Katherine Kirk

Member of Directors’ Committee

I am an engineering lecturer with Open University and University of Northampton. Prior to that I was Professor of Physics at University of the West of Scotland (2000-2018) including a 2 year break for maternity leave and returning part-time. I have an academic research and teaching background in micro and nano technology, 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 nanomagnetism and transmission electron microscopy (University of Glasgow).

My interest in the Women’s Engineering Society began when I was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious grant for an interdisciplinary public engagement project “A Car for Women and Other Stories” which based on the life of Dorothée Pullinger, pioneer motor engineer in the early 20th century. Although not a founding signatory of WES, Dorothée became a Council member at the first WES AGM. “A Car for Women” included archive research and site visits, oral history, film, art, songs, an exhibition, and storytelling training for engineers. Following from this I have been involved in the WES Centenary Project, for example working on the Verena Holmes diaries.

I am a member of Council and Trustee of the British Institute of Non Destructive Testing, a professional engineering institute. I am elected as a Vice President for BINDT for 2021. I chair BINDT’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group which reports to Council. On the physics side, I contribute as a member of the Women in Physics committee at the Institute of Physics, and I am also a committee member for Institute of Physics in Scotland.

I am particularly interested in the role of Professional Engineering and Science organisations in improving awareness and professional competence in diversity and inclusion for all their members, as well as in their own operations. To help drive this forwards I sit on the Steering Group for the RAEng/ Science Council “Progression Framework” on Diversity and Inclusion. For WES, I want to make sure that we reach and help as many woman engineers as possible, and also provide an influence throughout the engineering community.

Katherine Kirk