Salford's inspiring women
The University of Salford has extended their International Women’s Day (March 8) celebrations by going bigger in 2021 and using the entire week to highlight the achievements and inspirational stories of Women at Salford.
Dr Georgina Harris joined the University in 2019, taking on the role of Director of Engineering, a subject area that encompasses many of the University’s strategic priorities including the teaching, learning and research of Robotics and Automation.
Dr Harris is hailed as a role model for women in engineering and is a perfect example of a female challenging the perception of those entering this field.
In addition to being an accomplished leader, she is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer with an Engineering Doctorate and holds two Master’s Degrees: one in Mechanical Engineering and the other in Business Administration.
“Engineering is the profession that can save the world, why wouldn’t you want to make the world a better place?” she said when talking about her choice to embark on a career in engineering. “The solutions to the climate emergency, clean water for all, mass manufacture of vaccines, renewable energy and sustainable living all involve innovation in engineering.”
She is a keen advocate of encouraging women into STEM careers and firmly believes that gender should not be a barrier.
She commented: “Our STEM disciplines should be representative of our community. If you want to design a product which appeals to a broad range of customers, then you need a similarly diverse team of engineers and scientists.
“We know that the most successful organisations around the world prioritise inclusive practices. Society needs innovators from diverse backgrounds and experiences which bring different perspectives and ideas.”
This year alone, the University is investing £100 million in science and technology with Robotics and Engineering being a key part of this plan. Dr Harris is currently overseeing the creation of a new research facility at the University: The North of England Robotics Innovation Centre (NERIC).
The £17 million facility is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and has won an award from the Research England Development (RED) Fund that will support the design, development, testing and validation of digital innovation.
She shared: “The pandemic has highlighted the role that engineering and robotics have to play in supporting the UK economic recovery.
“I am incredibly proud to be part of this project, not only does it showcase our University’s vital role in supporting local businesses in Greater Manchester and beyond, but it also celebrates the ongoing success that the University of Salford has as innovators in robotics, automation and industry 4.0.”
Dr Harris strongly encouraged young women to pursue a career in engineering as she recalled the many experiences she has because of her career.
“Go for it!” she exclaimed. “I have travelled the world, flown planes, driven race cars, been on television, had dinner in the Houses of Parliament and even represented my profession at the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee event on “STEM Education and Skills”.
“If you are really lucky, you will find your home in an organisation that has a truly inclusive culture, as I have at the University of Salford. Good luck, you can do it!”
Below: Dr Georgina Harris
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