Winner of the WISE Lifetime Achievement Award 2015
12 November 2015
Elizabeth Watson, retired Head of Product Safety Assurance, Rolls-Royce plc
When Liz joined Rolls-Royce in 1975, she was one of very few women making her career in the industry. She went on to pave the way for other females at the company, winning an award for the most promising young engineer, and later becoming the first woman to hold the prestigious post of Chief Engineer. Liz has worked in the marine and aerospace divisions, introducing ground-breaking technology, leading teams of hundreds, and working on low emission combustion technology. She also worked in product safety and risk, standardising corporate policy and running major improvement and training programmes.
Liz has been a champion of women in engineering throughout her distinguished career, chairing the company’s UK Diversity Committee, and through external organisations such as the Women’s Engineering Society, the UKRC and WISE. She says: “My career has been enormous fun, I’ve travelled the world, it’s been full of variety and opportunities. If you are good at sciences, be open minded about it. There’s a wealth of opportunities out there just waiting for you!”
The judges commented: This winner has a wealth of extraordinary achievements, understands the challenges involved in balancing work and family and is demonstrably very strong both technically and managerially. Her advice to the next generation is simply ‘follow your greatest interests.’
On winning the award, Elizabeth said, “I am absolutely delighted to win the award and feel honoured to have this recognition from WISE. There are many people who have helped me during my career and I want to use the award to encourage more women into Science and Engineering and help them achieve whatever it is they set their mind to.”