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Top honour awarded to Professor Karen Holford

22 September 2015

Professor Karen Holford
Professor Karen Holford

Professor Karen Holford, Cardiff University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The admission, one of the highest national honours an engineer can receive, has recognised Professor Holford’s distinguished research career in industry and academia, as well as her commitment to outreach activities and promoting engineering as a career.

After undertaking her first degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology (Cardiff) as an undergraduate apprentice sponsored by Rolls Royce, Professor Holford went on to work as a Senior Design Engineer at AB Electronic Products Ltd, where she led a variety of projects in the automotive field with companies such as BMW, Jaguar and Rover.

Professor Holford joined Cardiff University’s School of Engineering as a lecturer in 1990, and became the School’s director in 2010. In Sept 2012, Professor Holford was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor for the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering.

Professor Holford’s current research focuses on acoustic emission, and how high frequency sensors can be developed to monitor damage in a number of different structures and systems, such as bridges, buildings and aircraft landing gears.

In addition to her research, Professor Holford is a proud advocate of engineering and is part of a number of committees and organisations that actively encourage young people to consider a career in the field.

In 2006, Professor Holford was named the Welsh Woman of the Year in Science and Technology, and in 2007 was awarded the WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) Excellence award for her long-term commitment to supporting girls and young women in science and engineering.

On being named a Fellow, Professor Holford said: “I am absolutely delighted to be named a Fellow and to be recognised alongside such an esteemed list of world-leading engineers. To receive this honour is the pinnacle of an engineer’s career and I hope it can be used to inspire the next generation to consider studying or working in the field. I look forward to working more closely with the Academy as part of the Fellowship in the future.”

As a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Professor Holford will be engaged in a variety of activities on behalf of the Academy, supporting engineering research, policy formation, education and entrepreneurship and public engagement.

The Academy's Fellowship represents the nation’s best engineering researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, business and industry leaders. The Fellowship currently stands at over 1,500 engineers from across the sectors and disciplines, who lead, guide and contribute to the Academy’s work and provide expertise.

Professor Dame Ann Dowling DBE FREng FRS, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “The commitment and energy of our Fellows is the lifeblood of our Academy. Our new Fellows join us today as the country’s most innovative and creative minds from both academia and industry. We look forward to working with them, learning from their successes and drawing on their considerable expertise as we continue our work to promote engineering at the heart of society.”