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Honour for leading female engineer who designed The Shard

Hon Grad Roma Agrawal

One of the UK’s leading structural engineers has been awarded an honorary degree from Northumbria University, Newcastle.

An award-winning engineer, author and broadcaster, Roma Agrawal is best known as the structural engineer behind The Shard, London’s landmark 95-story high skyscraper which is the tallest building in Western Europe.

However, her very first job after graduating from university was to design and build the distinctive footbridge that crosses Newcastle Central Motorway. The bridge was installed in 2007, linking Northumbria University’s east and west city campuses and providing a safe pedestrian and cycle route into the centre of Newcastle.

Roma was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science by Northumbria University in recognition of her outstanding career as a leading female structural engineer, as well as for her work in striving to promote engineering, scientific and technical careers to young people and under-represented groups.

As well as delivering hundreds of talks in schools, universities, and organisations, she also hosts her own podcast and has published books for adults and children telling fascinating stories of how some of the world’s most famous buildings were built.

She is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and was awarded the MBE in 2018 for services to engineering.

Speaking about her award, Roma Agrawal said: “It’s a real honour and joy to receive this award from Northumbria University, a place that I hold close to my heart. I often refer to the footbridge, which was my first ever engineering project, as my baby, so it means a lot to me to come back here and receive this generous recognition.”

Roma received her honorary degree during the University’s winter graduation ceremonies, which were held on Northumbria’s Newcastle City Campus.

Honorary degrees are awarded each year to inspiring people who merit special recognition for their achievements, their links to the University and for inspirational qualities.