Karen Donaldson

Karen is an engineering physicist, her research is internationally recognised through publications in high impact journals across several disciplines. She is educated with BSc (Hons) Physics, MSc (Merits) High Power radio Frequency Engineering and a PhD in space beam-wave interaction Physics. Currently, Karen is a Project Manager at The National Robotiarum. Prior to this, Karen is the Project Manager of the Robotics SuperLab at the University of Edinburgh working within the Soft Systems Group. Previous to this position, Karen worked on a project, Connect-R, with the aim to develop an industrial-scale self-building modular robotic solution to provide access in hazardous environments. Karen’s initial research was in the field of plasma physics which involved investigation of naturally efficient radio emissions in the Ionosphere. Prior to joining the Soft Systems Group, Karen was a Research Associate in a Space Mechatronics Laboratory at the University of Strathclyde. Here, her research included an intelligent mobile robotic system for agricultural/space exploration applications and a Standard Interface for Robotic Manipulation of payloads in space missions (SIROM H2020). It is important to Karen to encourage and inspire the younger generation and women to follow their ambitions in STEM. She has acted as a departmental representative for an Athena Swan Board. She has also had the opportunity to give motivational talks to women who are studying for PhDs in robotics (WiRe) and was the launch coordinator for the Molly Fergusson Initiative, at the University of Edinburgh, which has the aim of promoting the community and visibility of women in Engineering. She was the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Chair for 5th IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics 2022. She is a registered STEM Learning UK ambassador. She has been awarded as a finalist for Top 50 UK Women in Engineering 2020 as well as a winner of Top 50 UK Women in Engineering 2021. She has just completed the European Crucible and has recently been accepted as a member to the UK Young Academy, as part of the Royal Society. The National Robotarium is always considering the future of robotics and its integration into our society. It is a world-leading centre that strives to have impact on society through the development and adoption of robotic solutions, with collaborations across academia and industry around the world.

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