School launches Elizabeth Georgeson Fellowship to boost female engineering talent

The School of Engineering has created the Elizabeth Georgeson Fellowship named after Scotland’s first female engineering graduate to encourage talented postdoctoral researchers from underrepresented groups to pursue careers in engineering academia.

Several Fellowship posts will be offered annually to postdoctoral candidates who identify as female. Applications are also particularly encouraged from women of underrepresented ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, and those with disabilities.

The initiative, which launches on International Women in Engineering Day 2022 (Thursday 23 June), hopes to boost representation among those who are traditionally less likely to pursue engineering research careers, and may not otherwise apply independently to five-year fellowships.

A trailblazing life

The scheme is named in honour of Elizabeth Helen MacLeod Georgeson (born July 1895) – the first woman to graduate with a degree in engineering at a Scottish University. 

Georgeson was born in the West End of Glasgow, and started studying engineering at the University of Edinburgh in 1916 when she was 21, at the height of World War I. She graduated from the University in 1919, achieving a first class certificate of merit in mechanical engineering.

After graduating, Georgeson became one of the first few women to become an articled pupil to a surveyor, with a view to qualifying as a civil engineer.  She went on to work at Sheffield Laboratories for Safety in Mines Research, which later became the Health and Safety (HSE) Laboratory, co-authoring seven articles focusing on the behaviours of gases in mines.

Alongside her professional life, Georgeson was a member of the Women’s Engineering Society – writing for their journal The Woman Engineer in encouragement of other women pursuing STEM subjects. She also authored poetry, some of which was published for the Festival of Britain in 1952.

Developing talent

Speaking on the launch of the Fellowships, Head of School, Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh, said:

“I am delighted to be able to launch these Fellowships today, as Engineering needs more female academics, teachers and researchers.  Everyone should have an opportunity to develop their talents in Engineering, regardless of perceived barriers, and our profession and student body will be stronger for being more representative of wider society.  ”

Further details for interested candidates

Elizabeth Georgeson Fellowship (EGF) posts are funded by the School of Engineering and will be appointed annually for a three-year term at UE07 salary range (commensurate with experience), with the expectation of progression to UE08 following a mid-term peer review of progress.

Find out more and apply by Wednesday 10 August: https://edin.ac/3AMpUjF