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Profile of Catherine De Wolf

Catherine is a Research Assistant in the Centre for Sustainable Development

How did you get into Engineering?


At school, I was always very good at mathematics but outside school, I was drawn to creative activities such as piano, theatre, and art. Moreover, I cared a lot about issues related to climate change. I decided to combine what I was good at, what I was passionate about and what I cared about into an Architectural Engineering degree.

What are you doing now and what are your plans for the future?

I’m a Research Assistant at the University of Cambridge working with UK industry leaders on implementing whole life embodied carbon in buildings. After this, I’m returning to my PhD in Building Technology at MIT. I want to continue the strong link between industry and academia throughout my research, design and teaching activities in the future. I also hope to influence policy and rating scheme makers in order to lower the environmental impact of the built environment.

What motivates/interests you?

I’m convinced engineers and architects have a crucial impact on everyone’s life. The building sector is responsible for 40% of global energy consumption and 30% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. I’m hoping my research can contribute to lowering the negative impact of the building sector on the environment

What has helped your career?

Amazing supervisors, mentors, professors, colleagues, family and friends have surrounded me along the way. As a Belgian citizen, fellowships have allowed me to discover other perspectives by working in the United States and in the United Kingdom, as well as through conferences globally.