Dr Francisca Martinez-Hergueta is a Researcher and Lecturer in Impulsive Dynamics within the Mechanical Engineering discipline at the School of Engineering.
Francisca obtained her BEng in 2008 at the University of Castilla, La Mancha, Spain, followed by an MEng in 2011 at University Carlo III in Madrid, Spain. She then went on to obtain a PhD in materials and structures in 2016 from the Technical University of Madrid.
Francisca’s research interests include impact problems, dynamic properties of materials, composite materials, advanced characterisation techniques, and multiscale modelling.
Here, Francisca tells us about her career as an engineer and what she enjoys about her current research in the School.
"As a young girl, I was good at STEM, but when I started my degree in Mechanical Engineering, I was not that sure I was going to like it. I knew that I loved maths, chemistry and physics, and I wanted a job where I could apply my problem-solving skills. I started to become passionate about engineering during my Material Science lessons as an undergraduate at university.
After finishing my MEng and internships, I joined the IMDEA Material Institute where I worked as Stress Engineer in projects funded by Airbus. I then went on to complete a PhD in Materials and Structures. During that time, I specialised in ballistics, which I truly love. It is an extremely challenging field, where experimental characterisation and numerical modelling are combined together to obtain predictions of the ballistic response of structural components. After my PhD, I continued with my academic career, and took on different research positions working with leading-edge companies such as Rolls-Royce and Williams Advanced Engineering.
To date, I have very much enjoyed pushing the boundaries of materials science to find lightweight solutions for impact applications to reduce the fuel consumption of current transport technologies. Another aspect I truly enjoy about my current position is working with young people and transferring my passion to them.
As a woman in engineering, I have always had support from my family, friends and supervisors, who advised me to follow my instincts. If you are an aspiring engineering, or young student, who is considering wanting to work as an engineer, spend a week working with graduate engineers. The School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh officers a course – the Inspire Course – which I would encourage young aspiring engineers to sign-up to."