Professor Eileen Harkin-Jones OBE

Bombardier-Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Composites Engineering, The University of Ulster

Eileen Harkin-Jones OBE FREng is the Bombardier-Royal Academy of Engineering Professor of Composites Engineering at Ulster University since 2014. She obtained a first class honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from University College Dublin in 1983 and then moved to Belfast to work as the production & technical manager of a local polymer processing company for 5 years before commencing a PhD at Queen’s university Belfast (QUB). She was appointed lecturer at QUB in 1993 and in 1999 became the first woman to be appointed as an engineering professor in Ireland. She was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2011, awarded an OBE for services to higher education in 2013 and elected Fellow of the Irish Academy of Engineering in 2017.

Eileen’s research is in the development and processing of advanced thermoplastic polymers and composites. She has published over 200 papers and won research funding in excess of £12 million. She is deputy chair of the REF 2021 Engineering panel.

Eileen has actively campaigned for gender equality in STEM for many years. She chaired WISE Northern Ireland from 2002 to 2005 and led the initiative that resulted in QUB winning the 2005 WISE Ambassador Award. She was a founder member of the QUB Women’s Forum (1999) which led QUB to win first prize in the Royal Society Athena Awards for the advancement of women in SET (2002) and became a founder member of The Athena SWAN Charter (2005) to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in STEM in higher education and research.

Recent work to promote gender equality in STEM includes contributing to the Women in STEM MATRIX Position Paper, May 2018 (MATRIX is the Northern Ireland Science Industry panel) and presentations promoting gender equality in STEM to major multinational companies in Ireland.

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