The Faraday Institution has a small, dedicated core team based at Harwell Campus that bring broad and deep experiences from academia, industry and policy. The team has expertise in fields including academic leadership, battery science, research and innovation programme management, founding of spin-outs, economics, education, communications and operations including from the automotive and energy sectors.
Prior to joining the Faraday Institution, Professor Pam Thomas was a Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Warwick from 2014 and a Pro Vice Chancellor for Research from 2016 to 2021, where she had responsibility for academic leadership of the research portfolio and strategy across the whole of the institution.
Motivated by her interest in how physical properties are derived from structure on a variety of scales, Pam was the architect of Warwick’s inter-departmental X-ray diffraction facility, and oversaw its development into one of Warwick’s original Research Technology Platforms (RTPs) in 2014 when she became its first academic director. Pam was the inaugural Director 2009-2011 of the Science City Research Alliance, a major Higher Education Funding Council For England (HEFCE)-funded (£10m) research programme for the universities of Birmingham and Warwick, which employed circa 40 early career researchers across the two institutions, many of whom have gone on to significant academic and industrial careers. She also oversaw and managed the investment of £57M from regional and European funding agencies into research infrastructure under the Science Cities initiative, which notably resulted in construction of the Clinical Trials and Mechanochemical Cell Biology buildings at Warwick Medical School as well as major investments in facilities for research in Advanced Materials and Energy.
Pam was appointed to Chair of the Faculty of Science, Warwick’s equivalent of Dean, in 2011 and provided over-arching academic leadership to the nine Departments then in the Faculty, which ranged from Life Sciences and Psychology to Engineering and WMG via Chemistry, Physics, Computer Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics. Notable innovations during this time were Faculty-level activities in widening participation, employability, engineering education and public engagement. Her initial appointment as a Pro Vice Chancellor in December 2014 was focussed on People and Public Engagement with particular emphasis on Warwick’s 50th Anniversary in 2015 and on matters of equality and diversity. In this role, Pam was the initiator of Warwick’s work on the Race Equality Charter Mark and she remains an Executive Board Champion for this. Subsequently, Pam led the successful renewal (2018) of the institutional silver Athena Charter Mark.
In her personal research, she leads the Ferroelectric Crystallography group at the University of Warwick, which is part of the Condensed Matter and Materials activity in the Department of Physics. She has published more than 160 peer-reviewed journal articles and two patents, one of which became the basis of a spin-out company, Pro KTP, to exploit the invention of a new low-conductivity variant of the nonlinear optical material potassium titanyl phosphate (KTP). Pam has graduated more than 20 PhD and MSc students, several of whom have gone on to post-doctoral research in the group. Her alumni have held staff positions at scientific facilities in the US and the UK (Diamond, ISIS) and in academia world-wide (Israel, Germany, China, UK) as well as in industry and commerce. She was educated at Oxford University, where she took a BA (Hons) in Physics and a DPhil on the subject of Optical Activity in Crystals in the Physical Crystallography Group of the Clarendon Laboratory.
Pam’s activities for the scientific community have been numerous and she has chaired, led and participated in activities throughout her career for the Institute of Physics, for the Crystallographic Associations in the UK and Europe, the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF). She is also a frequent panel member and chair for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). She was invited by the Minister for Universities and Science in 2016 to lead a task-force on Open Research Data to advise on the implementation of the Open Research Data Concordat. “Realising the Potential”, the final report of the Open Research Data Task-force, was published on HMG’s website in 2019.
Pam has been a trustee of both the Turing Institute (2016-2018) and of the Faraday Institution (2018-2020) and is a member of the executive management board of the Midlands Innovation collaboration of universities.
Prior to joining the Faraday Institution, Susan was Chief Financial Officer of Velocys, the AIM-listed renewable fuels company, a position she held for 10 years through the company’s transformational years from early stage start-up to the point of having a commercial plant in operation. Prior to that, she was at the BOC Group (now Linde Group) where she held various senior-level financial management and business development positions in the UK and in Japan. Susan helped to set up and then, from 2003 to 2006, served as Vice President and CFO of Japan Air Gases (JAG), a joint venture between The BOC Group and Air Liquide.
Susan has an honours degree in economics from the University of Cambridge and is a chartered accountant (FCA) having originally trained with Arthur Andersen in London.
Matt Howard is Chief Strategy Officer for the Faraday Institution. He is responsible for working with the CEO and the Executive Team to drive the organisation’s overall strategic direction. He oversees a portfolio that includes developing and stewarding new strategic partnerships and relationships that build the Faraday Institution’s impact, visibility, value, thought leadership and longevity.
Matt is a twenty-five year veteran in communications and engagement, specialising in research communications for some of the world’s leading universities and scientific institutions, including the University of Chicago, University of Michigan and Columbia University among others.
He most recently served as the Chief Communications Officer and director of the communications, education and public affairs division for the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, where he was responsible for communicating the distinctive scientific culture and the groundbreaking innovations and impacts of one of the largest science and engineering research laboratories in the US. In this capacity, he was responsible for communications strategy, brand and visual identity, media relations, crisis communications, internal communications, educational programmes and community engagement.
In prior years, Matt served as the founding director of the media initiatives group at the University of Chicago, as an editorial and communications lead for multiple start-up companies, and as an editor for an academic publisher.
He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, a master’s degree from Miami University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester.
Ian joined the Faraday Institution after six years in central government where he worked on designing and implementing innovation programmes in the energy sector. He was responsible for the government’s energy innovation programme in the Department of Energy and Climate Change and continued in the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as Head of Disruptive Energy Technologies and Green Finance Innovation.
Ian is an engineer who graduated from University of Cambridge with an M.Eng. in Manufacturing Engineering in 1993 and is now an experienced technical manager who has worked with small, medium and large corporates, academia and government. His early career was spent working on Gas Turbine engines with the Ministry of Defence before moving to project management at QinetiQ where he was responsible for research programme management and delivery of the large test programmes. He left QinetiQ to join Meggitt Defence Systems that developed and operated new technical products. As UK General Manager Ian set up and ran a new R&D and manufacturing facility.
Peter is a founder and Chief Scientist of the Faraday Institution. He is Wolfson Professor of Materials at the University of Oxford. Peter took up the position of Physical Secretary and Vice President of the Royal Society in November 2018.
His research interests embrace materials chemistry and electrochemistry, with a particular emphasis on energy storage, especially lithium and sodium batteries. Recent efforts have focused on the synthesis and understanding of new materials for lithium and sodium-ion batteries, on understanding anomalous oxygen redox processes in transition metal oxides used as high capacity Li-ion cathodes, the challenges of the lithium-air battery and the influence of order on the ionic conductivity of polymer electrolytes.
Peter received the Tilden Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2008, the Carl Wagner Award of the Electrochemical Society in 2011, the Liversidge Award of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2016 and the Hughes Medal of the Royal Society in 2017. He has also been selected as Highly Cited Researcher by Thomson Reuters/Clarivate Analytics since 2015.
Stephen Gifford joined the Faraday Institution in March 2019. His focus is on making the organisation the go-to place for insights into the technological, economic and social benefits of batteries and electrical energy storage. He is developing techno-economic models of supply, demand and cost, covering both global and the UK markets.
Stephen has over 25 years of economics experience, including as the Chief Economist at Grant Thornton, the Director of Economics at the CBI and as a senior economist at KPMG, Oxford Economics and the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. Prior to joining the Faraday Institution, Stephen was Head of Economic Regulation at the Civil Aviation Authority, where he focused on the regulation of Heathrow and Gatwick airports, and the development of the new runway at Heathrow. Stephen is currently a Commissioner in the National Infrastructure Commission for Wales.
Stephen brings particular skills and expertise in economic policy, transport economics, infrastructure, market assessment and the role of the public sector. He has a first-class degree in Economics from the University of Liverpool and a MSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics from the London School of Economics.
Nick was appointed to the permanent role of Commercial Director in April 2021 after working as a consultant and highly valued member of the organisation for the previous year.
In 2015 Nick set up the Energy Systems Catapult on behalf of UK Government. He was an Executive Director there for 5 years, helping to build it into a £20m, 200 staff organisation. His achievements included enabling the Catapult to leverage and acquire the Energy Technologies Institute’s 10 year legacy including its Strategic Analysis capabilities and the Smart Systems and Heat Programme and also supporting the origination of the Industrial Strategy PFER programme.
In 2008 Nick co-founded and was CEO of PowerOasis Ltd, a spin-out from Motorola. PowerOasis developed energy solutions for telecoms networks in parts of the works where the electricity grid is unreliable or unavailable. Nick built the company into a micro multinational with business in Asia, Africa, Europe and the US before exiting after securing a large round of venture capital investment to further grow the company.
In 2002 Nick co-founded and was MD of SETsquared, the leading global technology accelerator that works with the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey. SETsquared has supported over 4,000 entrepreneurs and helped raise over £1.8bn of venture investment.
James Gaade joined the Faraday Institution as Research Programme Director in April 2021, after 2 years as an independent consultant focusing on vehicle electrification. During that time, he worked with the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre on developing battery materials supply chain capability, the British Standards Institute as technical author of a code of practice for battery modules and packs, with SME companies on technology roadmaps, collaborative projects and defining low volume EV propulsion systems, and supported the Advanced Propulsion Centre Technology Developer Accelerator Programme as a fresh eyes panel member. He also consulted to the Faraday Institution to help develop and shape its research projects for maximum potential impact.
Prior to this James worked for Jaguar Land Rover for 20 years, with varied vehicle propulsion and powertrain system roles in product engineering, research and technology and commercially in product marketing, working on projects from research through to vehicle production. His last role was Head of Powertrain Research and Technology, where he led a portfolio of research projects, a team of 80 engineers focused on the next generation of vehicle electrification technologies and internal combustion engine capability for near zero emissions and 2025 CO2 targets..
A Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineering, James graduated from De Montfort University in 1993 with a B.Eng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering and from Loughborough University in 2003 with an MSc in Automotive Systems Engineering.
Alison joins the Faraday Institution from Navitas, a leading global education provider where she helped to set up the European shared services centre and ran the General ledger team. Prior to that she had finance roles in an international paints and coatings company.
Alison has a BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance from Leeds Metropolitan University and is currently in the process of completing her accountancy qualification with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
Louise Gould is a marketing and communications professional who has centred her career around technology-based organisations. She joined the Faraday Institution after 5 years as Marketing Communications Manager at the renewable fuels company Velocys. There she was responsible for all marketing, communications and brand activities for this pre-profit, publicly-listed company as it endeavoured to commercialise its proprietary technology by developing biorefineries in the UK and US to convert waste sources of carbon into sustainable fuels. Her role included formulation of communications strategy with C-suite executives, as well as the operational delivery of projects across messaging development, stakeholder management, PR, annual reporting, events, naming and branding, social media strategy and website development.
Prior to joining Velocys she served as Marketing Manager for an equipment manufacturer serving the print industry. She was also Product Manager for one of Oxford Instruments’ range of low temperature sample environments used for spectroscopic techniques that sold into research institutions worldwide. She started her career as a scientific consultant and project manager at AEA Technology, who was also based at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus.
Louise graduated from the University of Cambridge with a BA in Natural Sciences (Chemistry) and holds an MSc in the Chemistry of Advanced Materials from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST).
Fran is the Head of Training and Talent Development at the Faraday Institution and is working to create a dynamic and diverse pool of talent for the fields of battery technology and energy storage. An innovative educator and award-winning primary science specialist, who has conducted research into raising STEM career aspirations, Fran is committed to boosting professional career development in the STEM sector through developing and leading programmes for early career researchers, PhDs, undergraduate students, young people (through STEM outreach) as well as a host of equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives that widen participation and foster inclusivity.
Fran holds a first-class honours degree in Primary Teacher Education, received a Primary Science Teacher Award (PSTA) endorsed by the Institute of Physics and she is also a Fellow of the Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT). Today, talent development for the battery sector is her key focus with leading a bespoke PhD training programme and the Faraday Undergraduate Summer Experience (FUSE) internship programme, central to the role. Both aim to increase the knowledge, skills and aspirations of the next generation.
Vicki has over 25 years’ experience working in the administrative, HR and office management fields. Most recently Vicki held the position of Office Manager at Oxford Biotrans, a University of Oxford spin-out company developing and commercialising enzymatic process technologies that yield high-value chemical compounds. Prior to that she was at Velocys plc, an AIM-listed renewable fuels company for 11 years, where she was the Office & HR Manager. Vicki holds an advanced diploma in business studies and also a certificate in Human Resource Management. She is an associate member of The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
Gareth Hartley joined the Faraday Institution in June 2020 as the Business Intelligence Manager. Gareth is the technical lead for the consortium established to develop prototype solid-state batteries, consisting of seven UK-based organisations. He is interested in UK decarbonisation policy and is passionate about facilitating the commercialisation of sustainable technologies.
Prior to joining the team, he undertook a DPhil in Materials at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Prof. Peter Bruce FRS, FRSE, FRSC, where his research was primarily focused on solid-state batteries. However, Gareth’s research interests extended to many energy production and storage technologies. He previously worked with Prof. Mike Bowker at the UK catalysis hub and with Prof. Thomas Maschmeyer at the University of Sydney on solar technologies and hydrogen production. Gareth has managed several multi-million-pound projects and has experience working within a financial institution.
In 2015, Gareth attained a 1st Class MChem from the University of Sheffield. His Master’s project focussed on modelling the properties of semiconductors for solar applications.
Ben de Laune joined the Faraday Institution as Research Project Manager in November 2021. He works closely with the Head of Programme Management and is responsible for managing ReLiB, SafeBatt, Degradation and a number of smaller projects within the Faraday Institution’s portfolio. He supports the team with his scientific background, systems engineering and project management experience.
Ben completed his PhD at the University of Birmingham in the field of advanced material chemistry. During this time, he discovered some new, rare, properties of a little explored class of materials that displayed technological potential. He went on to secure EPSRC post-doctoral funding to further the research with the intention of providing technological proof of concept.
Ben subsequently worked in the nuclear industry for Radioactive Waste Management, part of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, charged with siting and designing a final, safe, resting place for the UK’s radioactive waste. Here he developed and effectively deployed the use of systems engineering to deliver waste packaging advice that satisfied the full lifecycle needs of disposing of these materials to the industry. Ben has always had a passion for using fundamental research to deliver environmentally conscious and sustainable technology. His time in the nuclear industry culminated in the endorsement of plans to explore technological options for harnessing the untapped energy within these materials to further combat climate change.
Sophia Constantinou joined the Faraday Institution in June 2021 as the Digital and Social Media Co-ordinator. She is extremely passionate about science communication and education.
Prior to joining the team, she completed a BSc in Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, with her final year project focused on science education.
Sophia previously worked for the Faraday Institution in 2020 as a FUSE intern, where she created infographics and podcasts to explain lithium-ion battery manufacturing for the Nextrode project. Her academic poster won the award for engagement and communication.
Sylwia Waluś joined the Faraday Institution as Research Project Manager in June 2021. She works closely with the Head of Program Management and is responsible for managing the portfolio of the main Faraday Institution research projects as well as supporting the team with her scientific background in battery technologies.
In the past she has been involved in various next-generation battery projects, both commercially and government funded. In particular, lithium-sulfur technology is her field of expertise, in which she has been very active for almost 9 years.
Prior to joining the Faraday Institution, Sylwia spent over 5 years with OXIS Energy, working on science and engineering of Li-S technology as a Senior Scientist and further as a Product Manager. She has also spent 1 year with Jaguar Land Rover as a Project Engineer, sharing her responsibilities between the research team on establishing a solid-state batteries project and advanced engineering on evaluation of commercial Li-ion cells.
Before moving to the UK, Sylwia obtained her PhD in Li-S batteries at CEA and Université Grenoble Alpes in France. She obtained her MSc degree through a European programme, part of the Alistore-ERI consortium, dedicated to Materials for Energy Storage and Conversion (MESC), during which she was a student in various European universities: Marseille, Cordoba, Uppsala and Warsaw. She obtained her BSc degree in Chemical Technology at Warsaw University of Technology in Poland, where she is originally from.
Andrea joined the Faraday Institution in September 2021 in the new role of Contracts and Compliance Administrator.
She has over 30 years’ experience working in a wide range of secretarial and administrative support roles within large scientific research facilities. Andrea joined the Faraday Institution after spending 20 years at Diamond Light Source where she most recently held the position of Student Engagement Coordinator. Prior to working at Diamond, she spent 13 years at the energy & environmental consultancy AEA Technology plc.
Andrea particularly enjoys finding herself in new positions where she can use her breadth of skills and experience to adapt to suit the needs of the role.
Michelle joined the Faraday Institution in August 2021 as Training Co-ordinator. She is passionate about education and training as well as pushing for change in industry for a sustainable future.
Prior to joining the team, she spent over 10 years supporting and facilitating learning in primary, secondary, college and special education settings and completed a BA Hons in Education & Lifelong Learning at Oxford Brookes University. In her final year, she focussed on pupil re-engagement in core lessons such as Science, Maths, English and IT by providing a diverse and inclusive curriculum.
As an experienced co-ordinator, Michelle enjoys being involved with projects from implementation to conclusion thriving on complex situations and remaining solution focussed throughout.
Nicole joined in March 2022 as Administration Assistant. Nicole has over 20 years’ experience and has worked in a wide range of roles in administration, customer service and finance. Nicole joined after 7 years working within the medical service industry as a Finance & Administration Assistant. Prior to that she held a managing role at a printing company, where she gained experience in business management.