UCL Department of Chemical Engineering


Michaela Pollock

Associate Professor (Teaching)

Michaela Pollock


Michaela Pollock joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at UCL in 2015 and was appointed Associate Professor (Teaching) in 2021. Her teaching is focused on design and safety topics. She is a member of the IChemE Education Special Interest Group (EdSIG) and Deputy Chair since 2019. Prior to joining the department Michaela worked in industry at Air Products where she held various roles in Engineering and R&D. Michaela became a Chartered Chemical Engineer in 2013. She received her Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering) from Imperial College London where her research focused on establishing systematic approaches to developing thermodynamic models for associating fluids using an advanced molecular-based equation of state.

Teaching Summary 

After spending a number of years in industry I returned to academia with the aim to impart my learning of engineering projects to the teaching of chemical engineering, an applied and varied subject. I am module coordinator of the third-year capstone design project (CENG0016 Process Plant Design Project) where I facilitate students in applying knowledge gained elsewhere in their degree programme to complete a challenging, open-ended, industrially relevant project to design a chemical plant. I am also passionate about teaching safety. The importance and challenges of teaching this key subject are widely recognised amongst educators and industry. I address this in the capstone design project and introductory safety lectures by breaking down challenging problems, helping students realise what information is known, how they can approach identifying hazards, risks and mitigation actions and use various resources describing learnings from past incidents to bring an industrial perspective to the lecture theatre.

Research Summary

My teaching-related research is focused on two key aspects of chemical engineering: safety and sustainability. I considered how safety teaching is integrated throughout the chemical engineering degree programme at UCL and examined students’ perceptions in terms of understanding and preparedness for capstone design projects and industrial roles. I also examined how sustainability is embedded in the capstone design project, not only in terms of technical content but also in terms of delivery and assessment, again considering student perceptions and acting upon student feedback to refine the module. Furthermore, I took part in an international collaboration to examine student motivation to stay or leave engineering industry careers upon graduation. The study focused on UCL Faculty of Engineering students completing the interdisciplinary capstone design project ‘How to Change the World’. Study outcomes have reinforced to me the importance of the format and structure of teaching in the chemical engineering capstone design project.



Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London


MEng. Chemical Engineering with Study Abroad, Imperial College London

Professional Affiliations  

  • MIChemE – member of IChemE
  • FHEA – member of HEA
  • CEng – chartered engineer


  • Nayak-Luke, R., Odunsi, A., Badmos, S. & Pollock, M. (2022). Teaching, assessing and operational sustainability in UCL’s chemical engineering capstone design project. In Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium for Engineering Education, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, https://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/82053/
  • Pollock, M. & Sorensen, E. (2021). Reflections on inherently embedding safety teaching within a chemical engineering programme. Education for Chemical Engineers, 37, 11-21. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ece.2021.07.001
  • Striolo, C., Pollock, M., & Godwin, A. (2020). Staying or leaving: contributing factors for U.K. engineering students’ decisions to pursue careers in engineering industry. European Journal of Engineering Education, 46(3), 364-388. doi:10.1080/03043797.2020.1711707
  • Kerin, T. C., & Pollock, M. (2019). Application of Case Study Material in Undergraduate Learning. Chemical Engineering Transactions, 77, 385-390. doi:10.3303/CET1977065

See more publications.