Engineering Heroes – The 2021 Top 50 Women in Engineering #WE50


Image removed.Founded by the Women's Engineering Society in 2016, the WE50 awards are a UK event linked to International Women in Engineering Day (INWED)– the celebration of women in engineering that takes place on 23 June each year.

In association with The Guardian newspaper and Assystem, the 2021 Top 50 Women in Engineering celebrates the Engineering Heroes:
the best, brightest and bravest women in engineering, who recognise a problem, then dare to be part of the solution;
who undertake everyday ‘heroics’ as much as emergency ones.

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Derived from the Greek word hērōs, "hero" literally means "protector" or "defender" and in 2020-21 engineers around the world have played a major role in protecting and defending us from the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, the extraordinary public health crisis we are experiencing has brought into sharp focus how engineers also deliver and maintain critical services and infrastructure, keep civic society functioning at every level, and support lives and livelihoods. And let's not forget those engineers who also undertake world-leading research and innovation to tackle the long-term, structural global challenges of our time, especially climate change.

Download the WE50 Winners Brochure here.

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The 2021 Top 50 Women in Engineering: Engineering Heroes winners are (in alphabetical order):

  • Dr habil Tayebeh Ameri, Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh, School of Engineering
  • Samidha Anand, Engineering Manager, Caterpillar UK (Perkins Engines Co Ltd)
  • Phoebe Baker, Construction Manager, Mace
  • Dr Claire Bennett, Senior Geotechnical Engineer, Arup
  • Dr Grace Campbell, Senior Natural Hazard and Risk Specialist, Arup
  • Jackie Carpenter, Director, Friendship Cohousing
  • Dame Jo da Silva Global Sustainable Development Leader, Arup
  • Georgia Davey, Senior Buyer, Babcock International Group
  • WO2 Claire Dewhirst, Aircraft Engineer, 1 Regiment AAC Workshop REME (Ministry of Defence)
  • Dr Karen Donaldson, Research Associate, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Hua Dong, Professor in Design, Dean of Brunel Design School, Brunel University London
  • Dr Katherine Dunn, Lecturer, The University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Natalia Falagán, Lecturer in Food Science and Technology, Cranfield University
  • Professor Elena Gaura, Professor of Pervasive Computing, Coventry University
  • Kate Grant, Director of Network West Midlands, Cadent Gas Limited
  • Katherine Grigg, HS2 Main Works Agent, SCS Railways Joint Venture (HS2 Main Works)
  • Jo Hartnell, Assistant Tunnelling Engineer, Atkins
  • Milly Hennayake, Civil Water Engineer, Arup
  • Jean Hewitt, Senior Inclusive Design Consultant, Buro Happold
  • Debbie Janson, Senior Lecturer, University of Bath
  • Dr Sohini Kar-Narayan, Reader (Associate Professor) in Device & Energy Materials, University of Cambridge
  • Emma Kent, Director - Construction, Metropolitan Police
  • Dr Suk Kinch, Senior design and development engineer, Renishaw Neuro Solutions
  • Hanna Leeson, Senior Environmental Engineer, BAE SYSTEMS
  • Dr Kristen MacAskill, Lecturer, University of Cambridge
  • Caitlin McCall, Engineering Doctorate Student, Swansea University and icmPrint
  • Linda McVittie, Sales Manager, Scotland, J & E Hall Limited
  • Dr Helen Meese, Founder & CEO, The Care Machine Ltd
  • Susana Neves e Brooks, Lead Project Manager, National Grid
  • Mimi Nwosu, Assistant Materials Engineer, Sir Robert McAlpine
  • Jennifer Olsen, PhD researcher, Newcastle University
  • Polly Osborne, Assistant Electrical Engineer, Burns & McDonnell
  • Dr Cristiana Pace, Founder, E-novation
  • Dr Tannaz Pak, Senior Lecturer in Energy and Environmental Engineering, Teesside University
  • Sergeant Sarah Partington, Senior Medical and Dental Technician, Army Medical Services Training Centre
  • Kelly Paul, Core Projects Team Lead - UKI, Air Products PLC
  • Kayisha Payne, Founder & Programme Director, BBSTEM (Black British Professionals in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Ltd
  • Andrea Pearson, Senior Engineer – Operations, Sabic UK Petrochemicals
  • Professor Alison Raby, Professor of Environmental Fluid Mechanics, University of Plymouth
  • Catherine Rennie, Consultant ENT surgeon, Charing Cross Hospital
  • Professor Jane Rickson, Professor of Soil Erosion and Conservation, Cranfield University
  • Dr Dipa Roy, Senior Lecturer, The University of Edinburgh
  • Jyoti Sehdev, Group EDI lead, Costain
  • Era Shah, Senior Engineer - HS2 Enabling Works, Costain Skanska Joint Venture (HS2 Enabling Works)
  • Professor Rebecca Shipley, Professor of Healthcare Engineering, UCL
  • Dr Maria Sunyer Pinya, Senior Climate Change Consultant, Arup
  • Dr Larissa Suzuki, Data/AI Practice Lead, Google
  • Sue Threader, Bridge Clerk (Chief Executive), Rochester Bridge Trust
  • Hannah Vickers, Chief Executive, Association for Consultancy and Engineering
  • Julie Wood, Director, Arup

    Judging Panel

    • Head Judge, Professor Catherine Noakes OBE, Deputy Director of Leeds Institute for Fluid Dynamics and Co-Director
      for the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics, and member of the UK Government SAGE Committee for Covid-19
    • Simon Barber, UK Managing Director, Assytem, WE50 Sponsor
    • Dawn Childs FREng, UK Change Director, National Grid,
    • Emma Crichton, Head of Engineering, Engineers without Borders,
    • Scott Dalrymple, Vice-President HR, Crane,
    • Elizabeth Donnelly, Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Engineering Society,
    • Neil Gibbs, ABB,
    • Frankie Laugier-Davies, Senior Account Manager, Pareto Facilities Management Ltd,
    • Mark McBride Wright, Equal Engineers,
    • Sarah Mogford, Environment and Planning Divisional Director, RSK,
    • Emma Nicholson, Development Project Manager, SLC Rail, and WES Trustee
    • Elizabeth Oni-Iyiola, Development Director, Inclusive Boards,
    • Steff Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Measurement and Control, and
    • Mara Tafadzwa Makoni, Association of Black Engineers (AFBE)

    Our top 50 were chosen from 100 Finalists. Those who made the final 100 but not the Top 50 are listed here:

    • Halimatu Abubakar, Support Engineer, Collins Aerospace
    • Alison Ball, Associate Director, Arup
    • Kerry Bartram, Head of Equipment Management, Babcock International Group
    • Lorna Bennet, Project Engineer, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult
    • Dr Marzia Bopagni, Senior BIM Manager, Mace
    • Jasmine Brittan, Civil Engineering Student, University of Warwick
    • Dr Claire Brockett, Associate Professor, University of Leeds, Mechanical Engineering, Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering
    • None Heather Campbell, Apprentice Design Engineer, Network Rail
    • Dr Rachel Craddock, Technical Consultant, Thales
    • Beth Dickens, Director, Quoceant
    • None Katie Frost, Infrastructure Director, Sussex, Network Rail
    • Monisha Gower, Head of Eastern Network Investment Planning Office, Cadent Gas
    • Marion Hoer, Brigade Artificer, 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade, British Army
    • Professor Louise Horsfall, Chair of Sustainable Biotechnology, University of Edinburgh
    • Dr Shan-Shan Huang, Senior Lecturer & Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions, The University of Sheffield
    • Maddy J, Research Lead, GCHQ
    • Dr Tina Joshi, Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology, University of Plymouth
    • Dr Eluned Lewis, Senior Fellow, Personal Ballistic Protection, Defence Equipment and Support, Ministry of Defence
    • Kirsten McLaughlin, Corporate Environmental Manager, WSP UK Limited
    • Stephanie Moakes, Section Engineer, Laing O'Rourke
    • Dr Irene Moulitsas, Senior Lecturer in Scientific Computing, Cranfield University
    • Oluwabukola Okoro, Quality Engineer, Ford Motor Company Ltd
    • Capt Fionidi Parker, Training Officer, 3 Armd CS Bn REME, REME, British Army
    • Gemma Parkes-Walley, Project Delivery Engineer, National Grid
    • Sarah Parsons, Director of Compliance, CityFibre Holdings Limited
    • Eva Peláez Álvarez, Researcher, Cranfield University
    • Alison Pepper, Principal Engineer, Arcadis
    • Kaye Pollard, Civil Engineer, Mott MacDonald
    • Bethany Quayle, Project Engineer, Network Rail
    • Dr Lavinia Raganelli, Consultant, CRA - Assystem
    • Caroline Raynor, Project Manager - HS2 Enabling Works, Costain Skanska Joint Venture (HS2 Enabling Works)
    • Holley Reece-Barkell, Delivery Manager, Frazer-Nash Consultancy Ltd.
    • Dr Sophie Robinson, Senior Flight Dynamics Engineer, Vertical Aerospace Group
    • Camilla Rock, Principal Engineer (Competency and Capability), Network Rail
    • Vita Sanderson, Senior Consultant, Arup
    • Rupali Sharma-Patel, Senior Architect/Engineering Lead for Built to Rent – TFL Property Development, Transport for London
    • Laura Shrieves, Head of Engineering, Thales Training and Simulation
    • Rachel Strachan, Section Engineer, Laing O'Rourke
    • Dr Manuela Villani, Associate, Arup
    • Amber Villegas-Williamson, Consultant, Uptime Institute
    • Katie W, Engineering Delivery Lead, GCHQ Manchester, GCHQ
    • Kay W, Deputy Director Science & Technology, GCHQ
    • Dr Sara Walker, Director of the National Centre for Energy SysteIntegration, Newcastle University
    • Alexandra Walker, European Powertrain Quality and Warranty Manager, Ford Motor Company
    • Vicki Walsh, UK Head of HSQE, Assystem
    • Claire Wansbury, Associate Director, Atkins Ltd
    • Dr Natasha Waston, Senior Structural Engineer, Buro Happold
    • Hayley Wong, City and Guilds College Union President, City and Guilds College Union
    • Dr Pippa Wood, Senior Ecologist/Biodiversity Designer, Arup
    • Sarah Woolham-Jaffier, Project Supervisor, National Grid
    • Carmen Zaragoza, Senior Service Engineer, Siemens Energy

    2021 criteria for nomination 

    We are celebrating women who have improved engineering in service of our society. These individuals may be involved in designing, delivering, developing, maintaining or researching engineering in the following circumstances:

    • Emergency response to immediate need, for example, the pandemic, natural/manufactured disasters, search and rescue
    • Improvements to the social or environmental impact of infrastructure designed to keep the public safe, for example, building and road safety, energy, telecoms and water services
    • Life-saving medical response, whether by means of diagnostics, devices, medication or equipment, for example, pharmaceutical drugs, tests and vaccines, hospital diagnostic equipment such as x-rays and scanners, surgical tools, protective equipment, including clothing and masks
    • Responding to the climate and biodiversity emergencies

    Essential Criteria – all nominees must satisfy these:

    • A woman
    • Based in the UK - nominees do not have to be UK citizens
    • Not a previous WE50 winner

     Desirable Criteria:

    • Acting as an advocate for women in work and STEM
    • Studying or working in engineering industries and allied sectors, engineering education, or engineering research
    • Achieving beyond what would normally be expected for career stage - nominations welcome at all career stages 

    Hints & tips on writing a great awards application

    The Women's Engineering Society has an insightful guide compiled by our previous award judges on what makes a great winning entry. 
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    Important WE50 dates

    1 February 2021 – #WE50 Nominations opened 
    ​17 March 2021 – 12 noon #WE50 nominations closed
    5 May 2021 #WE50 winners notified
    23 June 2021 #WE50 winners announced!

    Previous WE50 Award Themes