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Engineering Strategic Advisory Board

The Strategic Advisory Board is a forum in which invited stakeholders and representatives of the global engineering community advise the Department of Engineering at Durham University on matters concerning its strategic development. The core aim of the Board is to apply the expertise, experience and networks of individual members to aid the Department in developing research and teaching programmes which befit a world leading Department in this area.  Furthermore, the Board will be asked for consultation on matters related to philanthropic funding, international outreach and reputation.


Charles Augarde: Head of Department

Ruth Vater: Department Manager


Emily Bourne

Emily Bourne is the director for Energy Systems and Networks at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. She has responsibility for policy on: the Future System Operator; electricity networks on and offshore; interconnection; and smart systems and flexibility. She was previously director for Energy Development and Resilience, with responsibility for upstream oil and gas and energy resilience policy. She has worked in energy policy for 16 years, including as the programme manager for Electricity Market Reform at the Department for Energy and Climate Change.






JaneCooperESABJane Cooper

Jane started with RenewableUK as Director of Offshore Wind in September 2022. In this role, Jane leads the team delivering the Offshore Wind Sector Deal. Having worked at Orsted for ten years, Jane has a proven track record in the industry with a deep understanding of the challenges faced by the sector to meet its targets for 2030 and beyond. Currently serving on the Government’s Green Skills Delivery Group, Jane holds an MSc from City University and is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer. Jane previously worked at Rolls Royce and Orange and is passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion.


Brent Cheshire

Brent graduated from Durham with a BSc in Earth Sciences in 1976. He has spent over forty six years in the energy industry with Shell, Amerada Hess and latterly with DONG/Orsted, where he was UK Chairman and Chief Executive and Managing Director Windpower before retiring in 2017, following its IPO.  He was involved in the initial support for, and establishment of, the Durham Energy Institute and a long term member of its Advisory Board, and was awarded an Honorary DSc by Durham in 2012.  Since retiring from DONG he has been Chair of the Mersey Tidal Commission, an Ambassador for the Natural History Museum, the Senior Independent Director at Longboat Energy, and  a member of the Advisory Board of Lilac Solutions Inc., a US lithium extraction start up.  He was awarded a CBE for services to the Renewable Energy Sector in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours.  He is a Professor in Practice at Durham University and Chairs the Department of Engineering’s Strategic Advisory Board.



Clark MacFarlane

Clark MacFarlane is both CEO of the Onshore Business across Northern Europe and the Middle East and the Managing Director of the company’s UK business. Clark has been a board member of Renewable UK since 2017 and a member of the UK’s Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC), to achieve a cost-effective long-term future for sustainable renewable energy in the UK and develop the UK Supply Chain. Leading the way, the company opened its unique facility in Hull in 2016 creating over 1000 jobs. This is currently being expanded to more than double its size.


John Miles

Professor John Miles F.R.Eng, MA, PhD, F.I.Mech.E, C.Eng, is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He is the Arup/Royal Academy of Engineering Professor of Transitional Energy Strategies at the University Department of Engineering. His interests centre on the technical and economic aspects of making the transition from conventional sources of power to sustainable sources of power. Prior to his appointment in Cambridge, John was a senior member of Arup Group where he served on the Group’s Main Board for 17 years. Outside Cambridge, John sits on the Boards of several start-up companies operating in the fields of low-emissions transport and home energy systems.



Lauren Miller 

Lauren Miller is a second year PhD candidate studying Organic Electronics having previously graduated from our Department with a Masters in Electronic Engineering in Summer 2020. Her research aims to develop an electronic nose for chemical detection and has recently published works detailing the detection of acetone vapours by thin film transistors for the non-invasive and early diagnosis of diabetes. Prior to the doctorate, Lauren worked for 2.5 years at BAE Systems Air and continues to maintain strong ties with the company. She envisages becoming a leader in academia and working closely with industry to combine blue sky thinking and real world application. Lauren also greatly enjoys teaching and volunteering, in particular, encouraging female students to consider pursuing a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).


Phil Peel 

Phil has 37 years of experience in the global power generation business. His career has focused on the development and design of large steam turbines, being based initially in Rugby, UK with GEC Turbine Generators and subsequently Alstom Power. Relocating to Switzerland in 2001, he led the development of new steam turbine technologies, advancing to the position of Chief Engineer in 2012, which he now holds with the current owner, General Electric.

He been a member of the IMechE since 1981, becoming a Fellow in 2007. Elected an IMechE Trustee in 2016, Phil held the office of the 137th IMechE President in 2022/23.