Katie Smith – THALES
Katie graduated with a PhD in Applied Maths from the University of St Andrews in 1999 and since then has worked for Thales in its Maritime Mission Systems division. She started in the “algorithm development team”, but was soon moved onto project, where she was responsible for designing, upgrading, and testing the implementation of algorithms used to detect and track noise sources against a very noisy background. She has developed a number of other algorithms and has seen some go from concept through to operational use, which has been immensely satisfying.
More recently she has taken on managing the MMS university liaison portfolio. At last count, Thales are funding 16 current PhD projects with several different Universities around the UK.
Thales operates dual career paths, recognising technical expertise separately to management grades, and last year Katie was formally recognised as a Thales Expert, of which there are less than 100 in the UK, only a handful of which are women. She is passionate about encouraging women to explore careers in science and encouraging business to consider ways of working that enable everyone to achieve the work-life balance they need.