‘Engineering has lifted masses out of poverty': Dr Samira Jafari

Professional Engineering

Dr Samira Jafari, head of advanced technology development at Datwyler
Dr Samira Jafari, head of advanced technology development at Datwyler


I was born and raised in a small town in northern Iran in a culture and environment where education was highly regarded and encouraged. I guess the whole journey for me started with a keen interest in maths and physics, especially in secondary and high school. I always found it fascinating that this complex world within and around us can be explained and summarised using very abstract and sometimes simple mathematical formulas. Physics and science in general also helped me to crack the world around me. It took the magic out of things and replaced it with logic, reason and knowledge. I was particularly fascinated by numbers theory and quantum mechanics, reading numerous books with perhaps – upon reflection now – little in-depth understanding! 


2002-08, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran

After I finished high school, I moved to the capital to pursue a BSc in Iran’s top technical university. Due to my interest in physics, astronomy and space, I decided to choose aerospace engineering as a discipline. Next to studies, I worked part time as a tutor and journalist and eventually published a children’s book series about space and astronomy in 2006. In 2008 I graduated with a master’s degree in aerospace engineering focused on aerodynamics, propulsion and numerical modelling. 


2009-14, ETH Zurich

At the end of my master’s I decided to move abroad to further pursue my education. Having been granted admission and scholarship, I moved to Switzerland and started my PhD in the department of mechanical engineering at ETH Zurich, focusing on the aerodynamics and modelling of wind turbines. Looking back, PhD studies perhaps was one of the most enriching periods in my life as an engineer.  


2014-19, Simulation specialist, Sulzer

My first professional experience was with Sulzer, a reputable century-old Swiss company in engineering and manufacturing that is active in a variety of sectors, such as pumps, separation technology and consumable applicator systems. I started as a modelling specialist in the R&D department in Winterthur where I designed various products such as refinery column internals, mixers and spray nozzles. Despite the broad width of applications, the fundamental engineering know-how in design and modelling remained the same. Gradually I moved my focus to product design and innovation in functional packaging and delivery devices and led the technology development and innovation management activities.


2019-present, Head of advanced technology development, Datwyler

Within Datwyler, based in Uri, Switzerland, I am also part of a talented and driven team focusing on future technologies, products and applications. The depth of knowledge and expertise in the company and Datwyler’s broad market presence make the development extremely interesting for a young engineer. We work across various markets and applications on the verge of major disruption, such as mobility, food, packaging, smart health and wearables, and are extremely eager and proud to participate in rebuilding an industry’s future.

I might be biased but I happen to think engineering is one of the worthiest disciplines. It has improved the quality of life significantly over past decades and centuries, it has lifted masses out of poverty and brought a lot of prosperity to this world. In addition, many of the skills that you master in science and engineering, such as quantitative and analytical thinking and reasoning, can be very useful and applicable to different areas of business and in fact life in general.  

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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.


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