Katherine Kirk

Ordinary Council Members

My most recent position is Professor of Physics in the School of Engineering and Computing at University of the West of Scotland (UWS). I joined UWS in 2000 as a Lecturer and I was promoted to Professor in 2005. During 2009- 2011 I had a 2 year maternity leave/ career break and I subsequently returned part-time. My specialist scientific areas are thin film devices, ultrasonics, sensors and imaging, non-destructive testing. My PhD (University of Strathclyde) was in thin film high temperature superconductors, followed by post-doctoral projects in ultrasonic devices (University of Strathclyde) and nanomagnetics (University of Glasgow).

In April 2017 I was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious grant for the project “A Car for Women and Other Stories” which combines a film of the life of Dorothée Pullinger, pioneer motor engineer in the 1920s, with storytelling training for engineers, particularly women. This is part of a broader interdisciplinary project (“The Social Fabric”) on materials, materials testing and people’s engagement with industry and industrial heritage, co-led by myself and a colleague in the School of Media Culture and Society, funded under the University of the West of Scotland Vice Principal’s Research Fund in 2016.

Like many women in STEM professions I am involved in work on Equality and Diversity topics. I chair the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group at the British Institute of Non Destructive Testing, implementing the recommendations of the Royal Academy of Engineering Diversity Concordat. In 2017/18 I led a Scotland-wide funding bid “Changing the Landscape” on culture change for inclusion in Engineering and Physical Sciences, which reached the second stage of selection under the EPSRC Inclusion Matters funding call, although sadly eventually not funded.

Katherine Kirk