Professor Emma Sparks is an experienced leader within education and Defence, having worked across the two sectors for over twenty years. Before joining UNSW Canberra, Emma was Professor of Systems Engineering Education at Cranfield University and Director, Programme and Portfolio Delivery. She is passionate about innovative educational practice underpinned by research, having led the development of Level 7 apprenticeships within Systems Engineering at Cranfield. Building on her Systems Engineering academic base, she has a track record in strategic planning, managing change, building teams, networking, and engagement internally and externally.

Her experience includes time as a member of the Cranfield University council and externally as a governing board member for the International Council for Systems Engineering BKCASE project and a member of the core team that developed the 2035 Systems Engineering vision.

Having worked within government and alongside the military for many years, she is used to navigating and negotiating the unique challenges of delivering education and research to Defence stakeholders and is exceptionally well placed to identify and push forward opportunities in this domain underpinned by data and analysis, including successful partnerships with overseas institutions.

Emma is driven by the desire to build relationships at all levels of organisations, valuing people’s input and helping to develop people to achieve personal goals and those of the organisation. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and, in 2018, was awarded Top 50 Women in Engineering (Telegraph awards).