Department of Engineering / News / Cambridge PhD student recognised by Forbes' 30 Under 30 list

Department of Engineering

Cambridge PhD student recognised by Forbes' 30 Under 30 list

Cambridge PhD student recognised by Forbes' 30 Under 30 list

PhD student Catherine Richards has been named on Forbes’ prestigious 30 Under 30 Europe list for 2019. 

I feel very honoured to have made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list...I’m thrilled to have joined this dynamic global community.

PhD student Catherine Richards

The list comprises the most impressive young entrepreneurs and ‘bold risk-takers bringing new ideas to Europe’.

Catherine, 29, features in Forbes’ Manufacturing and Industry category, recognising those who are ‘creating the products, methods and materials of tomorrow’. The Australian was chosen for her leadership and impact in engineering, business and policy following her ongoing research at the University of Cambridge and her nine years’ professional experience at government corporation Hunter Water and Fortune 500 corporation ExxonMobil, where, according to Forbes, she helped develop oil and gas well technology that boosted efficiency while reducing the risk of environmental hazards. 

“I feel very honoured to have made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and it’s inspiring to know that there’s such a diverse group of young leaders and innovators doing fantastic things in so many areas across the world,” said Catherine. “I’m thrilled to have joined this dynamic global community and I’m looking forward to attending the international summit in Israel.”

Catherine is part of The Use Less Group, based in the Department of Engineering. The Group, led by Julian Allwood, Professor of Engineering and the Envrionment, carries out world-leading research into the sustainable use of materials, energy and resources. 

Catherine's research seeks to enable industry to make a practical transition to sustainability. This is a new area of research for the Group and combines data science, complex systems modelling and policy analysis to invent a novel decision-making tool that will enable risk-based prioritisation of effective resource use interventions at a national level. Her research is funded by the General Sir John Monash Foundation, Origin Foundation and Cambridge Trust.

Catherine said: “My research aims to address issues related to the level of abstraction and uncertainty in the current sustainability agenda. I'm working at the forefront of an emerging area – and initiating a new area for my research group – by exploring the relationship between resource use and societal collapse for use as an alternate lens to resolve these issues.”

Following the completion of her PhD in 2020, Catherine plans to work in a consulting role where she can utilise her skill set to solve a diverse range of problems and influence positive change in business and policy.

“I started my career as an engineer and over the years my passion for business and policy has bloomed, while specialising in resource dynamics and sustainability,” she said. “My PhD research is a perfect match for my experience to date and for my future career plans, and I hope that the outputs will stimulate a powerful new way for us to address resource use and sustainability issues in society. I’m passionate about enhancing both economic and social progress by transforming industry and governmental processes with innovative technology and initiatives.”

The text in this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. If you use this content on your site please link back to this page. For image use please see separate credits above.