Chemical engineer wins top Women’s Engineering Society award

6th October 2017

Madeleine Jones, a Chartered Chemical Engineer currently working at Sellafield, has been presented with the Karen Burt Award for her work advocating the profession. She was nominated by her professional body, the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE).

The annual award is presented by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to a top Chartered Engineer or Chartered Physicist.

Jones is currently responsible for three nuclear facilities as Deputy Operations Manager, Legacy Ponds & Silos. She has been with Sellafield for seven years, with extensive experience in a number of chemical engineering specialisms, including crisis management and emergency planning support. Her current work is on Sellafield’s new solid waste management facility, delivering critical emergency response solutions across 220 nuclear sites.

The judging panel was particularly impressed by her work inspiring the next generation of chemical engineers. She was student ambassador promoting engineering to primary and secondary school children, and currently sits on the Aston University Industry Advisory Board, and mentors new engineering graduates at Sellafield. As well as this, Madeleine, has undertaken a significant project, implementing improvements to the Magnox Sludge Packaging facility.

She was also commended for her active volunteer roles for IChemE, including Student Representative on the Midlands Member Group Committee, and  Webmaster for IChemE’s North West Member Group Committee.

In 2015, Madeleine provided project support to help promote engineering and the nuclear industry as part of the BBC4 documentary: Britain’s Nuclear Secrets: Inside Sellafield.

She accepted the Award following the WES Caroline Haslett Lecture, held at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ (IMechE) HQ in Westminster, London, yesterday. She said:

“I am delighted to receive the Karen Burt Award and hope that I can continue working with the Women’s Engineering Society and IChemE to support, and inspire, more women to choose interesting and fulfilling careers in engineering.”

IChemE Policy Director, Claudia Flavell-While, the lead on IChemE’s Diversity and Inclusion work, said:

“At IChemE we are committed to championing the role of women in engineering and are proud that Madeleine's achievements have been recognised with the Karen Burt Award. As a dedicated volunteer for IChemE, her outstanding work with the North West Member Group and Midlands Member Group is one of the many examples of the invaluable contributions our members make to IChemE and engineering as a whole. On behalf of IChemE I congratulate her on this well-deserved award.”

Kirsten Bodley, CEO of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) said:

“WES supports women to reach their potential in engineering and succeed at all stages of their careers. Through the Karen Burt Award we recognise the achievements of an exceptional early-stage career female engineer and highlight the need to continue to promote engineering as an inspiring career open to all. My congratulations to Madeleine – her contributions to the profession are outstanding.”

The Karen Burt Award was established to draw attention to Chartered Engineer Status and to encourage more women to aim to become Chartered as early in their career as possible.

Dr Karen Burt was an eminent physicist who gained her PhD in electron microscopy at Reading University before joining British Aerospace Systems as a project engineer for scientific satellites. She set up her own consultancy and was instrumental in establishing the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation Systems within University College, London.

Karen is remembered as a gifted communicator and her fight to recover speech and mobility following a stroke was an inspiration to all who knew her.