UCL Centre for Engineering Education



 Centre Directors

Professor John Mitchell

John Mitchell is a Professor in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, UCL. He is currently Co-Director of UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education and is also Vice-Dean Education in the UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences.

From 2012 to 2016 he was on secondment to lead a major curriculum review and development project across the UCL Engineering faculty. The project has involved the revision of the majority of the undergraduate programmes to include increased project based and multi-discipinary activities. Previously, he has led projects to introduce problem-based and scenario based learning into the electronic engineering curriculum at UCL. The results of this work has been published in a number of international journals and conferences.

He is a Principal Fellow of the HEA, recipient of a UCL Provost’s Teaching Award and part of the team that won the 2018 Advance HE Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence.

In 2016 he completing an MA in Teaching and Learning in Higher and Professional Education at the UCL Institute of Education.

Professor David Guile

David Guile is Professor of Education and Work, Co-Director of UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education and the Institute of Education’s Centre for Post 14 Education and Work.

His primary research interests are in professional, vocational and workplace learning, including apprenticeship, internship, and interprofessional activity.

Currently, David is preparing with colleagues from WZB Berlin, Berlin Free University and the Copenhagen Business School an invited research proposal on behalf of the VW Foundation’s Artificial Intelligence and the “Society of the Future” programme, on the relationship between AI, skill and work.

His most recent publications are The Wiley Handbook of Vocational Education and Training, edited with Lorna Unwin (2019), Guile, D. (2019) The concept of “recontextualization”: implications for professional, vocational & workplace learning, Learning, Culture and Social Interactionhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lcsi.2019.100343, and Guile, D. & Wilde, R. (2018) Articulating value for clients: An ‘immaterial’ practice-based perspective on working and learning in a global engineering consultancy firm. Journal of Education and Work 31 (5&6): 519-532.

Centre Manager



Centre Researchers

Dr Inês Direto

Inês joined us this year as a Research Associate for the Centre. She has a Psychology background and has been working in STEM for the past 10 years. Her main research interests are gender and diversity, self-confidence, development of professional and transversal skills and cross-cultural studies.

Professor Shannon Chance

Funded through a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship from the European Commission, Shannon Chance joined UCL for two years from January 2018 to undertake the project “Designing Engineers: Harnessing the Power of Design Projects to Spur Cognitive and Epistemological Development of STEM Students”. During the fellowship, Prof Chance will collect data in four European countries—evaluating the role of design projects in the learning, epistemological development, and retention of students—with a focus on women’s experiences.

Working in collaboration with researchers from UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education, Prof Chanc's work generated a new understanding of how students develop knowledge-production skills. She is investigating overlaps between epistemic cognition and design thinking. From the research on epistemic cognition, she is exploring how engineering and architecture students conceptualize knowledge, and how they think new knowledge is made and verified in the process of design. An overarching objective is to develop and promote better ways to teach and support STEM students.

Prof Chance brings valuable experience to this interdisciplinary study. She is a licensed architect and with 18 years of experience teaching architecture, education, humanities, and engineering at third level in the US, Ireland, and Switzerland. Alongside teaching, she earned a PhD in higher education in 2010 and developed a focus on engineering education research through a 2012-13 Fulbright Fellowship at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) in Ireland. From 2014-16, she developed new skills in phenomenological research as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie at DIT. While working at UCL, Prof Chance will take a career break from her current post as Lecturer in the School of Multidisciplinary Technologies at DIT, and will build upon promising findings from her 2014-16 fellowship.

Centre Associates

Dr Elpida Makrygianni

Dr Elpida Makrygianni MBE, is the Engineering Education Developer and Coordinator at University College London. She is responsible for conceiving, delivering and implementing UCL Engineering’s 50.50 Engineering Engagement Strategy, creating a step change in the representation of girls as well as black and ethnic minority pupils on Pre-19 STEM Engagement programmes. The strategy has enabled participation of children and young people who would otherwise be excluded from STEM due to invisible social structures. Elpida works in partnership with government, industry as well as organisations to promote effective design and delivery of STEM education and engagement programmes for young people. Her work focuses on considering the diversity of young people and enabling participation of pupils from a broad range of abilities, backgrounds and levels of understanding to ensure inclusion, equality and real choice in STEM careers and degrees.


Elpida received her PhD in engineering and computer science before working as an academic, research fellow and consultant for the private, public and voluntary sectors. She has led and contributed to educational projects at the European Commission, UNESCO, the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation, Google, IBM, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, National Lottery, the UK Department for Education and many more.


In 2019, she was appointed as an honourary member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE). This honour was awarded by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of Elpida’s services to education.

Dr Abel Nyamapfene

Abel Nyamapfeneis a Senior Teaching Fellow in the UCL Faculty of Engineering Science.

He is leading on the introduction of an integrated engineering mathematics curriculum across the Faculty, as well as the transformation of UCL undergraduate engineering education to research-led learning through the introduction of Minor Programmes that draw on the research expertise within the Faculty.

He also holds a Connected Curriculum Fellowship with the UCL Centre for Academic Learning and Teaching where he is serving on an institution-wide team with responsibilities for transforming the UCL undergraduate curriculum to a research-led curriculum.

His research interests encompass teaching, learning and assessment, as well as studies in higher education, notably academic leadership and institutional change.

Professor Emanuela Tilley

Emanuela Tilley is Director of UCL’s Integrated Engineering Programme.

Her most recent employment is somewhat uncommon to those within the HE academic community. Holding degrees in mechanical and civil structural engineering, she worked as a professional project engineer, alongside developers and architects, within multidisciplinary engineering teams.

Emanuela was centrally involved in the engineering design and testing of the most sublime and world-famous tall towers / structures around the world.

Her personal interest in engineering education extents from the positive interdisciplinary and experiential learning opportunities she experienced as a student, researcher and professional.

She is also an active member within the symposium of research on engineering education occurring locally within UCL, as well as nationally and internationally. In 2019 she was awarded a Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

Dr Kate Roach

Kate brings a people-centred approach to engineering education, both in practice and research.  She coordinates a faculty-wide problem-based learning module that challenges students to work collaboratively in teams on globally significant problems.  Having originally studied life sciences, Kate shifted to the social sciences in post-graduate research, and studied the impacts of scientific thought on culture.  Her real interest now, is in creating and supporting authentic learning opportunities for undergraduates that enable them to develop competences and abilities that compliment and extend their technical knowledge.   Her research interests now centre around how students learn in authentic environments and on what they learn that is different to the techno-scientific content which is the focus of their undergraduate programmes.


Dr Pilar Garcia-Souto

Dr Pilar Garcia-Souto graduated with a BSc in Physics, majoring in Electronics from the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), Spain, followed by 2-years MSc in Information Technologies. She obtained a PhD in Biomedical Engineering (Queen Mary, University of London, UK, 2012). She became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2013. Since 2007, she combined research and teaching activities. She is now a Senior Teaching Fellow in the UCL Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering Department. Her research interests, matching her multi-disciplinary profile, include infrared technology, human thermoregulation and thermal comfort, image processing, product design and mechanical characterization of materials. In addition, Pilar is highly engaged with improving teaching quality across the board, and the learning experience of students. She is doing some educational research in an improved method of peer assessment (360PA), and also leading the IPAC Consortium with staff across UCL seeking to improve the students’ satisfaction and fairness of student assessment within group work activities.

Professor Louise Archer

Professor Louise Archer, Karl Mannheim Professor of the Sociology of Education, has just joined the CEE Advisory Group. Louise has a strong interest in in/equality in STEM participation. She is the Principal Investigator for the ASPIRES/ ASPIRES2 project (a ten year ESRC-funded study of children’s science aspirations and career choices), the Director of the five year Enterprising Science project and is currently working with Professor Mark Miodownik and other colleagues on an ‘equity maker spaces’ project proposal.

Dr Jennifer Griffiths

Jenny Griffiths is a Principal Teaching Fellow in the UCL Arena Centre for Research-based Education, leading institution-wide Assessment and Feedback initiatives. She has a PhD in Medical Radiation Physics and previously worked in research and teaching posts in the UCL Department of Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering. In recent years, she has worked in the UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences as Director of Postgraduate Taught Transformation, specialising in the development of Masters-level engineering education.

Her education research interests are in postgraduate student experience and education, and implementation of authentic assessment within a research-intensive academic setting.

She is a Senior Fellow of the HEA and has a passion for communication and outreach, having presented Biomedical Engineering to audiences ranging from primary school children through to the University of the Third Age.

Professor Andrew Brown

Andrew Brown is Professor of Education and Society and Pro-Director (Academic Development) of the UCL Institute of Education.

He is a sociologist interested in research capability and capacity building, doctoral education, social research methods and qualitative data analysis.

He has been Visiting Professor at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and the Hong Kong Institute of Education, and served as a Director of the Singapore Workforce Development Agency.

He has conducted research on professional doctorates in engineering and is interested in higher professional development, knowledge production and mobilization, the relationship between academic discourse and professional practice and the career trajectories of engineers.

Dr Jay Derrick

Dr Jay Derrick worked for 30 years in Adult and Further Education as a teacher, manager and researcher before joining the Institute of Education (IOE) in 2007 as a teacher educator.  He led the IOE Post-Compulsory PGCE programme for 5 years until 2017.  He now teaches on the MA in Professional Education and Training, the MSc in Engineering and Education, on the ReConnect HE Preparation Programme for Refugees, and for the IOE Doctoral School.  He completed his Ed D in January 2019, on Learning and Innovation through workplace practice.  Follow him via his blog or on Twitter @JayDerrickIOE

Professor Alison Fuller

Alison Fuller is Pro-Director (Research and Development) at University College London Institute of Education and Professor of Vocational Education and Work.

She has been researching, and publishing in the field of, education – work transitions, apprenticeship, vocational education and training (VET), and widening participation in higher education for 25 years.

Her recent publications include Contemporary Apprenticeships: International Perspectives on an Evolving Model of Learning (edited with Lorna Unwin) – the book brings together the latest research on apprenticeship in diverse sectors  in countries across Europe and internationally, and Creating and Supporting Expansive Apprenticeships: A Guide for Employers, Training Providers and Colleges of Further Educationpublished by the National Apprenticeship Service.

Alison has been appointed Independent Adviser to the Education and Training Foundation’s VET expert panel, is a member of the All Parliamentary Skills Commission and was recently consulted by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills about the selection of the new employer-led National Colleges including in advanced manufacturing, digital, and wind energy.

Professor Ann Hodgson

Ann Hodgson has worked as a teacher, lecturer, LEA adviser, editor and civil servant, joining the Institute of Education, University of London in 1993, where she is now a Professor of Education, Co-Director of the Learning for London@IOE Research Centre and Co-director of the Centre for Post-14 Research and Innovation.

She currently directs a number of international, national, local and London-related projects that focus on the relationship between young people, the post-compulsory education system and employment. 

Ann has published widely in a variety of forms on topics related to post-14 policy, vocational education and training, lifelong learning and curriculum and qualifications reform.

She has just finished editing The Coming of Age for FE? Reflections on the past and future role of further education colleges in the UK, which will be published in May 2015.

Professor Ken Spours

Ken Spours is a Director of the Centre for Post-14 Research and Innovation at the Institute of Education.

He specializes in post-14 curriculum and qualifications, organization and governance and also undertakes research on education and training developments across the four countries of the UK.

Ken was a member of the Tomlinson Working Group on 14-19 Reform and a director of the Nuffield Review of 14-19 Education and Training in England and Wales that have helped to shape the English upper secondary system.

He has a longstanding interest in vocational education and how this links to new developments in the economy.

He is also a visiting professor at Mzumbe University, Tanzania.

Dr Rachel Wilde

Rachel Wilde is a social anthropologist and is interested in how engineers work and how they understand the world and approach global problems.

Her research with David Guile explores how engineers, as professionals, do their work; what their working practices look like, what tools and technologies they use and how they developed and continue to develop their expertise and knowledge.

Professor Debbie Chachra

The Centre is delighted to have hosted Professor Debbie Chachra from Olin College of Engineering, USA, during her sabbatical in the UK in 2017. As well as having an extensive track record of working with engineering educators globally to help them develop their ability to design and deliver student-centred learning experiences, her background aligns perfectly with a number of key areas of development within the faculty. This includes her research on the engineering student experience, specifically on self-efficacy in project-based courses, the role of gender, and why students stay in or leave engineering.

This level of experience with problem- and project-based learning rooted in rigorous pedagogical research is rare within the UK research base of engineering academics. Professor Chachra is one of the early faculty of Olin College of Engineering, which provides the ideal partner for this type of collaboration. A new engineering school, it was founded with the specific mission to both teach students differently and to foster wider change in engineering education. To this end, Olin faculty work with institutions worldwide to help them develop new, student-centred engineering courses and curricula, with the understanding that this is an organizational change process, which requires sustained energy and effort.

Dr Folashade Akinmolayan

Dr Folashade Akinmolayan graduated with a MEng and PhD in Chemical Engineering from UCL. For four years, she worked as a Teaching Fellow heavily involved in the development and implementation of the Integrated Engineering Programme at departmental level. During this time, she led innovations in online assessment, student learning and support, teaching assistant enabled team teaching, and implemented research-based pedagogies which worked towards case studies in her recognition as a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2018. 

She is avid about enhancing the student learning experience, spanning from pre-university to postgraduate, and this has been acknowledged through a number of nominations (four categories in the 2018 UCLU Student choice awards) and awards (Provost’s Engineering Engagement award 2015; Provost’s Excellence award 2018).

She currently a lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London and a steering group member of the UK & Ireland Engineering Education Research Network. Her research interests include the Student experience of teamwork as an indicator for employability skills; Engagement and retention of students within Engineering through active learning techniques; Cultural and social impacts on the approaches to learning; Diversity and inclusion within Engineering.

Professor David Lowe

David Lowe is currently Professor of Software Engineering, and from 2012 to 2019 was the Deputy Dean (Education), in the Faculty of Engineering at The University of Sydney. David has a passion for engineering education, particularly in the areas of laboratory-based learning and student engagement with professional practice. He has authored over 200 refereed research papers and 3 textbooks.

David has been widely involved in (and chaired) accreditation and review panels across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Mauritius. He is a Principal Fellow of the HEA and recipient of the 2019 Australian Council of Engineering Deans National Award for Engineering Education Excellence. He is also the Chair of the Board for Grok Academy, a not-for-profit company focused on supporting computing education within Australian schools, and is the independent Chair of the Academic Boards for several private education providers.


Dr Chika Nweke

Dr Chika Nweke obtained her undergraduate and PhD degrees from the department Biochemical Engineering, UCL, has since worked as a Lecturer (Teaching) in the department and oversees the IEP’s Design & Professional Skills module for the faculty. She is currently doing an MSc in Engineering and Education, which is a collaborative degree between the faculty of Engineering Science and UCL Institute of Education. She has published and presented at conferences in Engineering Education, with particular focus on the development of professional skills for engineering students. Her other research areas include chromatography and downstream processing in bioprocess engineering. She has recently been appointed as Deputy Director - Equality, Diversity & Inclusion and continually seeks to improve student and staff experiences in her department, as well as in the faculty. In 2019 she was awarded Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and is an active HEA mentor and assessor. 


Dr Sophia Economides

Sophia Economides is a Lecturer (Teaching) at the UCL Faculty of Engineering Science. She is currently working on an international collaboration project, helping develop and deliver a new engineering education programme. Her main research interests are inclusion, widening participation and gender disparity in engineering education, education policy, curriculum design and assessment. Sophia is a Senior Fellow of the HEA.