Prof Mark Miodownik
Professor of Materials & Society
Dept of Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Science
- Joined UCL
- 1st Feb 2012
Prof Miodownik has an international reputation as a materials scientist and engineer. His research areas include Animate Matter, Plastic Waste Innovation, and Sustainable Manufacturing. The work is being carried out in collaboration with industry, hospitals and charities, funded through research grants from the EPSRC, NERC, UKRI, UKAid and others. He has published three books and more than a hundred and fifty research publications in a wide selection of journals eg. PNAS, Nature Physics, Proc. Roy. Soc, ect..
For more than twenty years he has championed materials research that links the arts and humanities to materials science. This culminated in the establishment of the UCL Institute of Making where he is Director and runs the research programme (www.instituteofmaking.org.uk). The institute is a multidisciplinary research club for those interested in the made world: from makers of molecules to makers of buildings, synthetic skin to spacecraft, soup to clothes, furniture to cities. Crucially it brings together researchers across the spectrum of disciplines from the humanities, to architecture and design, to medicine and engineering. The institute includes our world renowned Materials Library, as well as a MakeSpace with enough technology to allow almost any engineering prototype to be built. One of our recent projects was to investigate the taste of materials through the production and testing of a set of spoons of different materials. The research team included an artist, a designer, a psychologist, a physicist, a jeweller, and a materials scientist. The impact of this work was wide ranging from research papers in international journals, to consultancy for large food manufacturers, to the collaboration with a Michelin Star restaurant to create a menu for the spoons, to medical research on taste and aging, to public events, amd huge media interest. The project embodies the spirit of the Institute of Making, that a multidisciplinarity approach to engineering can yield unexpected innovation that publicly celebrates engineering.
He is passionate about teaching both within the university and in public forums, for instance his edX Introduction to Steel course has had more than 20,000 participants from 139 countries and a completion rate of 28%. In 2004 Prof Miodownik was awarded a HEFCE Teaching Excellence Award voted for by engineering students. In 2006, he was shortlisted for the Royal Academy of Engineering Innovation in Engineering Education Prize. In 2006 he was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in Engineering by the UK’s Higher Education Academy. He has given more than a hundred invited seminars in other educational institutions, both in the UK (eg. Oxford University, Royal College of Art) and internationally (eg. Lisboa Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia, Prague Design Museum). He has published several invited articles on his approach to teaching in journals such as Nature Materials and Materials Today.