PhD alumnus appointed to prestigious Young Professionals Panel

Rosie Hughes, a former PhD student, has been announced as a member of the Young Professionals Panel for the National Infrastructure Commission.

Dr Rosie Hughes
Dr Rosie Hughes

Rosie Hughes, a former PhD student, has been announced as a member of the Young Professionals Panel for the National Infrastructure Commission. The Panel is a new initiative from the Commission, which is a government ran project tasked with identifying the infrastructure needs of the UK from now until 2050.

The Panel will support the Commission and be an independent body tasked with advising government on the UK's long-term infrastructure. As well as supporting Commission across a wide range of infrastructure programmes, the Panel will also develop their own ideas and provide a strong voice for the next generation of the UK's infrastructure leaders.

“For me the YPP is a forward-thinking collective for an infrastructure vision of the future,” said Rosie, who graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2015. “I am honoured to bring my social science perspective to the panel, and I hope that the outcome of such collective thinking secures a greater integrated infrastructure approach for the future.”

While studying her PhD, Rosie undertook work with the Royal Geographic Society (with IBG) and the Sustainable Mobilities Research Centre, as well completing a Visiting Fellowship with the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research in Wollongong, New South Wales.

PhD Alumnus panel member
Dr Rosie Hughes
Rosie still has strong ties to the city, now working for AECOM in nearby Chesterfield. In her current position, she works on several major highways schemes for various clients across the UK & Europe, including for Highways England in an innovation and improvement role. An example of this is the A303 Stonehenge project, a £1.6 billion major highway redevelopment.

Her decision to study at Sheffield was informed by both the city and the University. "Sheffield as the culture and creativity of the city was reflected in the ethos of the Geography department," Rosie says. "I found working with inspiring academics at the forefront of their fields encouraging, challenging and exciting throughout my time as part of the community." Equally, she likes that the city doesn't take itself too seriously. "Sheffield’s ambivalence about how good it is as a liveable, green and vibrant city is its best feature."

Of her career path, Rosie said: "My trajectory since first graduating as an undergraduate in 2008 has been diverse, but always along the same broad direction: developing understandings of how people move around our world." In her current role she collaborates with improvement professionals globally across AECOM. Aside from this, Rosie is also a keynote speaker for an Association of Consultants & Engineers Wales Progress session this month and was a mentor for AECOM CityHACK.

Taking time out from her busy schedule, Rosie also had some advice to offer to current students or those thinking about studying Geography. "Everything happens somewhere. So take your interest in the world and follow where opportunities take you. But practically, it’s a great time to be a geographer as industries like Construction and Engineering are actively engaging wider skill sets to diversify thought in our practice communities. So take a look, what you find might surprise you. I’d definitely like to see more geographers in my team!"

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