Aston University welcomes new Executive Dean

Sarah Hainsworth, new Executive Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science
Professor Sarah Hainsworth

19 September 2017

  • School’s first female executive dean takes up prestigious post
  • Professor Sarah Hainsworth is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Appointment will build on School’s leadership in diversity

Aston University has welcomed Sarah Hainsworth, as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and the first ever female Executive Dean of its School of Engineering and Applied Science.  

An elected fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering – which is considered one of the highest national honours that an engineer can receive – Sarah is a successful academic leader with demonstrable impact and quality as both a researcher and a teacher.

She said: “I am delighted to join Aston University as the new Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean for the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Aston’s industrial heritage and strong track record of encouraging students into work-based placements attracted me to this role in the heart of the UK’s engineering industry.

“I very much look forward to working with my new colleagues and leading a vibrant school with excellent teaching and research.”

Sarah, who is Deputy Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Diversity and Inclusion committee, is keen to build on the School’s reputation for encouraging women into, and advancing their careers in, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The School of Engineering and Applied Science is known for its leadership in diversity and inclusion. Since 2014, the School has held a silver Athena SWAN award which recognises its progress in addressing gender and other inequalities in academia. 

Before joining Aston University, Sarah was at the University of Leicester for almost 20 years, where latterly she was Professor of Materials and Forensic Engineering and also the University’s Head of Engineering.

Her research interests include forensic engineering and she is a leading forensic science expert on stabbing, dismemberment and knife sharpness, providing reports to police forces across the UK. In 2013 her expertise helped establish the manner of King Richard III’s death through analysing wound marks found on his skeleton after its discovery at Grey Friars in Leicester the previous year.

Her other research interests are in developing 3D non-contact laser vibrometry used in the measurement and analysis of structures and materials. She also works in automotive tribology, undertaking experimental research to understand the performance of materials under a range of conditions. In addition, Sarah is involved in research to understand how high microstructural evolution occurs in materials subjected to high temperatures and high stresses in steam and gas power plant. 

Among Sarah’s many accolades is the Andrew H. Payne Jr. Special Achievement Award 2015 from the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Engineering Sciences Section in recognition of exemplary contributions in advancing forensic engineering sciences. She also received the Mechanical Engineers Tribology Bronze Medal in 1995, the Rosenhain Medal of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining in 2008 and was nominated as one of the Women’s Engineering Society’s “outstanding technical women” in 2009.

Aston University has a long tradition in engineering and applied science and an enviable reputation for teaching quality and undertaking cutting edge research. The School’s interdisciplinary research focuses on themes relevant to the current and future needs of society. These offer its students opportunities to be involved in the process of discovery and creativity, and prepare for our increasingly diverse and technological world.


Notes to the editor

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston University has been always been a force for change. For 50 years the University has been transforming lives through pioneering research, innovative teaching and graduate employability success. Aston is renowned for its opportunity enabler through broad access and inspiring academics, providing education that is applied and has real impact on all areas of society, business and industry.

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