Professor Sarah Hainsworth is Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Aston University. She was awarded a BEng in Science of Engineering Materials from Newcastle University in 1989, followed by a PhD in 1993, which focussed on factors influencing the tribology of ceramic surfaces. Before joining Aston University, Sarah was at the University of Leicester for almost 20 years, where she was Professor of Materials and Forensic Engineering and also the University’s Head of Engineering.
Her forensic engineering research has two main focus areas, forces involved in stabbing and characterising tool marks in injury and dismemberment. She came to public attention in 2013 for her work related to the skeleton of Richard III, which was discovered in Grey Friars in Leicester the previous year. Working in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Leicester’s Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, her expertise helped establish the manner of King Richard III’s death through analysing wound marks found on his skeleton.
She was awarded the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Tribology Bronze Medal in 1995, the Rosenhain Medal of the Institute of Materials, Minerals, and Mining in 2008, and was nominated as one the Women's Engineering Society's Outstanding Technical Women in 2009. In 2015, she received the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Engineering Sciences Section Andrew H. Payne Jr. Special Achievement Award in recognition of her contributions to forensic engineering sciences, and in 2016 she was elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering.