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New Year Honours 2018

3 January 2018

Karen Holford

Cardiff University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to engineering in the New Year Honours 2018.

Professor Karen Holford received a CBE for services to engineering and for the advancement of women in science and engineering.

Professor Holford’s career began at Rolls-Royce where she contributed to a range of technical projects including work on the Adour and Pegasus engines. At AB Electronic Products, she was responsible for developing automotive products for companies such as BMW, Jaguar and Rover and was promoted to the role of senior engineer.

She joined the School of Engineering at Cardiff University as a lecturer in 1990, becoming director in 2010. In 2012 she became the University’s first Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, before taking up the role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor in April 2017.

Since moving into academia over 27 years ago, Professor Holford has helped to build the now substantial international reputation of acoustic emission research at Cardiff, in particular the experimental work in one of the best equipped facilities in Europe. This research has resulted in technology that has greatly improved the safety monitoring of bridges and other structures, and the team are now applying the same techniques to detect faults in aircraft structures - with the potential to revolutionise aircraft design and result in lighter aircraft.

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, she 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. In 2015 she became a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering; the Fellowship is by invitation only and represents the nation’s best engineering researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, business and industry leaders. In 2016 she was named as one of the UKs top 50 most influential women engineers in the UK.

She is co-author of the report, Talented Women for a Successful Wales, setting out the importance of getting more women into STEM careers, with all recommendations accepted by the Welsh Government in January 2017.

Professor Holford said: “I'm still in shock, but delighted at the news that I’m going to be awarded a CBE for services to engineering and for my work in encouraging young people, especially girls, to consider studying STEM subjects. I’m pleased to be living and working in Wales, which has a great tradition of engineering excellence...”

“Engineering is a team endeavour, so I’m accepting this award on behalf of all the brilliant people that I have worked with over many years and also of course my family and friends, without whose support I would not have been able to do any of the activities which have brought this recognition.”

Professor Karen Holford Professor

Professor Holford is one of a number of individuals from the University community to be recognised.

Former chair of Cardiff University’s Council, Professor Sir Keith Peters, received the Knight Grand Cross (GBE) to add to his Knighthood. He becomes part of a select few Welshman to receive such a prestigious honour.

Sir Keith said: “I feel it is a great privilege that my lifetime in medicine has been recognised in this way, and I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the momentum that I gained from my time as a student and junior doctor in Cardiff, where there were inspirational medical staff- teachers, researchers and practitioners-who set me up for a career in academic medicine...”

“It gave me particular pleasure to return to Cardiff to be Chair of Council in 2004 and participate in the continuing development of this excellent University.”

Professor Sir Keith Peters former chair of Cardiff University’s Council

Sir Keith Peters is one of the UK’s most influential clinical academics who has made a series of lasting impacts on medicine and science.

Most recently, he made a major contribution to the conception and establishment of the Francis Crick Institute. Earlier, he was a driving force at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith, where his work on immune mechanisms in kidney disease changed clinical practice.

In Cambridge he transformed its Clinical School and led the development of what is now the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, was President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and from 2005-2016 Senior Consultant to GlaxoSmithKline.

Others from the University community to be recognised include Professor Philip Routledge OBE, Professor Emeritus of Clinical Pharmacology, who receives a CBE for services to medicine.

Cardiff University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan said: “On behalf of the whole University I congratulate those individuals who’ve received royal recognition.

“I am delighted that their significant contributions have been recognised in this way. We are very proud to see their hard work and dedication honoured.”

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