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

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.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 4:45 am

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.

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

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

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.

"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. ”