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Top geothermal engineer made Woman of the Year finalist

29 September 2017

Professor Rosalind Archer has recently been made a finalist in this year’s NEXT Woman of the Year awards.

She currently serves as the Head of Department of Engineering Science – notably as our faculty’s first ever woman Head of Department, is the director of the Geothermal Institute, a Professional Chair supported by Mercury Energy, and a non-executive director of New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd. In 2016, she won the Energy Engineer of the Year award, being the first University of Auckland researcher to receive a Deloitte Energy Excellence Award.

As one of NEXT’s 30 finalists, including three others from the University of Auckland, Professor Archer joins a league of recognisable women, whose contributions to our communities extend beyond the day-to-day obligations of the already remarkable success they have achieved within their professional fields.

As part of her work at the University, she makes efforts to apply her capacity as a researcher, educator, and role model to a range of wider initiatives. This includes serving as a formal and informal mentor to women, and collaborating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in aid-related projects. She also started Ingeniare, a blog on engineering education, research, and leadership that’s accessible to a wide audience.

To be an academic featured in a nationally-distributed lifestyle magazine is an arguably rare, albeit positive experience. Professor Archer states, “I don’t usually go looking for the limelight. However, I am hoping that sharing some details of my career with NEXT’s readers means that more people get a sense of what a diverse and interesting range of opportunities engineering holds.”

Following the NEXT honour, Professor Archer received further good news, with the Ministry of Business and Employment funding two of her GNS Science-hosted projects in their 2017 Endeavour Round, including:

  • Being part of an over $7,600,000 bid for an interdisciplinary investigation of gas hydrates, ice-like substances of natural gas beneath large areas of New Zealand’s seafloor that poses as a potential energy resource. Beyond assessing its environmental impacts, this project also considers potential social and economic outcomes.
  • A $6,250,000 bid she will be co-leading on increasing understanding of New Zealand’s geothermal energy, which is a renewable energy source. The project aims to develop new methods to interpret and extract value from geothermal field data.

Dean of Engineering Professor Nic Smith states, “Rosalind is one of those rare professionals who with her considerable skill is able to effectively move across disciplinary boundaries with ease, and brings both passion and diplomacy to important leadership roles.”