Professor Nora de Leeuw was born and brought up in the Netherlands. She studied languages and hotel administration before moving to the UK where she worked as a legal executive in London. However, a few years later she returned to science and completed an Open University degree in chemistry with physics, followed by PhD studies and postdoctoral research at the University of Bath on computational mineralogy.
In 2000, Nora was appointed a lectureship in Physical Chemistry at the University of Reading. Then, in 2002, she received an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship for the computer modelling of biomaterials, which she took up in the School of Crystallography at Birkbeck College, London. In 2006, Nora moved to University College London (UCL) and was promoted to Professor in 2007. She set up and ran a highly successful EPSRC-funded Industrial Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling & Materials Science, which covered three faculties and involved working closely with industrial partners. In 2015, she moved to Cardiff University to take up the role of Pro-Vice-Chancellor International, where she built international research and teaching partnerships with overseas institutions and also founded the university-wide Doctoral Academy for PhD students.
Currently, Nora is Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences at the University of Leeds (also affiliated with Utrecht University in the Netherlands). Nora has also been highly active in an overseas research capacity, building programmes with institutions in sub-Saharan Africa and collaborating with colleagues across the world.