Fusion engineer Chitra Srinivasan has been named in the UK’s Top 50 Women in Engineering for 2020.

Chitra, who is a Control & Software Engineer for the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, says she is ‘honoured’ to be featured in the list, published today by the Women’s Engineering Society.

Chitra Srinivasan

Chitra Srinivasan

The Top 50 Women in Engineering awards, judged by a panel of industry experts, are now in their fifth year. They seek to recognise the wealth of female talent within engineering; an annual celebration aligned with International Women in Engineering Day, which takes place on 23 June and is also co-ordinated by the Women’s Engineering Society.

The theme for 2020 is ‘Sustainability’ – celebrating female engineers who are making a significant contribution to achieving net zero carbon. At Culham, Chitra is part of a team developing fusion energy as a carbon-free source of electricity that could be used around the world.

Chitra Srinivasan said: “I am an upcoming engineer in fusion research and this achievement is highly encouraging for me. This would not have been possible without the support of my colleagues. At UKAEA, I have the opportunity to research sustainable energy by developing computer codes to control the fuel inside fusion machines. We are copying the process that powers the Sun for greener electricity.”

Chitra was recognised for the work she has done over her whole career. Prior to her role at UKAEA, she has lived in the USA and India. In the USA, she volunteered in providing sustainable education to the underprivileged for a year. In India, she worked for over three years in engineering domains as challenging as her current one.  In one organisation, she wrote real-time, safety-critical code on ventilators for use in intensive care. In another, she performed calibration and error control on smart energy meters. As a hobby, she loves teaching.

Despite the unusual set of circumstances the country finds itself in this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, the awards will still be celebrated in a virtual International Women in Engineering Day event on 23 June and across social media and press throughout the world.

Elizabeth Donnelly, Chief Executive Officer of the Women’s Engineering Society, explained why they had chosen the theme of sustainability for 2020. “The 2019 Climate Emergency Declarations followed unprecedented weather conditions across the planet. It will be engineers who will provide many of the solutions needed to address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We felt that it was the right time to showcase the amazing women who are already working on these issues.”

Sally Sudworth, the Women’s Engineering Society’s Honorary Secretary and head judge for the awards, said: “The panel of judges was thrilled by with the outstanding achievements demonstrated by all of the winners and by the difference being made by the candidates.”

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