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9 May 2011

Leading female engineers have been recognised for their achievements in industry and academia at a prestigious awards ceremony held at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London.

Created and led by the UKRC, the Women of Outstanding Achievement Awards are now in their sixth year and recognise the diverse contributions of women as leaders, innovators and role models.

Dervilla Mitchell, a trustee and board member of the global engineering firm Arup, scooped the top award for Inspiration & Leadership in Business and Industry sponsored by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Dervilla is Arup’s most senior female engineer and led their involvement at T5 Heathrow, the largest construction project in Europe at the time. She also helped to establish Arup’s women’s network, ConnectWomen and is championing Arup’s Inclusive Leadership Programme.

The achievements of Eur Ing Dr Phebe Mann, who has broken new ground by being the first and only woman to hold five professional engineering qualifications concurrently in the UK, won her the top spot in the Tomorrow’s Leader category sponsored by Intel. In addition to her other qualifications, Phebe is also the first female chair of the Leicester Centre of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). Outside of her day job, Phebe has invested a tremendous amount of time and energy into helping students overcome great difficulties in order to be successful in science, engineering and technology.

Professor Dame Ann Dowling was recognised in the Inspiration & Leadership in Academia and Research Award, sponsored by the University of Northampton. Professor Dowling has reached the pinnacle of engineering as head of the UK’s biggest department of the subject at the University of Cambridge. Much of her success has been achieved in aeronautics, a branch of engineering where female representation is particularly low, making her a vital role model in such a traditionally male dominated industry. She is a leading authority on aircraft noise and her current research continues to benefit society as it aims to lower noise and emissions resulting from aviation.

The judging panel, which included Lord Willis of Knaresborough and Miles Templeman, Director General of the Institute of Directors, was impressed by the outstanding role models created by the engineers who are leading the way in their respective fields.

The three engineers and the other four other winners have been captured in a series of creative and dramatic portraits which will be displayed in prominent locations across the UK including academic institutions and professional body headquarters.

The UKRC is the UK’s lead organisation for advancing women in SET. Annette Williams, Director of the UKRC said: “We received record entries this year and the nominations were hugely impressive. These women, and the growing collection of powerful portraits now being housed in our major institutions, play an important role in increasing the visibility of inspirational female role models in SET.”

Stephen Tetlow, Chief Executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “Role models play a vital part in inspiring the next generation of engineers. This celebration of outstanding achievement mirrors our commitment to the future of engineering as well as to equality and diversity.”

For more information on the Women of Outstanding Achievement Awards visit are not responsible for the content of submitted or externally produced articles and images.
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