Professor Jane Grimson FREng is a Professor and Fellow Emerita at Trinity College, Dublin
“I like the opportunity engineering gives me to work with lots of different people from different backgrounds and with different skills.”
How would you describe your current role to someone who knows nothing about engineering?
I am a researcher and I develop novel ways of using IT which will help people to manage their own health and also make our healthcare system safer and better.
Why did you choose to go into engineering?
My father was an engineer and I was particularly fascinated by how he used the scale models he had built to figure out, for example, how best to enlarge a harbour to accommodate more and larger ships, or to reduce flooding in rivers.
What do you like most about being an engineer?
I like the opportunity engineering gives me to work with lots of different people from different backgrounds and with different skills to solve complex problems whose solutions are intended to benefit people.
Tell us about an achievement that you are most proud of.
I am proud to have been the first woman to be elected President of Engineers Ireland (formerly the Institution of Engineers of Ireland).
How do you think gender parity in engineering can be achieved?
There is no simple answer to this question – it requires many different interventions and initiatives. Ultimately, the culture in engineering has to change to be more inclusive and put greater value on the importance of diversity to enhance creativity and innovation. Women engineers – particularly those at senior level – need to be more visible as they provide important role models for the younger generation.
How has being a woman in engineering changed since you started working in the engineering sector?
I was the first female to graduate in engineering from my university (University of Dublin, Trinity College) and since then numbers of girls studying engineering has increased slowly but steadily. There is also a great appreciation of the importance of encouraging more girls into engineering although there still is insufficient emphasis on ensuring that they stay in the profession.
What would you say to someone considering a career in engineering?
Go for it! The profession and more importantly society needs you!