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The University of Southampton

Southampton alumna awarded Sir George Macfarlane Medal for excellence in structural engineering

Published: 5 November 2019
Picture of Rosie Goldrick
Rosie Goldrick receives the Sir George Macfarlane Medal. Image credit: Royal Academy of Engineering.

University of Southampton graduate Rosie Goldrick has been presented the Sir George Macfarlane Medal for advancing sustainable structural engineering solutions in East Africa.

She received the prestigious medal as the overall winner of the Royal Academy of Engineering Young Engineer of the Year competition, which honoured five female engineers this year.

Rosie leads a diverse team of international and multidisciplinary engineers in the design and implementation of innovative projects in Rwanda.

She completed her MEng Civil Engineering and Architecture degree at Southampton in 2011 and spent five years designing infrastructure before joining the MASS Design Group’s Kigali office as a structural engineer through Engineers Without Borders.

As one of the Project Managers for the Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture project, she helped lead the team through earthquake resistant design and construction using earth and wood. The Institute’s 56 buildings were designed to be as low carbon as possible and as a result the embodied carbon of the campus is around two fifths of the global average.

She is now contributing to research which will inform standards for adobe block (mud brick) construction, commonly used in rural areas.

“I am thrilled to receive this award and am especially delighted that this year all five winners were women,” she said. “They are all incredibly successful and I felt extremely proud to be among them.

“I grew up in London surrounded by historic buildings, skyscrapers and also run-down housing estates. I saw the impact of the built environment on how people live, work and travel, and became interested in the idea of designing structures.

“As I grew older and started to travel outside of the UK I realised how lucky I had been to live in safe buildings for most of my life. I started to understand that structural engineering plays a defining role in life safety and became especially fascinated by earthquake engineering.”

Rwanda has experienced three earthquakes in the past 60 years. In response to this condition, the University of Rwanda started teaching seismic design 3 years ago. However there remains a lack of expertise in seismic design across the country, particularly for smaller projects.

Rosie has led efforts to recruit new members of the Engineering team to build MASS’s capacity to design and implement innovative, mission-driven projects. She says that expanding the team from five to 24 people over the last two years is one of her proudest achievements.

She was honoured alongside peers Sophie Harker, Dr Giorgia Longobardi, Dr Áine Ní Bhreasail, and Dr Mariia Sorokina at the Royal Academy of Engineering Awards Dinner in London.

The awards, which were presented by the Academy with support from the Worshipful Company of Engineers, included a £3,000 prize to reflect excellence in the early stages of their careers.

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