Professor Karen Holford’s career began at Rolls-Royce in Bristol where she completed an undergraduate apprenticeship reading Mechanical Engineering at UWIST, followed by a PhD at the University of Wales College Cardiff. She then worked at AB Electronic Products, where she was responsible for developing automotive products for companies such as BMW, Jaguar and Rover, and was soon promoted to the role of senior engineer.
Professor Holford joined the School of Engineering at Cardiff University as a lecturer in 1990, becoming Director in 2010. In 2012 she became the University’s first Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, before taking up the role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor in April 2017.
Since moving into academia over 26 years ago, Professor Holford has helped to build the now substantial international reputation of acoustic emission (AE) research at Cardiff University, with research resulting in technology that has greatly improved the safety monitoring of bridges and other structures.
Alongside her research, she is committed to the delivery of high-quality industrially relevant learning. She is co-author of the report, ‘Talented Women for a Successful Wales’, setting out the importance of getting more women into STEM careers, with all recommendations accepted by the Welsh Government in January 2017.
Professor Holford was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2015, is a Chartered Engineer (Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers) and a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. She is also a member of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s Strategic Advisory network, an UpRising ambassador and was named in the Daily Telegraph’s augural list of the Top 50 Women in Engineering.
Last updated: 31 March 2022