UK (Northumbria University) Northumbria University Visiting Professor secures Women in Engineering Award

A Visiting Professor from Northumbria University’s Faculty of Engineering and Environment has been recognised as a pioneering female role model in the engineering industry.

Dr Marzia Bolpagni was one of just 50 women to collect a Women in Engineering award at The WE50 awards, held in June 2023.

Organised by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), the WE50 awards have been running since 2016 and aim to raise awareness of the skills shortage facing the male-dominated engineering industry.

This year’s awards ceremony was held to coincide with International Women in Engineering Day.

Bringing her skills and experience to Northumbria University as part of the Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor Programme, Marzia, who has won around 20 awards in the past three years, has been supporting the teaching of students on the Construction Project Management with BIM MSc.

Alongside working as Head of BIM International at construction firm, Mace, Marzia has for the last two years been sharing her expertise and knowledge with other Northumbria University staff, and mentoring around 20 students per year, helping to guide them in their next steps as they prepare to graduate.

Caption:Dr Marzia Bolpagni

Dr Marzia Bolpagni

Speaking about her award, Marzia said: “For me, this award means so much. First of all, it means so much to the engineering, construction and academic community who are very supportive of one another and have such a strong network.

“It also means so much to women. In a male dominated industry, recognising women is vital to encourage and inspire young girls to get involved and believe that this is a career they can succeed in.

“There is so much still to do to inspire girls to strive for their dreams, but we are definitely moving in the right direction.”

Professor Ashraf Salama, Head of Department of Architecture and Built Environment, said: “Marzia is a brilliant role model and an excellent example of a woman working within engineering and academia.

“The fields of architecture, built environment, and construction management are male dominant professions, and so we are very pleased with Marzia’s award.

“This is a testament of our alignment with the University’s initiatives on equality, diversity and inclusion and our recent achievement of Athena Swan Bronze Award 2022 and our aspiration to apply for the Silver Award by 2027.”

Marzia has been nominated and reached the finals for three other upcoming awards including the European Council on Computing in Construction (EC3) Awards (July 2023), the London Construction Awards (September 2023) and the Inspiring Women in Construction and Engineering Awards (October 2023). She has also been shortlisted for an award by the European Standardisation Committee CEN in the category Individual researcher/innovator.

As part of Marzia’s wider mission to champion other women, she also nominated Kay Rogage, Assistant Professor in Digital Human Building Interactions at Northumbria University, for a Tech Woman 100 Award.

Discussing Marzia’s WE50 award, a spokesperson from The Women’s Engineering Society said: “Dr. Marzia Bolpagni is a pioneering civil engineer with expertise in digital construction. She has published groundbreaking work on AI, blockchain and cybersecurity in the construction industry, and influenced European and UK standards. Bolpagni is an internationally recognised role model for women in engineering, who she actively supports through mentoring.”

Mariza has also delivered a TEDX Talk, named The Power of Technology and Ethics in Construction, is available to watch here. (English subtitles available).