Kirsty Annand

Hub Manager, Quantic

Meet our new Hub Manager, Dr Kirsty Annand.

Tell us about your career to date.

Following a PhD at the University of Glasgow in materials and condensed matter physics, and some time as a postdoctoral researcher characterising antimonide semiconductors for a wide range of sensing applications, I spent 12 months as a Knowledge Exchange Associate specialising in semiconductor photonics. This move enabled me to develop a passion for supporting long-term and sustainable knowledge exchange partnerships with companies and other stakeholders across the industrial-academic interface.

I then moved to a role as External Engagement Manager for the Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage Centre for Doctoral Training (PIADS CDT) where I was responsible for engaging with our stakeholder base in order to devise and develop partnerships which met the demands of industry. In this role I was required to keep abreast of the broad, cutting-edge photonics research being undertaken at all of our partner institutions, whilst supporting our students with their professional development needs in order to develop communicative, bright, diverse, and commercially aware photonic professionals of the future.

What inspired you to join QuantIC?

With photonics acting as an enabling technology for quantum, as well as spanning many similar communities, I felt that my background would serve me well my new role as QuantIC Hub Manager. I am really excited to expand my knowledge base and play my part in supporting a future quantum driven society for the UK.

What does it mean to be a woman in STEM?

Whilst there is still a long way road ahead to remove barriers to gender equality in science and within the quantum community, I believe that this is changing, slowly, especially via initiatives such as Opening Up Photonics, which aims to accelerate change and support diversity across the photonics and thus, quantum sector.

Why is gender equality important in STEM?

It has been proven that a diverse team enables diverse thinking and allows for space to challenge “what’s already been done”. There’s also substantial evidence to support the link between greater diversity and higher financial profits. The direct impact I can have on developing and championing the future quantum workforce is really exciting.

What advice would you give to young women, who hope to pursue a career in STEM, particularly in quantum?

My main piece of advice would be to follow your own curiosities, and purposefully network whilst you’re at it!

Tell us about you outside of work..

Outside of work I love to travel, and hike around Scotland with my Cairn Terrier Casper!