University of Leeds academic joins Royal Academy of Engineering for her work in controlling COVID in buildings

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An academic based in Leeds, who has led the study into the way the virus responsible for covid-19 spreads in buildings and enclosed spaces, has been honoured by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Cath Noakes, Professor of Environmental Engineering for Buildings at the University of Leeds and a member of the Government’s scientific advisory group SAGE, has been elected a Fellow of the Academy in an award given to outstanding engineers for their remarkable achievements in business or academia.

Professor Noakes became a member of SAGE at the start of the pandemic in the UK, in spring 2020. As an engineer, she brought a different insight to the way the virus may spread inside buildings, particularly hospitals, where the virus could be in the air.

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Her work has focused on the use of ventilation and air purification technologies to reduce the spread of the virus.

Prof Cath Noakes.Prof Cath Noakes.
Prof Cath Noakes.

A mechanical engineer by training, Prof Noakes received her first degree and PhD from the University of Leeds. She is an expert in fluid dynamics.

She said: “I am honoured to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. At school I decided I wanted to be an engineer and to show that the profession can make a real

difference and play a pivotal role in improving the world. The pandemic has presented society with enormous challenges.

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"But science and engineering are enabling us to get back to as near as normal a life as possible. I also want this award to send a message to young women interested in engineering: it is a great, exciting and worthwhile career.”

Prof Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds, said: “It is fantastic news that Cath is being honoured by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

“Her research embodies the philosophy at the heart of the University, to make the world a better place and her work with SAGE shows engineering and science at its very best, working in the public interest. She is a great role model for students and staff alike. ”