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Durham University

Research & business

Celebrating women who make a difference

(3 July 2019)

(L-R) Professor Louise Bracken, Visiting Professor Kate Cairns and Dr Hanna Ruszczyk

At Durham we’re proud to be home to incredible women who are making a difference in the world.

Their work is helping to tackle global issues such as disaster risk management, water sustainability and environmentally friendly engineering.

Empowering women

The Empowering Women in Disaster Risk Reduction project, led by Dr Hanna Ruszczyk, has given women in Nepal a voice in protecting their communities.

Working in partnership with Nepal’s National Society of Earthquake Technology, the project has educated and trained more than 60 women.

This helped them put forward their views about challenges facing their neighbourhoods and to choose and manage projects in their local communities.

As a result, fire protection measures have been introduced to 80 homes and another 40 homes have been protected against the risk of landslides by improving storm drains and building a retaining wall.

Water sustainability

Our Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience (IHRR) is behind the Nepal project.

Professor Louise Bracken currently leads the IHRR and started her Durham career in the late 90s. Louise worked her way up the ladder from lecturer to professor, successfully moving into the Executive Director role in 2015.

In her other role as Scientific Director of The Water Hub partnership, Louise is helping businesses come up with innovative ways of improving water sustainability.

She recently took part in a podcast hosted by Northern Power Women (NPW), an organisation which calls for more opportunities for women in work across the North of England.

Louise talked about how research is helping to solve global issues and the importance of partnership working in helping her reach the top of her field.

Top 50 Women Engineer

We’re also 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.

Find out More

See how we’re empowering women in Nepal and find out more about Dr Hanna Ruszczyk.

Learn more about the Northern Power Women podcastProfessor Louise Bracken and The Water Hub.

Find out more about Kate Cairns and Engineering at Durham University.

How Durham’s women are making a difference.