Eric McFarland



(805) 893-4343
3331 Engineering II
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5080

Assistant Contact Information: 

Allie Olympius
(805) 893-2214
Engineering II, Room 3355

Email Professor McFarland: 

ewmcfar at engineering dot ucsb dot edu

ChemE Research Areas: 


2013-2015  Dow Chemical Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Queensland
1990-1995  NSF Presidential Young Investigator
1992  Am. Nuc. Soc. Special Award for Outstanding Advances in Nuc. Tech.
1989-91  Edgerton Assistant Professorship
1981-82  NIH Grad. Fellowship
1980-81  University of California Regent's Fellowship
1980  graduated Summa Cum Laude
1980  Nuclear Engineering Department Citation for First in Department
1980  graduated Summa Cum Laude
1980  elected Tau Beta Pi (Engineering Top 5%)
1979  Stephen Bechtel Scholarship for top engineering junior

Research Description: 

McFarland’s research activities are focused on coupling fundamental processes at surfaces with novel material systems to enable economically and environmentally sustainable production of chemicals and power in real industrial processes. In particular, his group is working on use of new catalysts and materials for decarbonizing fossil fuels and producing chemicals without carbon dioxide. His group is also investigating novel nuclear reactor designs to reduce cost and increase safety and allow the opportunity for coupling chemical production with power production. McFarland teams with colleagues using state-of-the-art theoretical methods to guide and interpret experimental work using advanced theory and to develop conceptual process models to evaluate the technoeconomic potential of new processes making use of the chemistry.


Eric McFarland studied Nuclear Engineering and received B.S. and M.S. degrees from U.C. Berkeley, and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He simultaneously studied medicine and received his M.D. from Harvard and completed post-graduate training in general surgery. McFarland joined the Nuclear Engineering faculty at MIT where his research moved from nuclear science to use of nuclear phenomena for non-destructive materials and chemical analysis. In 1991 he moved to the faculty of the University of California, Santa Barbara in the Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Department where he is presently a Professor. McFarland has always worked closely with industry on problems related to energy and chemical production and he has held management positions in several companies related to his University research. During several leaves of absence, he has given service to industry including as a director of Symyx Technologies and as CEO of Gas Reaction Technologies. McFarland recently returned to UCSB from a two-year position as the founding Director of the Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation and Dow Chemical Chair of Chemical Engineering at the University of Queensland, Australia.


BS: Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, University of California, Berkeley (1980)
MS: Nuclear Engineering, University of California, Berkeley (1982)
PhD: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1987)
MD: Harvard Medical School (1988)