Raffaella Ocone

Raffaella Ocone, FREng, FRSE, CEng, CSci, FIChemE, FRSC, FRSA holds the Chair of Chemical Engineering in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University (HWU) since 1999 when she became the first female professor of Chemical Engineering in Scotland and the second one in the UK. She started her academic career at the Università di Napoli, Federico II in Italy, then moved to the University of Nottingham where she was appointed as Reader. She has been visiting Professor at Louisiana State University in the USA and the Université Claude Bérnard in France. 


 In 2006 Raffaella was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) and awarded the title of Cavaliere (Knighthood) of the order of Merit of the Italian Republic. In 2013 she was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng). 

Her research has been recognised by the prestigious awards of the Royal Academy of Engineering/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship in 2006 and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh/Scottish Government Support Fellowship in 2010. In 2014 she spent six months at Petroineos Refinery in Grangemouth (Scotland) on a Royal Academy industrial secondment working on the storage and accidental dispersion of sour water. 

With a first degree in Chemical Engineering from her native Italy and MA and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University, Raffaella is an internationally known researcher in the field of modelling of complex reactive systems. Her work has application in areas ranging from the hydrodynamics of granular materials to the physics of chemical looping combustion to downstream petrochemical processes including thermal and catalytic crackers and hydrodesulphurisation plants. She has taken a leading role in debate on the ethics of engineering and chaired the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Teaching Ethics group. 

She has published a book on "Special Topics in Transport Phenomena" for Elsevier in 2002 and authored about 200 scientific publications.



  • Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
    Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, April 1992
  • Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
    M.A., Chemical Engineering, June 1989
  • Ateneo Federiciano, Università di Napoli Federico II, Naples, Italy
    Laurea, Chemical Engineering, summa cum laude, June 1987


  • Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, 2013
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, 2009
  • Cavaliere of the Order of Merit, Italian Republic, 2007
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 2006

Professional Affiliation

  • Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, FIChemE
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, FRSC
  • Fellow of the Royal Avcademy of Arts, FRSA
  • Chartered Engineer, CEng
  • Chartered Scientist, CSci


  • Royal Academy of Engineering, Industrial Placement at Petroineos, 2014
  • Royal Society of Edinburgh/ Scottish Government Support Research Fellowship 2010-2011
  • Royal Academy of Engineering, Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship 2006
  • Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge, UK
    December 2003: Four weeks residence to participate to the programme "Granular and Particle-Laden Flows"
  • Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), University of Minnesota, US
    January, 1996:Four week residence sponsored by IMA;
    Invited plenary talk at the Workshop: "Particulate Flows: Processing and Rheology"


  • Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK
    Professor of Chemical Engineering, January 1999- present
  • Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK
    Academic Head, Chemical Engineering, August 2002-May 2007
  • University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
    Reader in Chemical Engineering, September 1995-December 1998
  • Ateneo Federiciano, Università di Napoli Federico II, Naples, Italy
    Tenured Research Assistant, October 1990-October 1993
    Assistant in Instruction: "Transport Phenomena", Spring 1992; "Momentum, Mass and Heat Transfer", Spring 1993
  • Tenured Research Associate (Professional Duties: Independent Research, Supervision of Senior Undergraduate Research, Supervision of Graduate Student Research, Teaching Courses in cooperation with senior academics), October 1993-August 1995
  • Assistant in Instruction: "Momentum, Mass and Heat Transfer", Spring 1994
  • LAGEP, Université Claude Bernard, Lyon 1, Lyon, France
    Visiting Professor, January 1995-April 1995
  • Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA
    Visiting Professor, Autumn 1992 and Autumn 1993. Courses taught:
    "Momentum Transfer", (undergraduate) Autumn 1992
    "Mathematical Methods in Chemical Engineering", (graduate) Autumn 1993
  • Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
    Assistant in Instruction, Undergraduate course: "Thermodynamics II", Autumn 1991.
    Assistant in Instruction, Graduate course: "Topics in Transport Phenomena", Spring 1989

Professional Activities

  • Editor for the Special Issue of Chemical Engineering Science, Festschrift for G. Astarita's 60th birthday, 49, 573-802, 1994
  • Italian representative at the IEA Fossil Fuel Multiphase Agreement, Albuquerque, August 1994
  • British representative (IChemE) of the "Working Party on Industrial Rheology", European Federation of Chemical Engineering, 1995-present
  • Committee member of the IChemE Particle Technology Subject Group, 1999-present
  • Member of the "EPSRC Peers College", 1999-present
  • Honorary Treasurer of the IChemE Particle Technology Subject Group, 2000-2002
  • Member of the "The International Society for the Interaction of Mechanics and Mathematics (ISIMM)", 2002-present
  • Elected Member of the Executive Committee of the Standing Conference of Professors of Chemical Engineering, 2002-present
  • Member of the IChemE Accreditation Committee, 2002-present
  • External Examiner, National Diploma in Science in Chemical Technology, Cork Institute of Technology, Ireland, 2002-2005
  • External Examiner, BEng in Chemical Engineering, Cork Institute of Technology, Ireland, 2002-2005
  • External Examiner, MSc Programmes in Chemical Engineering and Integrated Design of Chemical Plants, University of Leeds, 2005-2009
  • External Examiner, BEng Chemical Engineering, University of Sheffield, 2006-2010
  • External Examiner, BEng Chemical Engineering, University of The West Indies, 2006-2012
  • External Examiner, BEng Chemical Engineering, Queens' University Belfast, 2007-2010
  • External Examiner, BEng Chemical Engineering, Teesside University, 2009-2013
  • External Examiner, BEng and MEng Chemical Engineering, University of Surrey, 2010-present
  • External Examiner, MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering and MSc in Chemical
  • Engineering with Design, The University of Manchester, 2013 -present
  • External Examiner, BEng Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London, 2014 -present
  • Accreditation Assessor, Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, October 2004
  • Accreditation Assessor, Biochemical Engineering, University College London, June 2006
  • Accreditation Assessor, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Industries Chimiques, Nancy, France, November 2007
  • Accreditation Assessor, Chemical Engineering, Universidad de Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain, May 2009
  • Accreditation Leading Assessor, Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, March
  • 2010
  • Accreditation Leading Assessor, Biochemical Engineering, University College London, December 2010
  • Accreditation Assessor, University of Western Scotland, April 2011
  • Accreditation Leading Assessor, The University of Trinidad and Tobago, July 2012
  • Accreditation Assessor, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, November 2012
  • Accreditation Leading Assessor, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Industries Chimiques, Nancy, France, February 2013
  • Accreditation Leading Assessor, FINHEEC's Engineering Programme Review, Degree Programme in Logistics Engineering, JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Jyväskylä, Finland, January 2014
  • Member of the Royal Academy of Engineering working group on "The teaching of Engineering Ethics", 2004-2010
  • Member of the Engineering Professor Council (EPC) Committee, 2004-2010
  • Member of the RAE 2008 Chemical Engineering Panel UK Representative of International Advisory Board of the Circulating Fluidised Bed Conferences (CFB) Series
  • Member of the EPC Sectoral Group, 2006-2010
  • Chair of the Standing Conference of Heads and Professors of Chemical Engineering, 2006-2010
  • Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering working group on "The Teaching of Engineering Ethics", 2006-2010
  • Member of "Marie Curie" Evaluation Panel, 2006
  • Invited Member of the Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network (KNT) Academic Stakeholder Forum (ASF), 2006-present
  • Member of the REF 2014 Sub-panel 12: Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Panel Member of Athena Swan, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Panel Chair of Athena Swan, 2013
  • International Editorial Advisory Committee, "West Indian Journal of Engineering", 2011-present
  • IChemE Publications Medals Sub-Committee, 2012-present
  • Royal Society of Edinburgh Lessells Committee, 2012-2013
  • Royal Society of Edinburgh Lessells, Chair, 2013-present
  • Royal Academy of Engineering Award Committee, 2013-present
  • Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious Committee, 2013-present
  • Royal Academy of Engineering, Membership Committee 3, 2014-present
  • Royal Academy of Engineering Scottish Proactive Network, 2014-present

Invited Lectures

  • "From Molecular Dynamics to Combustion Chemistry" Meeting, Institute for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy, December 1991: "Modelling of Complex Reaction Systems" (with G. Astarita)
  • ISCRE 12, Turin, Italy, July 1992: "Chemical Reaction Engineering of Complex Mixtures" (with G. Astarita)
  • "Fluid Mechanics and Rheology in the Petroleum Industry" Meeting, Merida, Mexico, January 1999
  • Invited by the Italian Government to talk at a meeting of Italian women who have achieved recognition abroad, Rome, February 2006
  • Italian Cultural Institute, Edinburgh, "Let us get SET - How Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) influence our life", November 2007
  • The Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications (IMA), Isaac Newton Institute, Cambridge, "The Intermediate Granular Flow Regime", January 2009
  • WES Conference, "Ethics and the Engineers", Edinburgh, November 2009
  • Engineers Ireland, "Teaching Engineering Ethics", Dublin, December 2009
  • UK-China Particle Technology Forum III, Keynote "Transport Phenomena in Packed Beds", Birmingham, July, 2011
  • CCS –Development of Improved Technologies for Chemical Looping and Carbonate Looping, "Process Intensification for Carbon Capture –Chemical Looping Technology", Poland, November 2011
  • RSA, Media, Creative Industries, Culture & Heritage (MCICH) Network and the Italian Cultural Institute "The Media and Science and Engineering", February 2012
  • SAIChE 2012, Plenary "Ethics and the Engineer", KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, September 2012
  • Chemeca 2012, Keynote "Teaching Ethics to Engineers", Wellington, New Zealand, September 2012
  • UK High Commission in NZ, "Engineering and the Media", Wellington, New Zealand, September 2012
  • EUR-ACE, the European Quality Label for Engineering Degree Programmes: Impact and Perspectives", "Ethical Reasoning in the Engineering Curriculum", Leuven, Belgium, September 2013
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering- Chinese Academy of Engieering Joint Symposium on Innovation in Low Capture Technologies, "New Directions in Carbon Capture Technologies", November 2013
  • The Insitute of Enginering and Technology (IET), "Biochar Sustainability", Edinburgh, January 2014
  • International Fine Particles Research Institute (IFPRI), "The Intermediate Flow Regime of Dry and Slightly Wet Particles", Robert Pfeffer Symposium, Edinburgh, June 2014
  • Biomass Gasification Workshop, European Bioenergy Reseach Institute (EBRI), Birmingham, September 2014


Over 200 publications in international journals and international confesrences, 1 book.



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