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Professor Sarah Spurgeon a finalist in the FDM Everywoman in Technology Awards

Celebrating women that are changing the face of technology in the UK

Now in their seventh year, the FDM Everywoman in Technology awards celebrate women that are changing the face of technology in the UK, from managers and entrepreneurs to students and academics. The Head of UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering and Professor of Control Systems Engineering, Prof. Sarah Spurgeon OBE is nominated in the Academic category for her work in systems modelling and analysis, robust control and estimation.

The 33 finalists were handpicked from hundreds of entries by a panel of some of the UK’s most senior technology leaders. They were singled out for their career achievements to date and potential for growth as well as for their commitment to actively support others in the sector, both inside and outside of their organisation. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 9 February at the London Hilton on Park Lane.

Since the awards launched in 2011 there have been major strides made by the technology sector in female engagement. In the past two years alone we have seen a 25% increase in the number of women holding management roles in STEM industries. This is great news for tech, but the challenge doesn’t stop there. A recent study published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that younger girls still lack confidence to pursue careers in technology after studying STEM subjects at school, which is considered one of the key reasons for the ongoing gender gap in STEM industries. These awards play an important role inspiring girls and young women to excel in STEM subjects, and continue beyond their studies into long-term careers choices across the technology sector.

The Academic Award, sponsored by Dell, is awarded to a woman in academia who has made an outstanding contribution to technology and science and whose work has made or has the potential to make a significant long-term impact in STEM. This includes using technology to enhance and support research and teaching, achieving technological breakthroughs or leveraging one’s position to significantly encourage more talent into stem subjects. As well as Sarah Spurgeon OBE, Muffy Calder, Vice-Principal and Head of College of Science and Engineering, University of Glasgow and Semali Perera, Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Bath have also been shortlisted.

Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman comments:

“Seven years ago we began to showcase the exceptional women working in technology in response to the industry’s concern over a lack of female talent and role models. The calibre and quality of this year’s nominations was impressive with all those nominated demonstrating a commitment to making a difference not only within their organisations but within local communities, schools and the future of the technology sector.”

Professor Sarah Spurgeon said:

“I am surprised and delighted to be a finalist for this award. I am enormously grateful for the support I have received from colleagues and collaborators throughout my career in academia. Mentoring and networking is so important, and I am looking forward to meeting the other finalists at the awards ceremony.

As well as being very people centred, engineering is a fabulous career encompassing creativity and intellectual challenge. There really is something for everyone with fantastic opportunities to change the world.”