BLOG ARTICLE: 09/09/2020

Dr Laura Cohen appointed as Visiting Professor to Department of Materials at University of Manchester and Henry Royce Institute


Dr Laura Cohen appointed as Visiting Professor to Department of Materials at University of Manchester and Henry Royce Institute

Dr Laura Cohen MBE CEng FIMMM, who is Chief Executive of the British Ceramic Confederation (BCC) has been appointed as a Visiting Professor in Materials Science and Engineering in a role that will span the University of Manchester and the Henry Royce Institute.

The appointment is part of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Visiting Professors (VP) scheme an industry-into-academia initiative that funds professional engineers working with UK universities.

Dr Cohen was appointed Chief Executive of the BCC, the trade association for the UK ceramic manufacturing industry, in 2009. After a metallurgy and materials science degree and PhD at Cambridge, she worked for 20 years in many technical and regulatory roles in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, prior to joining BCC.

Dr Cohen’s Visiting Professor role will significantly augment existing industrially-relevant learning offered by the University, by giving lectures and interactive workshops, providing coaching sessions, offering feedback on the current curriculum and enhancing connections with industry.  Through one-to one career coaching Laura will help students explore career opportunities inside, and, particularly outside academia.

Dr Laura Cohen said:

“I’m delighted to have this opportunity to work more closely with Manchester University and the Henry Royce Institute partners at this critical time, when it is even more important that university courses have strong links with industry. I’m looking forward to helping students understand some of the key challenges facing manufacturing today and sharing my experience with the next generation of industry leaders.”

Keith Barker, President of the British Ceramic Confederation, said:

 “We look forward to supporting Laura’s work as a Visiting Professor alongside her role as Chief Executive of the British Ceramic Confederation. The students will benefit greatly from her experience and insights and the ceramics manufacturing industry will also benefit from her work championing our sector. We wish her every success in her new role.”

Philip Withers FREng FRS, Regius Professor of Materials in the Department of Materials at The University of Manchester and Chief Scientist of the Henry Royce Institute, the Academic Champion who submitted the successful RAEng Visiting Professor application, in partnership with Laura, said:  

“Laura’s appointment as a Visiting Professor in Materials Science and Engineering is great news for The University of Manchester and the Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials, and for students.  Hosting Laura provides an exceptional opportunity to improve the educational provision for our materials science students. Laura will bring deep expertise around the application of materials science and engineering in industry, particularly in relation to policy and regulation.”

Professor Sarah Cartmell, Professor of Bioengineering at The University of Manchester, Head of the Department of Materials and Royce Champion for Biomedical Materials, who will work closely with Laura during her appointment said:

“We’re absolutely delighted to be able to welcome Laura as Visiting Professor. Many of our students represent the business leaders of tomorrow and they will benefit greatly from discussions with Laura on key industrial challenges, as well as opportunities for materials scientists and engineers in areas such as energy efficiency, the net zero carbon challenge and resource efficiency. As a senior, successful woman in manufacturing, Laura will also be an outstanding role model to students, and by integrating her work at Manchester with the Henry Royce Institute, this position will benefit materials science students nationally.”

Dr Cohen’s Professorship will concentrate in the first year on The University of Manchester and will then be extended to other university partners in the Henry Royce Institute (Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial College, Sheffield, Liverpool, Leeds).

Dr Cohen was awarded an MBE in 2015 in recognition of her services to the ceramics industry. She is also an associate of Newnham College, Cambridge and has chaired a number of cross-industry groups on trade, energy and the transition to net-zero.


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About the Royal Academy of Engineering

The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone. In collaboration with its Fellows and partners, it is growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public. This Visiting Professor position is being supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering under the Visiting Professors – Round 7 (Yr 2021) scheme.

About the British Ceramic Confederation

The British Ceramic Confederation (BCC) is the trade association for the UK ceramic manufacturing industry, representing the common and collective interests of all sectors of the industry. Its member companies cover the full spectrum of ceramic manufacturing, including the supply of materials, and comprise over 90% of the industry’s manufacturing capacity.

About Materials Science at Manchester

Material Science at the University of Manchester is Europe’s largest and most diverse university activity devoted to materials. Its BSc course is accredited by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) as fully meeting the academic requirements for Incorporated Engineer (IEng) registration and partially for Chartered Engineer (CEng)/Chartered Scientist (CSci) status.  Strong industrial links ensure courses are wide-ranging and relevant to industrial needs.

About the Henry Royce Institute 

Operating with its Hub at The University of Manchester, the Henry Royce Institute for advanced materials research and innovation is a partnership of nine leading institutions – the universities of Cambridge, Imperial College London, Liverpool, Leeds, Oxford, Sheffield, the National Nuclear Laboratory, and UKAEA. Royce aims to support and grow world-recognised excellence in UK materials research, accelerating commercial exploitation and delivering positive economic and societal impact for the UK. Royce is funded by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, part of UK Research & Innovation.