Centre for Process Systems Engineering

Department of Chemical Engineering


Nina Thornhill


Professor of Process Automation

Imperial College London




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Topics:    Process Automation      Teaching      Publications      Personal      Contact details        New job openings

Links:      Imperial College London    Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology    Centre for Process Systems Engineering

               IChemE     IET Control and Automation     UKACC     CSTH Simulation web page     FRECOL page     25 years of CPM

New job openings

None at present

           More information

Research interests

*            Industrial data analysis using time series analysis and signal processing;

*            Plant-wide performance assessment;

*            Applications in oil and gas, chemicals, biosystems and electricity supply.

Personal details

Education and qualifications

*            BA in Physics (University of Oxford);

*            MSc Control Systems (Imperial College London);

*            Institution of Chemical Engineers Design Examination;

*            PhD (University College London).


Employment history

*            2007now    Imperial College London, ABB/Royal Academy of Engineering Chair of Process Automation in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

*            19842007   University College London, Lecturer (1984), Senior Lecturer (1991), Professor (2003) and Deputy Head of Department (2006) in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering.

*            1983 – 84       British Aerospace. Control Systems Engineer, Space and Communication Division.

*            1976 – 82       ICI Plastics Division. Research Physicist.

Professional activity


*            2007 – now     Member of the board of directors of the ABB Jürgen Dormann Foundation for Engineering Education;

*            2002 – now     Executive Committee member of Process Management and Control subject group of IChemE;

*            2005 – 2008     Executive Committee member of UK Automatic Control Council;

*            2002 – 2008     Executive Committee member of Control and Automation subject group of IET;

*            2002 – 2009    Member of EPSRC Peer Review College.


*            2007 – now     Associate editor of Control Engineering Practice;

*            2002 – now     Associate editor and member of the International Editorial Board of the Journal of Process Control;

*            1998 – now     Editorial board of the International Journal of Condition Monitoring and Diagnostic Engineering Management.

Conference programme committees

*            2008              Control 2008, Manchester, September 2-4 2008, IPC member;

*            2008              AdConIP 2008, Jasper, Alberta, May 4-7 2008, IPC member;

*            2006              Control 2006, Glasgow, August 30-Sept 1 2006, IPC member;

*            2006              IFAC ADCHEM 2006, Gramado, Brazil, April 2-5 2006, IPC member;

*            2004              IFAC DYCOPS-7, Cambridge MA, July 5-7, IPC member and Technical Area Chair;

*            1988              4th International Conference on Computer Applications in Fermentation Technology, Cambridge UK, National organizing committee and proceedings co-editor.

Workshops and seminars

*            2007              Should it Stay or Should it Go? Management and Monitoring of Process Assets (organizer with Process Management and Control Subject Group, IChemE)

*            2005              The IEE Seminar on Control Loop Assessment and Diagnosis, 16th June 2005 (organizer with IEE, and co-presenter);

*            2004              Control 2004 Bath, EPSRC-sponsored conference workshop Controller Performance Assessment and Benchmarking, (co-presenter);

*            2003              IFAC World Congress, Barcelona, Special session on New Directions in Control System Performance Monitoring (co-organiser);

*            2002              The IEE Seminar on Control Loop Performance Assessment, 26th November 2002 (organizer with IEE and co-presenter);

*            2002              AdConIP, Kumamoto, Japan, Conference workshop How well are your controllers performing: Good, Bad or Optimal? (co-presenter);

*            2002              IEEE CCA, Glasgow; Conference workshop Process Control Loop Benchmarking (co-organizer and co-presenter);

*            2001              ACC Washington DC 2001, Conference workshop How well is your controller performing: Good, Bad or Optimal? (organizer and co-presenter).

Departmental administrative activities in Department of E&E Engineering at UCL

*            2006 – 2007    Deputy Head of Department;

*            20012007    Responsible for IEE Accreditation and Internal Quality Audit for undergraduate programmes;

*            2001 – 2004    Head of Undergraduate Teaching (Director of Studies);

*            1991 – 1999    Responsible for allocation of teaching duties;

*            19861991    Departmental Undergraduate Tutor.

External examining

*            2005 – 2008    Control and Systems Engineering MSc, University of Manchester;

*            2007 – 2010    MSc in Process Automation, University of Newcastle.


Secondments and sabbaticals

*            2017-18           Academic visitor in the Polish Corporate Research Centre of ABB

*            2005              Academic visitor in the Norway Corporate Research Centre of ABB (six months, funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering Global Research Award and ABB);

*            2003              Royal Society Study Visit to Japan (three weeks) including one week’s work experience in the control engineering office at Mitsui Chemicals Omuta factory; (funded by Royal Society, Mitsui Chemicals and Yamatake Corporation);

*            2001              Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Alberta (eight and a half months, funded by Royal Academy of Engineering Foresight Award and University of Alberta);

*            1996              Academic visitor in Department of Automatic Control, Lund Institute of Technology (six weeks);

*            1992 – 5         Royal Society Industry Fellowship with BP (twenty four months, funded by Royal Society, EPSRC and BP).

Awards and honours

*            2009             Elected as Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, FREng;

*            20042007    Imperial College London: Honorary Professorial Research Fellow;

*            1999 – 2004    Imperial College London: Honorary Senior Lecturer;

*            2005              IFAC Journal of Process Control Best Paper Award category “methodology / theory” for the period 2002 to 2005, with co-authors B. Huang (U of Alberta) and H. Zhang (Matrikon Inc);

*            2002              UCL Faculty of Engineering Teaching Award;

*            2002              Annual ICI Prize for the best paper published in the Transactions of the Institute of Measurement and Control, with C.C. Tan (undergraduate student) and R. Belchamber (PAA Ltd);

*            1997              Winner of the Director's Award of the Computing and Systems Technology division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers at the Annual Meeting of the AIChE, November 1997, with C. Alheritiere, (PhD student and principal author), M.J. Knight (BP Oil) and S. Fraser (BP Oil).

Contact Details

            Nina F. Thornhill  FREng  PhD  CEng  FIChemE  FIEE  SenMem IEEE

            Professor of Process Automation

            Centre for Process Systems Engineering

            Department of Chemical Engineering

            Imperial College London

            South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ

            Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 6622 

            Email:  n.thornhill@imperial.ac.uk


Flat for sale

*            2018            Flat for sale (50 m2) in the Point West building in South Kensington, London SW7 More information


Last update: May 2018