Dr Claire Barlow

MA (Cantab), PhD (Cantab), FIOM3

Fellow Emerita, Director of Studies, Postgraduate Mentor

Picture of Claire Barlow

College Roles

  • Fellow Emerita
  • Director of Studies in Engineering & Engineering Manufacturing
  • Postgraduate Mentor
  • Deputy Praelector


Email: cyb1@cam.ac.uk

Picture of Claire Barlow


Dr Claire Barlow is a sustainability and materials engineer, with a particular interest in the end-of-life of products, their re-use and recycling. 

Dr Claire Barlow studied for both her undergraduate degree and her PhD at Cambridge University, at the Department of Materials Science and Girton College. She joined the faculty in the Engineering Department, serving successively as Course Director for the Manufacturing Engineering Tripos, Director of Undergraduate Education, Deputy Head of Engineering Department with special responsibility for teaching, and also as Interim Head of Department.

She is currently President of the Cambridge Philosophical Society (Cambridge’s oldest scientific society).

She has been a Senior Member at Newnham College since 1980.

Research Interests

Dr Claire Barlow works on materials engineering and is particularly interested in how we can reduce the environmental impact of the way we use materials, looking at their whole lifecycle.

For example, the choice of material for food packaging influences the storage life of the food, but in general the better packaging is at preserving food, the higher its environmental impact. The problems are complex and inter-related, and optimal solutions may not be obvious.

Dr Claire Barlow has published on topics including the end-of-life of wind turbines, on waste management in Pakistan, the UK and Brazil and on plastic for food packaging. She has also published on the making of Stradivarius violins.