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Dr Carla Washbourne
Shropshire House (4th Floor)
Capper Street
Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 9428
Dr Carla Washbourne profile picture
  • Associate Professor
  • STEaPP
  • Faculty of Engineering Science

Carla is an interdisciplinary researcher, practitioner and educator at the interface of physical and social sciences and public policy. Her work seeks to understand and improve decision-making and planning in urban settings, focussing on urban environment and sustainability issues.


Carla completed an MSc in Engineering Geology and PhD in Geosciences (Newcastle University), investigating the potential for engineering soils to act as carbon sinks, which spurred her initial interest in policy and its application to the earth and environmental sciences.


She has worked in the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology as a Physical Sciences, IT and Communications Adviser and is a Research Associate at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) in Johannesburg, South Africa and a member of the UCL Urban Innovation and Policy Laboratory.

Research Summary

Carla’s research is driven by a desire to investigate, understand and improve the way in which physical science and engineering knowledge is mobilised, alongside practitioner and public knowledge, for better decision-making. Current research areas and projects include: 


Environmental science and policy 

  • Ecosystems research at the science policy interface - Grassroots, collaborative research project with international colleagues from the Young Ecosystem Services Specialists (YESS) network. 
  • A Green Space City Lab for London – Facilitating a platform for engaged discussion between key stakeholders in urban green space in the city, in collaboration with London National Park City Foundation.
  • Knowledge use in green infrastructure decision-making - Long-term project to understand and improve the way in which different kinds of knowledge are used in decision-making around urban green infrastructure projects in South Africa and the UK


Urban knowledge systems 

  • Urban observatories in the global context - Multi-stream, collaborative project focussed on developing a deeper understanding of the role of ‘urban observatories’ in generating knowledge to inform decision-making, with University of Melbourne, UN-Habitat and the Gauteng City-Region Observatory 


Science advice 

  • Legislative and urban science advice - Working to understand current systems and to improve and innovate the ways in which science advice is currently provided internationally in legislative and urban settings.
  • Science communication for policy – Seeking to understanding the personal and professional knowledge and skills required for successful engagements in policy-making settings and consider possible futures for education in this area.

Teaching Summary

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


Director of Master's of Public Administration (MPA) Programmes (2018-2020)

Master's of Public Administration (MPA) Programmes Coordinator (2016-2017)


Module lead: PG Science Communication for Policy (2015-2018), UG Introduction to Science, Engineering and Public Policy (2016-18)


Module co-lead: PG Sustainable Infrastructure and Public Policy (2019-), PG Integrated Analysis of Socio-Technical Systems (now Evidence for Decision-Making) (2014-16)


Cohort co-lead: How to Change the World (2014-19) 

OCT-2020 Associate Professor in Environmental Science and Policy Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy UCL, United Kingdom
MAR-2016 Lecturer in Environmental Science and Policy Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy UCL, United Kingdom
OCT-2013 – MAR-2016 Provost Fellow and Lecturer (Temporary) Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy UCL, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2015   Postgraduate Certificate University College London
2014   Doctor of Philosophy Newcastle University
2009   Master of Science Newcastle University
2006   Bachelor of Science (Honours) University of Durham
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