picture of 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.

Karen Burt Award Winners' Biographies 1999-2012.pdf622.06 KB

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