Dr Karen Donaldson

Project Manager of the Robotics SuperLab, the University of Edinburgh

Karen is an engineering physicist, her research is internationally recognised through publications in high impact journals across several disciplines. She is educated with a BSc (Hons) Physics, MSc (Merits) High Power Radio Frequency Engineering and a PhD in space beam-wave interaction Physics.

Currently, Karen is the Project Manager of the Robotics SuperLab at the University of Edinburgh working within the Soft Systems Group as well as researching for the ORCA Hub. Previously, 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.

Prior to this, Karen was a Research Associate in the Space Mechatronics Laboratory at the University of Strathclyde. Here, her research included an intelligent mobile robotic system for agricultural/space exploration and a Standard Interface for Robotic Manipulation of payloads in space missions. Karen’s initial research was in the field of plasma physics which involved investigation of naturally efficient radio emissions in the Ionosphere.

It is important for 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 was accepted onto Aurora Advance HE, leadership development initiative for women. She has had the pleasure to give motivational talks to women studying for PhDs in robotics and is on the committee of the Molly Fergusson Initiative which has the aim of promoting the visibility of women in Engineering. She is the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Chair for 5th IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics 2022.

She is a registered STEM Learning UK ambassador and a private STEM tutor. She has been awarded as a finalist Top 50 UK Women in Engineering 2020 as well as a winner Top 50 UK Women in Engineering 2021.