Cranfield University has achieved an outstanding double for the second year in a row with two engineers being named in the Telegraph’s Top 50 Women in Engineering (WE50), announced today.

Professor Emma Sparks, Head of the Centre for Systems Engineering, and Dr Fiona Charnley, Senior Lecturer in Circular Innovation, are both named in this year’s top 50 list.

Backed by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), the Top 50 Women in Engineering initiative aims to encourage female uptake into engineering roles and careers by celebrating the notable achievements made by women in the sector.

Professor Emma Sparks began her career as a government research scientist looking at lower limb injuries within the military. Since joining Cranfield, Professor Sparks has led the way in working with government, industry and academia to establish the UK’s first defence and security related master’s-level apprenticeship – the Systems Engineering Masters Apprenticeship (SEMAP). As a result, Cranfield University was the first in England to offer an apprenticeship at master’s level.

Dr Fiona Charnley’s current research includes a portfolio of projects focusing on circular innovation including ‘Manufacturing Immortality’; a project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in collaboration with seven other universities and project partners such as Dstl and the National Nuclear Laboratory. The research is looking at self-healing hybrid man-made/biological materials with the inherent ability to sense and repair damage, thus eliminating the need for replacement.

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University, said: “We are delighted for Emma and Fiona on their significant achievement. They are outstanding role models for women engineers and make a significant contribution to engineering at Cranfield and beyond."

The WE50 is announced in support of the annual International Women in Engineering Day, which encourages girls into engineering careers to increase diversity and inclusion, and thereby enables females to fill the substantial future job opportunities that have been predicted in this sector.

Last Tuesday, in support of International Women in Engineering Day, Cranfield University teamed up with Boeing UK to host ‘Raise the Bar’, an all-day engineering careers showcase for female students. Held at Cranfield University on 19th June, the event saw leading figures in industry and academia come together to give local school girls aged 11 to 16 a taste of careers in engineering, and the opportunity to interact with leading figures from within the industry.


Professor Emma Sparks & Dr Fiona Charnley - The Telegraph's Top 50 Women in Engineering
Professor Emma Sparks and Dr Fiona Charnley are both named in this year’s top 50 list

Notes for editors

This is the second year in a row that Cranfield University has had two women engineers named in the Top 50 Women in Engineering list.

In 2017, Dr Nadia Abdul-Karim, a lecturer from Cranfield Forensic Institute, and Simone Weber, a PhD student working on research at Cranfield for Airbus Helicopters, were both named on the list. https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/press/news-2017/outstanding-female-engineers-inspiring-future-generations

About Cranfield University

Cranfield is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.