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Cardiff University announces new Deputy Vice-Chancellor

16 February 2017

Professor Karen Holford
Professor Karen Holford FREng, FLSW, CEng FIMechE

Cardiff University is pleased to announce the appointment of its new Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen Holford, FREng, FLSW, CEng FIMechE.

Professor Holford will take up her new post on April 3rd 2017.  For the last five years she has led the University’s College of Physical Sciences and Engineering.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan said: “Professor Holford has an outstanding track record as Pro Vice-Chancellor..."

"I have no doubt she will build on this tremendous success and the work of Professor Treasure in the role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor.”

Professor Colin Riordan President and Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University

Professor Holford said: “I am delighted to be appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff University..."

"We are an ambitious and innovative University with so much to be proud of, most importantly the inspirational people who work so hard to contribute to our success and who make Cardiff a great place to study and work."

Professor Karen Holford Professor

“Professor Treasure has been an inspiration to me; I have learned so much from her. I am really looking forward to this new challenge. I am proud of all we have achieved in the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering and I am grateful to all those who have supported our strategic vision.“

Professor Holford takes on the role from Professor Elizabeth Treasure who has been appointed Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University.

As Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Holford will work closely with the Vice-Chancellor and Pro Vice-Chancellors to provide leadership and deliver the goals of the University strategy.

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. Then at AB Electronic Products, she was responsible for developing automotive products for companies such as BMW, Jaguar and Rover and was soon promoted to the role of senior engineer.

She joined the School of Engineering at Cardiff as a lecturer in 1990, becoming director in 2010.

Since moving into academia over 26 years ago, she 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 into 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.

Professor Holford has published over 160 research works including more than 80 papers in peer-reviewed journals. She has led numerous research projects sponsored by research councils and industry.

Alongside her research, Professor Holford is committed to the delivery of high quality, industrially relevant learning. She was the Faculty Advisor for the Formula Student team for several years, reflecting a personal interest in motorsport.

She is co-author of the report, Talented Women for a Successful Wales, which sets out the importance of getting more women into science and engineering careers, and how this might be achieved. In January this year, Skills and Science Minister, Julie James, announced that the Welsh Government accepted all recommendations outlined in the report.

Professor Holford was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2015, one of the highest national honours an engineer can receive. She is a Chartered Engineer (Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers) and a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. She is also a member of EPSRC Strategic Advisory network and former Chair of the ESPRC Engineering Strategic Advisory Team. In 2016 Professor Holford was named in the inaugural list of the Top 50 Women in Engineering published by The Daily Telegraph.

The University will now begin the process of appointing a successor in the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering.

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