A material interest in engineering

Dr Anna RegoutzDr Anna Regoutz is an Imperial College Research Fellow in our Department of Materials.

Her research involves X-ray spectroscopy of materials, with a particular focus on oxides and semiconductors.

She also teaches Materials Physics and Electronic Properties of Materials on our undergraduate Materials Science and Engineering programme. In 2018, she won the Imperial Student Academic Choice Award for Best Teaching for Undergraduates.

Anna talks about her decision to study a STEM subject at university (Technical Chemistry) and her experience at Imperial so far.

"Being a woman in my field is not without its challenges, but overall I have found Imperial to be a supportive and inspiring environment."

What inspired your decision to study a STEM subject at university?

I think there is a range of reasons, why I ultimately ended up doing my first degree in Technical Chemistry, but at the end it’s all about the people who have encouraged and supported me along the way.

My parents instilled an inquisitiveness and curiosity for the world in me that has driven me throughout my entire career.

In school, I was fortunate to have the best Chemistry teacher imaginable, Prof. Helga Voglhuber, who was a female role model for me from early on.

She encouraged me to pursue chemistry beyond my A-levels.

In addition, I spent my summers doing internships in a range of companies and institutions, including a hydroelectric energy company, a pathology department, a food safety agency, and a semiconductor company.

All of these experiences and interactions with many great people along the way really sparked my interest in science and engineering.

What brought you to Imperial?

After receiving my BSc (2009) and DI (2010) in Technical Chemistry from the TU Graz in Austria, I moved to Oxford to complete a Doctorate (DPhil) in Inorganic Chemistry between 2010 and 2014.

Whilst my DI research took place in the industrial setting of a semiconductor failure analysis laboratory, my Doctoral work concerned the fundamental structural and electronic properties of metal oxides.

In 2015, a great opportunity came up to join the Department of Materials as a post-doc in the Group of Dr David Payne.

He was building up an amazing lab of X-ray photoelectron spectrometers. It was the perfect time to join Imperial and get involved in a wide range of characterisation challenges.

Last autumn, I was appointed as an Imperial College Research Fellowship and am incredibly fortunate to be able to start my independent research career here at the College.

How have you found being a women at Imperial?

Being a woman in my field is not without its challenges, but overall I have found Imperial to be a supportive and inspiring environment.

One of the main challenges within my field is that I am often the only women in the room, which can feel rather lonely and intimidating at times.

Initiatives like the recently formed WOMENinSTEM@IC network are incredibly valuable to form communities across the College.

What are your plans for your next career steps?

I am currently focusing on building up a research group and doing some great science.

The freedom of the research fellowship has been a great enabler to get creative and adventurous and define my own research agenda.