Women in Science
Eleanor did an engineering degree and then a PhD at UCL. She moved into a research fellowship and lectureship at UCL before moving to Oxford University in 2011. In 2014, with the support of her head of department and head of college, Eleanor became a professor.
at the time of the interview - 2017
Eleanor is a Professor of Engineering Science in the Institute of Biomedical Engineering.
at the time of the interview - 2016
Eleanor became interested in industrial design after she was taken to a Royal College of Arts industrial design final year show by her art teacher and decided to do an engineering degree. She describes how, while she always liked making things and understanding how things work, engineering was not an obvious degree choice for her. In the final year of her degree she became very interested in ultra sound imaging which led to a PhD at UCL focusing on ultrasound imaging in the body using bubbles.
Don’t think of yourself as a woman in science. You’re a scientist. It doesn’t matter. If you’re going into a weightlifting competition; being male or female would be important. In science, it is completely irrelevant and I think that’s what we need to change.
After finishing her thesis, Eleanor came to a summer school in Oxford and began to collaborate with various people working at Oxford. She held a lectureship and research fellowship at UCL for six years before moving to Oxford. After about 18 months, Eleanor applied for a professorship which she gained in 2014.
Eleanor describes how she has had a lot of support and strong encouragement from her undergraduate and PhD supervisors, tutors and other senior people. In turn, she says part of her job is to help PhD students with their research but also to train them to be good scientists. She feels that her research field is very nurturing and, because of the strong interest students and staff have in engineering, there is less focus on gender. She strongly feels that women should think of themselves as scientists rather than as a ‘woman in science’.
Eleanor says her work life balance is awful though she always makes sure she has time for dancing which helps her to switch off from work. Background/nationality: White British.