Professor Raffaella Ocone holding a small-scale model of a conical hop.

I am an Engineer who works in academia. I was the first female Professor of Chemical Engineering in Scotland; the second in the UK.

My research deals with the design and operation of industrial processes, such as oil refining.

Professor Raffaella Ocone

I work with research students to find solutions to optimise these processes and to develop new technologies, such as how to utilise plastic waste in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. I’m currently working on modelling pyroclastic flow to gain information into the management of people safety and environmental protection following a volcano eruption.

I love what I do. I’ve always been interested in understanding how things work. I enjoy finding practical solutions that can change the way we live, such as clean water and clean energy. My work allows me the opportunity to travel and meet people from different backgrounds and cultures and I really hope I can inspire our younger generation – especially young women – to study engineering.

As a child growing up in the south of Italy, I greatly enjoyed chemistry, maths and physics at school. I was interested in seeing them ‘in action’ and using them in a creative way. My dad was not trained as an engineer, but he represented the quintessential engineer to me, always finding a solution to fix or re-invent things around the house, including our toys (latterly he substituted toys with my beloved shoes!) I soon understood, through his skills, that as an engineer I could make a difference to people’s lives and make them happy!

Raffaella is holding a small-scale model of a conical hopper, which is used to analyse the flowability of powders.