Karen Burt

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Karen Burt
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge
University of Reading
OrganizationWomen's Engineering Society
Known forAdvocacy

Karen Ann Hilsum Burt (née Hilsum) CPhys MInstP (died 1997) was a British engineer and campaigner for the recruitment and retention of women in engineering.

Early life and education[edit]

Burt studied at Newnham College, Cambridge.[1] She completed a PhD in electron microscopy at the University of Reading.[1]


Burt joined British Aerospace as a project engineer for scientific satellites[2], and was eventually promoted to senior systems engineer.[1] Subsequently she developed an interest in management, becoming a Business Acquisition Manager. [2]

Burt left British Aerospace and set up her own consultancy [2]. In addition she helped University College London establish the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation Systems.[1][3] She contributed to the Women's Engineering Society, Institute of Physics and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.[4] In 1983 and 1984 Burt presented a Faraday Lecture, Let's Build A Satellite, on behalf of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and British Aerospace.[5]

She was appointed to the London Branch Committee of the Women's Engineering Society in 1987.[6] She was a campaigner for career breaks and gave advice to members of the Women's Engineering Society in how to manage returning to work.[7] Burt was appointed to the Women's Engineering Society Council in 1991.[7] She presented at the 1991 International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists.[5] Having just accepted a faculty position at University College London, Burt suffered a fatal stroke in June 1997.[1][8]


Since 1999 the Women's Engineering Society have celebrated Karen Burt with a memorial award for newly chartered women in engineering, applied science or information technology.[1][9] Each year the Women's Engineering Society requests one nomination from each participating Professional Engineering Institution, and from these a winner is chosen. The award recognises significant potential in engineering [1][10] and it was originally set up to encourage a greater number of women to aim for, and to celebrate, the achievement of Chartered Engineer status[2]. Winners receive £1,000, at the bequest of her father, Cyril Hilsum.[4]

Karen Burt Award Winners[11][edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "The Karen Burt Memorial Award | Women's Engineering Society". www.wes.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Karen Burt Memorial Award | Women's Engineering Society". www.wes.org.uk. Retrieved 2019-05-18.
  3. ^ Tunnicliffe, Helen. "IChemE Member Madeleine Jones wins Karen Burt Award". www.thechemicalengineer.com. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  4. ^ a b "About the Award | Karen Burt Award | Awards and competitions | Events | BCS - The Chartered Institute for IT". www.bcs.org. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  5. ^ a b "The Woman Engineer Volume 15". www.theiet.org. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  6. ^ "The Woman Engineer Volume 13". www.theiet.org. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  7. ^ a b "The Woman Engineer Volume 14". www.theiet.org. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  8. ^ "The Woman Engineer". www.theiet.org. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  9. ^ "The Woman Engineer Volume 16". www.theiet.org. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  10. ^ "Karen Burt Award". www.bcs.org. BCS - The Chartered Institute for IT. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  11. ^ "Previous Karen Burt Award Winners | Women's Engineering Society". www.wes.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-07-17.