PhD student receives IET award for exceptional thesis in control and automation


Woman wearing glasses

Dr Marta Zagorowska received the IET Control & Automation Doctoral Dissertation Prize 2020 for her thesis on process control applications.

Each year the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Control and Automation Network recognises an outstanding PhD student for their thesis in the same field. The 2020 award received more submissions than ever before and was awarded to Dr Zagorowska for her thesis titled ‘Degradation modelling in process control applications’.

“I'm very honoured to be the recipient of this award. It’s both exciting and humbling to be recognized!” Dr Marta Zagorowska

The thesis provides insights into the integration of degradation models into process control applications and an adaptive algorithm for degradation detection and prediction in turbomachinery. Her objective was to devise an operating strategy for a compressor station delivering gas from Norway to the rest of Europe. Marta focused on how to can improve the performance of degrading compressors by adjusting the operating strategy.

The judges’ comments on her thesis included that it “investigated a combination of asset usefulness modelling (prognosis) and a respective control strategy” and that it applied “a 'big picture' view in the discussion of results to echo practical relevance of work in an area slowly being overlapped by Machine Learning”.

Upon receiving the award, Dr Zagorowska said: “I'm very honoured to be the recipient of this award. It’s both exciting and humbling to be recognized!”

Professor Nina Thornhill, Marta’s PhD co-supervisor, said: “Marta has done exceptionally good work throughout her PhD in applying rigorous theory to realistic industrial problems. She thoroughly deserves the IET Award.”

An introduction to the European Industrial Doctorate project PRONTO, funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Marie Sk?odowska-Curie Actions (No. 675215). PRONTO aims to achieve efficient and sustainable operations of European process industries. Early-stage researchers participating in PRONTO undertook academic-industrial PhD training with a strong emphasize on industrially relevant projects.

Dr Zagorowska achieved her PhD from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London in 2020 under the Prof Nina Thornhill and Dr Charlotte Skourup from ABB in Oslo. She is now a Research Associate at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Imperial College. She works in Dr Eric Kerrigan’s group on large-scale optimization and control under uncertainty.


On Thursday 15 April Dr Zagorowska will deliver a webinar on the topic of her thesis. The session is free and open to all. Find out more and register.


Sara West

Sara West
Communications Division

Click to expand or contract

Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 6607

Show all stories by this author