Today HRH The Princess Royal, in her capacity as Royal Patron of The WISE (Women into Science, Engineering and Construction) campaign, formally opened QinetiQ’s new Malvern ‘Tom Elliott’ Centre and was invited to learn more about QinetiQ’s research activities from a number of the company’s leading female scientists and engineers.
Sir John Chisholm, Chairman of QinetiQ and Graham Love, QinetiQ’s CEO, greeted The Princess Royal, the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire Mr Michael Brinton and other dignitaries and introduced them to Professor Tom Elliott. The party then toured the new conferencing and restaurant facilities and were introduced to a number of QinetiQ’s leading female scientists and engineers who discussed their roles at QinetiQ and how they are helping solve important problems. The Princess Royal was then invited to unveil a plaque on the conference centre building and sign the visitor’s book.
“Her Royal Highness has had a profound influence on the promotion of science and engineering in the UK and we are very pleased that she agreed to open the centre,” explained Sir John Chisholm. “The Malvern site has a long heritage of developing and delivering leading edge technological development that has helped shape our daily lives. This stretches back over 60 years to the early days of radar development, with current advancements including our Tarsier system to identify foreign objects on an airport runway and the latest system to measure children’s feet which has its origins in work we did for the UK Ministry of Defence on the detection of unexploded ordnance.”
Among those presented to HRH The Princess Royal was Caroline Slim, the programme manager for Zephyr, QinetiQ’s solar powered High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) unmanned air vehicle who explained that the aim is to fly for up to three months at above 50,000 feet and provide a low cost monitoring capability. Amanda Turner explained how, as business group manager, she is championing all aspects of the 3D camera development at QinetiQ, including the multimillion pound deal with Clarks for foot gauges for installation in all its UK retail stores.
TopSat, QinetiQ’s electro-optical satellite launched in 2005 was presented by Elaine Baxter, TopSat’s operations manager and technical liaison to the TopSat Consortium who explained her responsibilities for the daily targeting of images and image processing. And Sima Adhya, a WISE and NOISEmaker (New Outlooks in Science and Engineering) role model and the technical product manager for Tarsier, explained the benefits of this system which uses a high resolution millimetre-wave radar to scan airport runways and automatically detect harmful debris.
The party also had an opportunity to learn more about the initiatives QinetiQ is championing to promote science and engineering education. These include its graduate development and engineering programmes plus the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) outreach programme that takes working scientists into schools around the country to enthuse Key Stage 3 (11 years old and above) to get them to consider further education and ultimately a career in these fields.
The Centre has been named after a former QinetiQ employee, Professor Tom Elliott CBE FRS. Professor Elliott is an internationally renowned expert on electronic devices and thermal imaging, focusing on the physics and technology of optoelectronic and electronic devices including infrared detectors. He has received numerous international awards and prizes and was awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 1994. He had a long and successful association with QinetiQ, latterly as Chief Scientist in Electronics Sector at Malvern during the 1990s.
During her trip to Malvern, The Princess Royal also opened the new premises of Dytecna Limited, an independent engineering and logistic support organisation that has operated for the past 60 years in the UK defence and homeland security markets.