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Associate Fellows

Associate Fellows are practitioners in energy development who are either in, or have held, senior positions in government, industry or academia outside of Durham University. Associate Fellows act as external ambassadors for the DEI and represent and promote the interests of the DEI externally and advise and support energy research workers at the University when appropriate opportunities to do so arise. They also provide expert advice within their field to the DEI Executive and team.

Dr Alison Auld

Awaiting Bio.

Dr Alyssa-Jennifer Avestro MRSC
Alyssa-Jennifer Avestro is an organic chemist trained in the synthesis, spectroscopic and electrochemical analysis of supramolecular and polymeric materials. Alyssa works in the Department of Chemistry at the University of York where she has taken up her post as a five-year Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow and Lecturer in Synthetic Molecular Materials Chemistry.

Dr Henna Bains
Henna is a Post Doctoral Research Associate (PDRA) in the Department of Engineering at Durham University. Her research focuses on uncertainty handling in offshore wind planning, mainly supporting long-term planning decisions. She holds a PhD and MMath degree from Durham University. Research interests: offshore wind, power transmission and uncertainty quantification.

Paul Bowens, Independent Energy Advisor
Paul is a retired energy industry professional with director-level experience in; sales, operations, procurement, business development and energy services. Paul has worked with regional energy and national energy services companies in the UK Canada and India. He holds an MBA and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management.

Mr Paul Brettwood
Paul Brettwood is a geophysicist with over 40 years international experience in the hydrocarbon exploration industry. Until 2021 he was Vice President, Technology with ION Geophysical, with interests in the imaging and monitoring aspects of geological carbon capture and storage. 

Andrew Clark, Business Leader, Energy Systems Catapult

Andrew is Business Leader for the Place team at Energy Systems Catapult, engaging with local and devolved governments, regions and other stakeholders to develop and deliver innovative solutions to turn place-based Net Zero ambition into action. This includes Local Area Energy Planning at local, regional and national scales, projects with energy network operators, and initiatives to implement projects at pace and scale. Andy’s experience includes creating and leading delivery of a regional energy strategy in the North East, where he built a team and oversaw a £30m programme. He is a Chartered Environmentalist, published journal author and has wider experience in the public and private sector, including internationally, implementing energy and sustainability strategy.

Dr Jonathan Cloke
Jon is National Manager of LCEDN and works with Modern Energy Cooking Services and UK Innovate’s Energy Catalyst. Previous low carbon transitions work includes co-facilitating for USES (Understanding Sustainable Energy Solutions) and on two USES projects, Renewable Energy And Decentralization (READ) and Solar Nanogrids (SONG).

Dr Jenny Cooper MBE, Independent Energy Industry Consultant
Dr Jenny Cooper specialises in Energy Innovation management. She was until 2014 responsible for gas and electricity Transmission innovation within National Grid, now consulting on energy innovation including working with funding bodies. She serves or chairs a number of academic and UKRI Boards. She is passionate about STEM and diversity.

Professor Chris Dent CPhys FORS SMIEEE CPhys
Professor Chris Dent is an industrial mathematician with primary interests in energy system analysis. Since 2007 he has worked in energy systems research and was also Co-Director for Impact at Durham Energy Institute from 2013 to 2017. Chris is now Chancellor’s Fellow and Reader in Industrial Mathematics, School of Mathematics, University of Edinburgh.

Dr Raihanna Ferdous
Raihana is an energy geographer working as a lecturer at Oxford Brookes University. Her research is concerned with the development of sustainable energy and technology and in their shaping of the human and more than human worlds. Raihana has an extensive background in both Human Geography and Social Anthropology and has worked with various inter and multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral teams in the field of energy in the UK, Asia and Africa.

Dr Kirsten Jenkins
Dr Kirsten Jenkins is a Lecturer in Energy, Environment and Society at the University of Edinburgh. Kirsten’s expertise centre on energy justice; energy policy; energy sustainability and transitions theory. She is Managing Editor at Energy Research & Social Science and runs the international Energy and Social Science Network.

Dr Matthew Littlefair

Matthew is a Durham University graduate who holds a PhD in Electronic Engineering.  His postgraduate research specialised on the effects of cosmic rays on electronic devices.  In addition, Matthew has an undergraduate degree in Physics from Newcastle University. He has a keen interest on the impact of his research on energy development in the UK and beyond. 

Professor John Loughhead OBE FREng FTSE
Professor John Loughhead was appointed as Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (now BEIS) in October 2014. John’s professional career has been predominantly in industrial research and development for the electronics and electrical power industries, and he has extensive international experience in both industry and academia.

Dr Yiji Lu
Yiji is an Assistant Professor (UK Lecturer) in Energy Conversion & Storage Systems, University of Glasgow, focusing his research on the technological development of Low-Carbon Technologies including Renewable and Clean Energy Conversion, Energy Storage and Cleaner/Alternative Fuels to tackle Climate Change challenges.

Ian Marchant
Ian Marchant was Chief Executive of SSE plc for over 10 years until stepping down in the summer of 2013. Ian is currently Chairman of the Thames Water and non-executive Chairman of the Edinburgh based tidal energy company, Nova Innovation Ltd. Through his company, Dunelm Energy, is also an advisor to Scottish Equity Partners.

Brian Matthews, Independent Energy Consultant, TerraUrsa
Brian has worked in the energy sector since 1997 and specialises in nuclear and renewable energy, operational leadership, energy policy and strategy, and engaging people through education in STEM. He has worked internationally with the world association of nuclear operators (WANO) and worked with Durham University since 2017 developing new courses and creating beneficial relationships with industry.

Dr Cathy McClay, Director of Strategy, Policy & Regulation, Sembcorp Energy UK
Cathy is Director of Strategy, Policy and Regulation at Sembcorp, which has the largest portfolio of distributed, flexible assets in the GB market. She has 20 years’ experience in the electricity industry. Her primary focus is on the development of markets and technologies to deliver the transition to Net-zero.

Paul McKeever, Associate Director, Royal HaskoningDHV
With over 30 years’ experience in industry and research, Paul joined Royal HaskoningDHV in April 2024 and holds the post of Associate Director, Electrical focused on the Maritime and Renewables sectors.  Prior to that, he was at ORE Catapult (formerly Narec) for 18 years in several roles including Head of Electrical Research and Head of Strategic Research.  In addition to his DEI duties, Paul has held Board positions in the UK and Europe including ETIPWind, EERA JP Wind and EUREC.  He is currently active with the SuperGen Wind Industrial Advisory Board having been chair for 5 years until 2023.  Paul has also worked in the automotive and railway sectors occupying various engineering roles over a 16-year period.  Paul is a Chartered Electrical Engineer and a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Dr Colin Merritt
Colin Merritt’s career in agricultural science and biotechnology included 20 years with Monsanto UK, most recently as UK Head of public and government affairs. He was a Director of Teesside-based North East Biofuels. After 2010 Colin was a consultant/adviser to various clients including NIAB, IBERS and BASF UK. Prior to 1990 Colin was a lecturer and research manager at Cranfield Institute of Technology and a scientist at the AFRC Weed Research Organization.

Mohammadreza Mohammadi
Dr. Mohammadreza Mohammadi is a researcher in aerodynamics in the Department of Engineering, Durham University. His research interests lie in the field of aerodynamics and wind engineering. He is currently working with NREL and DNV to face challenges in windfarm optimisation through the development of new wind turbine wake models.

Roger Murray
Roger graduated in Geology at Durham University and Petroleum Engineering at Heriot Watt University. He has experience in many areas following a career at BP where he developed two North Sea Fields and as Global Technical Director led the transformation of Subsurface data, processes and systems. Since retiring from BP he has developed a portfolio career including being an Investor in several High Science and Engineering start ups, chairing the Board of Directors of the British Mountaineering Council and a member of the Audit and Risk Management Committee at Heriot Watt University

Dr Feisal Rahman
Feisal is an Environmental Engineer by training and is currently working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Science at Independent University, Bangladesh. His expertise and interests include climate change adaptation, adaptation technology, and low carbon development in the least developed countries (LDCs).

David Saddington FRGS
David Saddington is a climate change policymaker, influencer and innovator. Since 2005 David has taken a major role in tackling climate change and transforming energy systems in the UK & overseas. David now works for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to secure ambitious outcomes from the COP26 climate conference.

Jenny Saunders OBE
Jenny Saunders was Chief Executive of National Energy Action from 2007 until retiring at the end of 2017. She remains a member of the UKERC Advisory Board, the Government’s Committee on Fuel Poverty and is a Board Director of National Grid Affordable Warmth Solutions Community Interest Company.

Muhammad Faisal Sharif
Faisal is dynamic energy sector professional having sound exposure and extensive involvement in energy policies, regulatory affairs, renewable energy & environment, electricity market reforms, techno-economic valuation, competitive auctioning etc. He is working as Director (Projects) at PPIB, Ministry of Energy, Pakistan. Being a Commonwealth Scholar, he completed his “M.Sc. in New and Renewable Energy” from Durham University in 2016.   

Dr Antti Silvast
Antti Silvast is a researcher at the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture at Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. His research specialises in Science and Technology Studies, energy infrastructure, qualitative methodology, risk and resilience, and smart energy systems. Antti is also an editor of Science & Technology Studies.

Dr Barbara Vest OBE, Independent Special Advisor
Barbara, an independent Special Advisor, worked in the energy sector until August 2020. In December 2019 Barbara was awarded an OBE for services to the Energy Industry in the Queen's New Years Honours. In July 2020 Barbara was appointed a Life Member of the Executive Council of the House of Commons All-Party Parliamentary Group for Energy Studies.

Professor Andrew Wright, Independent Energy Consultant & Professor in Practice
Andrew Wright is an independent energy consultant and a Professor in Practice at Durham University. He has over 30 years of experience in energy, including in industry, the City and as a regulator. Most recently he held board-level positions at Ofgem, the gas and electricity regulator for Great Britain.