UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy

Dr Carla Washbourne

Dr Carla Washbourne



Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL
28th Oct 2013

Research summary

Carla's research interests are broadly summarised around the use of science and engineering knowledge in urban areas. 

Her current research seeks to understand how knowledge generated in the physical sciences and engineering is, and could be better, applied in decision-making around urban green space. An on-going project with the Gauteng City-Region Observatory, South Africa, investigates the way in which the concept of green infrastructure is being applied in the design, development and management of urban green spaces. 

Carla is working with stakeholders across a variety of technical and decision-making contexts to understand how different approaches in engagement with and communication of knowledge can optimise its appropriate input. Carla has an interest in science advice as a practice, particularly in the legislative context developed through work within the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) and the (UK) Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST).

Teaching summary

Carla completed her Professional Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher and Professional Education in 2015 (UCL) and has a passion for developing high-quality, engaging educational experiences. As well as contributing to the general development of STEaPP’s education programme, and occasional professional teaching roles, specific responsibilities include:

Module lead: STEPGP13 Science Communication for Policy

Module co-lead: STEPGP04 Integrated Analysis of Socio-Technical Systems (2014, 2015)

Cohort co-lead: How to Change the World (2014, 2015, 2016) 


University College London
PGCert, Teaching and Learning in Higher Education | 2015
Newcastle University
PhD, Geoscience | 2014
Newcastle University
MSc, Engineering Geology | 2009
University of Durham
BSc Hons, Natural Sciences | 2006


Carla completed and MSc in Engineering Geology and PhD in Geosciences (Newcastle University), investigating the potential for engineering soils to act as carbon sinks, promoting carbon capture and storage. This work, and involvement as a researcher on two EPSRC Impact Award grants designed to engage stakeholder groups, developed her interest in environmental policy and its application to the earth sciences.

She has worked in the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology as a Physical Sciences, IT and Communications Adviser and undertaken policy internships within the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) (January - March 2013) and environmental regeneration charity Groundwork North East (July - August 2010) where she investigated the potential for temporary use of vacant urban land, engaging with stakeholders in industry, local government and the third sector. 

Carla is driven by a desire to encourage engagement between researchers and a range of interest groups, and is very interested in public perceptions of science. She has worked on a broad range of science communication projects, including hosting and delivering public lectures, acting as the founding co-editor of Newcastle University’s student-led science magazine {react} and developing a particular passion for research-based stand-up comedy, performing throughout the UK and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013 and 2014.