Dr. Heather Dalgarno

Heather Dalgarno
  • Principal Systems Engineer, Leonardo MW, 2012 - present
  • PhD in Physics, Heriot-Watt University, 2002-2005
  • MPhys Laser Engineering and Optoelectronics, Heriot-Watt University, 1998-2002

I studied an undergraduate degree in Laser Engineering and Optoelectronics at Heriot-Watt University.  I chose Heriot-Watt because of its close ties to industry, and the world-leading expertise in the subject area.  I had a wonderful experience studying at Heriot-Watt, the department was a welcoming and supportive environment and there was an active social student body.  I spent two years living in halls on campus where I made good friends that I have kept ever since.

After my undergraduate degree I studied for a PhD in Adaptive Optics before entering the field of biophotonics to develop a 4D portable imaging system for life science microscopy.  This led me to a research role at St Andrews University developing state-of-the-art fluorescence microscopy systems.  My career in academic research was constantly challenging, exciting, and gave me the opportunity to travel the world presenting my research in a wide range of exotic locations: from Maui to Munich, Beijing to Tokyo.

In 2012 I decide a career in research was not for me and moved to industry, joining the Radar Tracking Team at Leonardo (then called Selex). The core skills I gained in my Physics degree, particularly on modelling, mechanics and statistics, allowed me to enter directly as a specialist Systems Engineer.  As a Systems Engineer my core work is based on problem solving, computer modelling and complex data analysis - all of which were key features of my Physics training. I am now a Principal Systems Engineer, and Radar Tracking Team lead. I manage a team of 14 people and am responsible for the design and delivery of the Tracking software in the Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen fighter jet platforms.