Roma Agrawal

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Roma Agrawal
Roma Agrawal at the Nasa Goddard Centre.jpg
Roma Agrawal at the Nasa Goddard Centre
Born 1983 (age 34–35)
Alma mater University of Oxford
Imperial College London
Occupation Structural Engineer
Employer AECOM
Known for
  • The Shard London
  • Innovations in Construction
  • Women in Engineering

Roma Agrawal MBE (born March, 1983) is a chartered structural engineer based in London. She has worked on several major engineering projects, including the Shard. She is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Agrawal is also an active diversity campaigner, championing women in engineering.

Early life and education[edit]

Agrawal grew up in Ithaca, New York, and Mumbai, India,[1] and moved to London to complete her A-Levels in Design and Technology, Physics, Maths and Further Maths at North London Collegiate School. In 2004, she gained a BA in physics from the University of Oxford, and in 2005, an MSc in Structural Engineering from Imperial College London. Agrawal attributes her enthusiasm for engineering to her love of making (and breaking) things, cultivated by playing with Lego as a child.[2] Agrawal attributes her entry into engineering to a summer placement at the Oxford Physics Department where she worked alongside engineers who were designing particle detectors at CERN.[3] She enjoys dancing, yoga, baking, reading, and travelling.[4]


The Shard from the Sky Garden

In 2005, Agrawal joined WSP on a graduate program, becoming a chartered engineer with the Institution of Structural Engineers in 2011. She spent six years working on the tallest building in Western Europe, the Shard, designing the foundations and the iconic spire.[5] She describes the project as a career highlight: "I think projects like that only come once or twice in your career, so I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on this".[6] The 1,016-foot (310 m) tall structure required a top-down construction methodology, which had never been done before on a building of this scale.[7] The spire required modular construction that could be built and tested off-site, enabling quick and safe assembly at height in central London.[8]

Alongside the Shard, Agrawal worked on Crystal Palace Station and the Northumbria University Footbridge.[9] She worked for WSP for ten years before joining Interserve as a Design Manager in November 2015.[10][11] In May 2017 Agrawal joined AECOM as an Associate Director.[12] In 2018 Agrawal was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).[13] She was appointed a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 2018.


Public engagement[edit]

Following her six years working on The Shard, Agrawal found herself presenting on her work to children at school and students at university and found a passion for raising awareness of engineering. She has since presented to over 15,000 people worldwide.[20]

Agrawal's career has been covered extensively in both online and print media.[21] She was a founding member of the Your Life Campaign, designed to change school children's perception of science and engineering backed by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.[22][23]

In 2014, she was part of Marks and Spencer's Leading Ladies campaign, alongside Annie Lennox, Emma Thompson and Rita Ora.[24] Later that year, she was chosen as one of six top women engineers to follow on Twitter by the Guardian.[25] She has given two TEDx talks, "City 2.0" (2013)[26] and "Three Moments that will Change the World" (2015).[27] She has featured on several BBC, Channel Four, and Science Channel television programs. Most recently she appearing as a guest judge on Lego Masters[28] and as a structural engineer expert on Mysteries of the Abandoned.[29] She judged the trophy design competition for the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering in 2015 and 2017.

As a writer, Agrawal is represented by Bloomsbury Publishing.[30] Built: the Hidden Stories Behind our Structures (ISBN 978-1-4088-7036-5), an introduction to structural engineering, was published on 7 February 2018.[31][32] The Guardian wrote a two-page feature on the book, and the IET E&T magazine described it as a "a treatise on structural engineering".[33] They went on to say "Roma Agrawal has a knack for taking complex concepts, stripping them down and reducing them to their most basic form" ... "What makes ‘Built’ so enjoyable is the way Agrawal applies her enquiring mind ... to an engineering world that she finds simultaneously invisible while being no less than fundamental to modern society".[34]


In 2013, Agrawal was voted one of Management Today's Top 35 Women Under 35.[35] Roma Agrawal is an advocate for a more diverse engineering workforce and alongside other initiatives has sat on the Diversity Panel of the Construction Industry Council.[36] Agrawal raises awareness through social media, podcasts and interviews.[37][38][39][40][41] After being a finalist herself in 2012,[42] she was a keynote speaker at the IET's Young Women Engineer of the Year award ceremony in 2016, and is listed as one of the top Inspiring Women in Engineering by the Women's Engineering Society.[43]


  1. ^ Susannah Butter (31 March 2014), "Woman on top of the world: the M&S leading lady who helped build the Shard", Evening Standard 
  2. ^ "Structural Engineer Roma Agrawal talks about STEM careers". Womanthology. 2014-09-10. Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  3. ^ "Once a physicist: Roma Agrawal". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 2017-10-01. 
  4. ^ "Roma The Engineer". Roma Agrawal. Retrieved 2018-04-04. 
  5. ^ "Inspirational Woman: Roma Agrawal | Structural engineer who helped design London's Shard skyscraper". 2017-06-23. Retrieved 2017-10-01. 
  6. ^ "Roma Agrawal, IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year finalist". Women in STEM. Retrieved 2017-10-01. 
  7. ^ "Roma Agrawal – The Shard". 2013-08-08. Retrieved 2017-10-01. 
  8. ^ Agrawal Roma; Parker John; Slade Ron (2015-03-01). "Building on the Edge". Civil Engineering Magazine Archive. 85 (3): 60–67. doi:10.1061/ciegag.0000979. 
  9. ^ "Roma Agrawal – The Shard". Retrieved 2017-10-01. 
  10. ^ "Aecom hires Shard engineer Roma Agrawal". Building. Retrieved 2017-10-01. 
  11. ^ "Roma The Engineer!". Stem Graduates. Retrieved 2018-04-04. 
  12. ^ "Shard engineer moves to Aecom". Retrieved 2017-10-01. 
  13. ^ Maddock, David (2018-06-08). "Queen's Birthday Honours full list for 2018 - from celebs to unsung heroes". mirror. Retrieved 2018-06-08. 
  14. ^ "Roma Agrawal". Women's Engineering Society. Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  15. ^ "Winners announced at the inaugural British Indian Awards 2013 presented by BDO". Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  16. ^ "Winners 2014 – Women in Construction Awards". Women in Construction Awards. Archived from the original on 2014-08-03. Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  17. ^ "Engineering Excellence Awards 2014 – winners revealed". Infrastructure Intelligence. Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  18. ^ "Lewis Kent Award Winners". Institution of Structural Engineers. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  19. ^ "Designed to inspire: Roma the Engineer wins top Academy Award RAEng". Royal Academy of Engineering. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  20. ^ "Structural Engineer Roma Agrawal talks about STEM careers". Womanthology. 2014-09-10. Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  21. ^ Kasumu, Barbara (2013-07-04). "From India to London Bridge: How the UK's rising engineering star Roma Agrawal helped build The Shard". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  22. ^ "Over 2000 new jobs and apprenticeships from leading STEM organisations – GOV.UK". Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  23. ^ "STEM Activities | Your Life". Your Life. Archived from the original on 2017-09-29. Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  24. ^ "In The Moment: The Leading Ladies | Style & Living | M&S". Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  25. ^ Minter, Harriet (2014-06-23). "National Women in Engineering Day: six Twitter accounts to follow". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  26. ^ TEDx Talks (2013-12-20), Roma Agrawal at TEDxLondon, retrieved 2017-09-29 
  27. ^ TEDx Talks (2015-12-17), Three moments that changed the world | Roma Agrawal | TEDxRoyalHolloway, retrieved 2017-09-29 
  28. ^ "New Channel 4 series to find the most talented LEGO builders". Immediate Media Company. Retrieved 2018-04-04. 
  29. ^ Mysteries of the Abandoned (2017-05-12), Soviet Doomsday Device | Mysteries of the Abandoned, retrieved 2018-04-04 
  30. ^ "Bloomsbury – Roma Agrawal – Roma Agrawal". Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  31. ^ "Built". Bloomsbury Publishing. Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  32. ^ Wainwright, Oliver (2018-01-26). "Built by Roma Agrawal review – the secret lives of structures". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-02-09. 
  33. ^ Moore, Rowan (2018-02-11). "Roma Agrawal: 'Structural engineers are unsung heroes'". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-02-19. 
  34. ^ "Book review: 'Built: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Structures' by Roma Agrawal". 2018-02-12. Retrieved 2018-02-19. 
  35. ^ "35 Women Under 35: Meet your next boss". Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  36. ^ Council, Construction Industry. "Construction Industry Council – Diversity Panel". Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  37. ^ Agrawal, Roma (2015-06-23). "Why stereotypes are causing a skills gap in UK engineering". Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  38. ^ "Spotlight on Women in Science with Roma Agrawal : Naturejobs Blog". Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  39. ^ "Careers". Archived from the original on 2015-02-24. Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  40. ^ "Roma Agrawal, IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year finalist". Talent 2030. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  41. ^ "Meet Roma Agrawal: Structural engineer who helped design The Shard". Mail Online. Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  42. ^ IET (2013-07-19). "IET 2012 Young Woman Engineer of the Year award finalist Roma Agrawal". Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  43. ^ "Role models | Women's Engineering Society". Retrieved 2017-09-29. 

External links[edit]