Ms Sarah Benita Clay

Simulation Scientist

A colour photograph of a woman wearing a baseball cap in front of an aeroplane and smiling

Image provided by Sarah

  • BORN 1980, Mount Gambier, South Australia, Australia
  • WORKED Simbiant, defence based contracting firm based in Adelaide, South Australia;
    BAE Applied Intelligence Labs based in Great Baddow.
  • HONOURS The Claire Corani award for women in physics in second year at university; An Achievement Award from DST Group for work I contributed to the simulation of a UV imaging system.
  • MINERVA SCIENTIFICA PROJECT Echoes from Essex 2020


A logo for Minerva Scientifica Connections 2020. Both 'O's of the word connections are connected to a network pattern. The text is blue on a yellow background.


On 23 June 2020 we celebrated International Women in Engineering Day through the “Echoes from Essex” project in collaboration with Chelmsford Civic Theatre. We asked 6 engineers from Essex, past and presentincluding Sarah Clayto describe their work through the 5 senses. Their responses draw us into an unexpectedly diverse world of women in engineering. For more Minerva Scientifica podcasts click here.

Artistic Connections

I learnt to play the keyboard when I was in Primary School and the Violin in High School. I am also an avid dancer and have learnt many styles from classic ballroom to hip hop.

I came to be involved in the project when Frances reached out to BAE while she was looking for female scientists to be involved with the Echoes from Essex project.


Title: Echoes from Essex
Words by: Frances M Lynch
Written in: August 2020
For: Mixed Chorus, Piano, Harpsichord, Bass Viol, 2 Solo Violins, Orchestra
Performed by: Essex Virtual Choir
First Performed: by Essex Virtual Choir on September 20th at the “Hope for Essex” performance on Zoom in collaboration with Chelmsford Civic Theatres and Essex Music Education Hub

This is the signature tune of the “Echoes from Essex” project in which Sarah Clay took part. It highlights the lives of our featured historical Essex Women in STEMM and celebrates those who are building the future world now. The project ran from July – October 2020.

Thanks are due to Dr Patricia Fara whose historical research inspired the text for this song and formed the basis for the whole project.

You can download the full text here.

Please visit our Essex Virtual Choir page where you can click through to the resources page for the score and learning recordings.


I studied Physics, Maths and Chemistry in High School, where I discovered that I had a talent for all three disciplines, although I found Maths to be particularly challenging and interesting. I went on to study Science at the University of Adelaide, deciding to focus on Physics as it had the most practical application of the mathematical methods I had become so fascinated by in High School.


University Tutor
While I was studying for my master’s degree at university I was given the opportunity to be a tutor in the physics labs, guiding students through their practical experiments. It was very rewarding to be able to help the students, but I also learnt a lot of things that I had missed when I was running the experiments myself as a student.

Field Assistant Contractor
My first job out of university was with a geophysical exploration company.  We were running electrical resistivity surveys on a patch of ground near Whyalla in South Australia for a mining company that was interested in developing the site. My main recollection, however, was how hot it was as we were working through a heat wave up to 40 degrees celsius.

Simulation Scientist
My career started when I got a job with Simbiant, a defence based contracting company in South Australia. I was working with building and running simulations of defence-based systems. After 8 years I decided I needed a change and I moved to England in 2018. I was able to secure a position with BAE systems Applied Intelligence Labs where I am still building and running simulations.

Scientific Achievements

Most of my work achievements to date have been with defence clients and are classified, so I can’t talk about them, sorry ;).

Did You Know?

When I moved to the United Kingdom from Australia a couple of years ago, I did not have a job lined up, and the only person I knew in this country left for Australia a couple of months after I arrived. I was able to find a place to live, job and friends within these last couple years and wouldn’t change a thing.


I am inspired by Marie Curie for proving that woman can win Nobel Prizes and Jocelyn Bell Burnell who made a major discovery in Radio Astrophysics while she was still a postgraduate student.