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Durham University

Department of Engineering


The Department of Engineering bids a warm welcome to Professor Kate Cairns

(12 July 2019)

Top 50 Women Engineer

We are delighted to welcome Kate Cairns, our new Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor. Kate is a leading expert in sustainability in construction and has called for civil engineers to improve Infrastructure to provide for active transport like walking, cycling and scooting. She is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and Chair of the ICE Fairness Inclusion and Respect Expert Panel. In 2018 Kate was named The Telegraph/Women’s Engineering Society Top 50 Women Engineer and is a Northern Power Women role model. She’ll be working with our Engineering department for the next three years.

Kate Cairns BEng (Hons) MSc DIC CEnv CEng FICE

The Telegraph/ WES ‘Top 50 Women Engineer 2018’

Award-winning advocate, advisor, speaker, professor and politician, Kate has been a freelance consultant since 2012 on leaving her role as Environmental Advisor on the £4.2b Heathrow Terminal 5 project to move to her native northeast of England.

Passionate about preserving the planet, fulfilling potential and seeking synergies, Kate followed a career in civil engineering and sustainable development. Always vigilant of future trends & forthcoming challenges back in the year 2000, Kate authored the briefing sheet for ICE members on climate change and the Kyoto Protocol. Two decades later this is now an issue of national emergency.

Kate continues to be a thought leader with numerous papers and articles published, interviews on podcasts, TV, radio and trade press, and regularly speaking at industry events, forums and conferences. She has instigated and developed not one, but two international ‘world first’ industry standards in sustainability (CEEQUAL) and safety (CLOCS – construction logistics and community safety)

Kate is a Chartered Civil Engineer, Chartered Environmentalist, and Fellow of the ICE. She is an Associate Member of the Professional Speaking Association, Chair of the ICE Fairness Inclusion and Respect Expert Panel, and a thought leader on sustainability, safety and inclusivity.

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