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Laura graduated from the University of Surrey in 1996 after completing an Engineering Degree in Materials Technology. Her early career was spent in industry, working on diverse aspects such as the growth and characterisation of synthetic diamond, 3D medical ultrasound, the development of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), materials for new SONAR systems and active vibration and noise control. In 1999 she joined the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, an Agency of the UK Government, which was privatised and became QinetiQ in 2001. In 8.5 years with QinetiQ her main focus was on the development and application of smart and functional materials for both military and civil applications. After a brief interlude working for her Professional Institute she returned to work for the UK Government at the MoD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in 2008.
In her early work at Dstl she gained an MPhil from the University of Southampton for research into the high-strain rate properties of novel functional materials. Laura’s work at Dstl is focused on harnessing innovation in the supplier base for the benefit of the MoD and her technical remit includes both materials and manufacturing. She is a Principal Adviser for the Materials for Strategic Advantage Research Programme ; this is a tri-service programme with a value of ~ £12 million per year, undertaking the fundamental materials and structures research needed to ensure the future-proofing of defence equipment. Laura is a registered Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. She has held honorary positions at the Universities of Southampton and Birmingham, and has been a guest lecturer at Imperial College London.