Mechanical Engineering

Prof Mark Miodownik

Prof Mark Miodownik

Professor of Materials & Society

Dept of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL
1st Feb 2012

Research summary

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.

Teaching summary

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.


Professor Mark Miodownik is the UCL Professor of Materials & Society.  He received his Ph.D in turbine jet engine alloys from Oxford University in 1996, and has worked as a materials engineer in the USA, Ireland and the UK. For more than fifteen years he has championed materials research that links the arts and humanities to medicine, engineering and 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). Mark is a theme leader in the UCL Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering where he leads on self-assembly and self-repairing materials research within UCL and internationally.  As a broadcaster and writer he is internationally known for championing engineering and materials science: his TV programmes such as How It Works have reached millions of viewers globally; he is the author of Stuff Matters, a New York Times Best Selling book, which won the Royal Society Winton Prize in 2014 and the US National Academies Communication Award in 2015. In 2014 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. In 2015 he was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science Prize for Public Engagement with Science. In 2017 he was awarded the Faraday Medal by the Royal Society. He is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.  In 2018 he was awarded an MBE for services to materials science, engineering and broadcasting.