Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Professor Sarah Sharples


Professor Sarah Sharples is Pro-Vice-Chancellor (PVC) for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

The PVC Equality, Diversity and Inclusion provides executive leadership and strategic oversight of the University’s equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) agenda. The role includes leadership of University-wide EDI priorities for students and staff to create an environment which is enriched through the diversity and inclusivity of our communities and working practices. Sarah works closely with:

  • Director of Campus Life
  • Director of Human Resources
  • Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellors
  • Registrar’s Office

Professor Sharples is a member of the University Executive Board and chairs the University Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.


Sarah is a Professor of Human Factors, and joined the University as an undergraduate student in 1991. She led the Human Factors Research Group from 2006-2014. She has been a Course Director, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, and from 2015-2018 was Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange for the Faculty of Engineering.  

Sarah was President of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors from 2015-2016, was appointed to the Council of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in March 2018, is a member of the Science Advisory Council for the Department for Transport and Non-Executive Director for the Transport Systems Catapult. 

Teaching and Research Summary

Sarah’s work has focused on developing tools and theories to help understand how we can best support people in complex workplaces as jobs change with the introduction of novel technologies. After completing a first degree in Psychology, she has spent the majority of her academic career based within the Faculty of Engineering, where she has led a number of research programmes which apply human factors within the domains of Transport, Healthcare and Manufacturing. She continues to teach in the Faculty, delivering a module on Cognitive Ergonomics in Design, and has written the Ergonomics/Human Factors core text ‘Evaluation of Human Work: 4th Edition’, published in 2015.

Her research has built on her PhD studies which considered Human Factors of Virtual Reality, and over the past 15 years has encompassed projects ranging from understanding the impact of automation in rail signalling systems, to the ways that handheld technologies can support clinicians in hospital out of hours care, to current work which considers the impact of Industry 4.0 on how people and technologies will work together in future manufacturing settings.  

Sarah is a passionate supporter of equality, diversity and inclusion, having championed one of the first successful Athena SWAN submissions for the School of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering in 2008. She will be working towards ensuring that EDI is embedded in all that we do at the University, and to use her human factors expertise in systems design and evaluation in the development of the new EDI strategy. 








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