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Jo da Silva wins The Institution of Structural Engineers’ 2017 Gold Medal

Published: 04/09/2017

Jo da Silva, Director of Arup’s International Development Group and Arup Fellow, has been awarded The Institution of Structural Engineers’ 2017 Gold Medal. The Medal recognises the outstanding leadership she has provided as both a structural and humanitarian engineer, and for her distinguished and cross-sectoral work on urban resilience.

Among her many achievements, Jo co-ordinated the efforts of over 100 humanitarian agencies to provide transitional shelter in Sri Lanka following the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2005, constructing 60,000 shelters in six months.

Jo, an Officer of the British Empire, said:

“Looking back at my career I have been lucky to work on some wonderful projects, but honestly my proudest achievements have always related to designs that help build better societies.

“Working with Tower Hamlets Council on ‘Ideas Stores’ in East London made a real difference to marginalised local people, enabling access to courses and IT facilities, that in some cases changed lives.  This project remains a real highlight of my career.

“I’m deeply passionate about my current work with Arup which focusses on building resilience so that we are better able to tackle the big issues facing society such as urbanisation, climate change and poverty.  The RESILIENCE SHIFT is a new initiative supported by the Lloyds Register Foundation which seeks to move the agenda among structural engineers from risk to resilience, applying performance based design across the profession, beyond areas like seismic engineering. Put simply, a hospital isn’t just a building, it’s a critical asset within the healthcare system that serves society. As structural engineers we need to think about the social outcomes of our projects, not just physical outputs. 

“It is a great privilege to join such a distinguished list of Gold Medallists, and I would like to thank the Institution for the honour.”

Martin Powell, Chief Executive of The Institution of Structural Engineers, said:

“The Gold Medal is the Institution’s most prestigious award, presented to those individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of structural engineering, with previous winners including Ove Arup, Pier Luigi Nervi, Felix Candela and Edmund Happold.

“Jo is a more than worthy addition to this distinguished rollcall, in particular for her work setting up Arup’s International Development Group, which has delivered much improved professional expertise and deep technical knowledge to humanitarian and development agencies.

“We look forward to welcoming her to the Institution in October for what we are certain will be a fascinating address from one of the world’s most forward-thinking structural engineering professionals.”

Jo da Silva will address the Institution at its London headquarters in Bastwick Street on 11 October 2017. Visit to book tickets or watch the livestreamed talk.


About The Institution of Structural Engineers

  • The Institution of Structural Engineers is the world’s largest membership organisation dedicated to the art and science of structural engineering. It is a leading source of expertise on all structural engineering and public safety issues in the built environment.
  • The Institution of Structural Engineers has 27,000 members in 105 countries around the world and was founded in 1908.