The thriving Early Career Researcher (ECR) Committee leads on initiatives for early career researchers working on Faraday Institution projects as well as other battery related research projects in the UK. They lead in-person conferences and online networking events. The committee gives members and their peers opportunities to gain valuable experience, build professional identity and networks, meet role models and present their science to a wide audience. Events have four key objectives and are designed to ensure early career researchers can:
- Take action
University College LondonView Profile
James Robinson (Chair)
WMG, University of WarwickView Profile
Ferran Brosa Planella
University of SouthamptonView Profile
Diamond Light SourceView Profile
James Le Houx
Faraday InstitutionView Profile
University of BirminghamView Profile
University of LeicesterView Profile
James Robinson (Chair)
Project Leader - University College London - LiSTAR
James is the Project Lead on the LiSTAR project based at the Electrochemical Innovation Lab at UCL. Having undertaken his undergraduate studies at in Chemical Engineering at University College Dublin James completed his PhD in UCL after which he was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering UKIC Research Fellowship and EPSRC Doctoral Research Prize Fellowship. James’ research interests include the development of advanced diagnostics for electrochemical technologies and the design of new battery systems.
Ferran Brosa Planella
Faraday Institution Research Fellow - WMG, University of Warwick - Multi-scale Modelling
Dr Ferran Brosa Planella is an Assistant Professor at the University of Warwick working on mathematical modelling of lithium-ion batteries. He obtained a double Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Industrial Engineering from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and holds a DPhil in Mathematics from the University of Oxford.
Ferran’s research focuses on derivation, reduction and parameterisation of physics-based models for lithium-ion batteries, and he is a co-investigator of the Multi-Scale Modelling project. He is also a strong supporter of open science and is a core developer of PyBaMM and member of the organising committee of the ReproducibiliTea journal club at Warwick. Besides his research, Ferran regularly engages in outreach activities to disseminate science to a wider audience.
Faraday Institution Research Fellow - University of Oxford - Multi-scale Modelling
Dr Nicola Courtier is a Faraday Institution Research Fellow in the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford.
Having obtained an MMath from Oxford in 2014, Nicola moved to the University of Southampton to study for a PhD in Mathematical Sciences, supported by the CDT in New and Sustainable Photovoltaics. She was subsequently awarded an EPSRC Doctoral Prize to continue her research on charge transport models of perovskite solar cells.
Nicola developed her interest in lithium-ion batteries when she joined the Faraday Institution’s Nextrode project to study the manufacture of lithium-ion battery electrodes. She is currently working on the optimisation and analysis of battery models with Prof. David Howey as part of the Multi-scale Modelling project.
PhD Researcher - University of Southampton
Julian Holland is a CASE PhD Student working on the atomistic simulation of battery materials using linear scaling density functional theory in the Skylaris group at the University of Southampton, and is affiliated to the Faraday Institution Multi-scale Modelling project. He maintains an active twitter account (@Julian_Q_Chem) highlighting topics of interest in his field and adjacent fields (please feel free to follow him!) Julian is the member of the Early Career Researcher Committee responsible for communications and visibility of the upcoming Faraday Institute ECR 2022 conference.
Faraday Institution Research Fellow - University of Sheffield - NEXTRODE
Ruihuan Ge received his Ph.D. in 2018 with a topic of creating tuneable agglomerates via 3D printing from Monash University, Australia. Prior to joining the University of Sheffield, he was a research associate at University of Birmingham and University of Bath (2018–2020).
His research interests include but not limited to: particle dynamics, energy storage composites and additive manufacturing. He has published over 30 JCR-Q1 papers in renowned journals, e.g. AIChE Journal, Chemical Engineering Science, Chemical Engineering Journal, Energy, and Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing.
He joined the University of Sheffield as a Faraday Institution Research Fellow, working with Dr Rachel Smith and Dr Denis Cumming. His current research focuses on numerical modelling for next generation battery energy storage:
- Discrete Element Method (DEM) modelling for lithium battery electrode manufacturing process, e.g. calendering, mixing, powder spreading.
- Design of lithium battery electrode microstructures with optimized performance.
James Le Houx
Postdoctoral Researcher - Diamond Light Source
Dr James Le Houx is a postdoctoral researcher at the Diamond Light Source. His research focuses on using X-rays to study structures, through both X-ray computed tomography, and X-ray powder diffraction techniques, with a particular focus on electrochemical devices. He uses the datasets from these characterisation techniques as computational domains for physics-based models, improving understanding of processes and performance. He has applied these techniques to a wide-range of science cases, including lithium-ion battery electrodes, supercapacitors, flow battery electrodes and rock microstructures (geophysics).
Head of training and development - Faraday Institution
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.
Postdoctoral Researcher - University of Sheffield - NEXGENNA
Dr Pooja Kumari is a Faraday Institution Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at the University of Sheffield. She completed her PhD in Nov. 2019 at the Malaviya National Institute of Technology (MNIT) Jaipur, India (with close collaboration to Hiroshima University, Japan), titled “Bi and its chalcogenides for all solid state Li-ion batteries” under the supervision of Dr Manoj Kumar.
Following this she joined the University of Birmingham, as a Research Fellow on FI project focused on in-situ/operando battery characterisation techniques for Li-ion batteries with Dr Melanie Britton. In this role, she did develop in-situ NMR and operando MRI techniques for Li-ion battery (half and full cell). In Sep 2021, she began her current role at the University of Sheffield as a PDRA in the Faraday Institution NEXGENNA project, where she is developing novel synthesis route for titanates based material that she is using as an anode for Na-ion batteries.
Faraday Institution Research Fellow - University of Oxford - Nextrode
Yige Sun is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Materials at the University of Oxford, a MPLS divisional enterprise and innovation fellow, and a mentor in careers support network led by the University’s People and Organisational Development unit. She obtained an MS degree from Tsinghua University and a PhD from the University of Tsukuba. She was a junior researcher in the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), Japan.
Her previous work was focused on the fabrication and structural design of graphene-based electrode in energy storage (batteries, supercapacitors, hybrid-capacitors).
She is currently researching surface analysis techniques for lithium-ion batteries, and the advanced manufacturing of smart electrodes (as part of the Faraday Institution Nextrode project). She also serves as a robotic project leader in the Oxford Robotics & Additive Manufacturing Society, and a supervisor of a 3D printing lab for the Oxford Materials Characterisation Service.
Outside of work, Yige is a member of the Oxford Archers Club and recently started to go to the gym.
Faraday Institution PhD Researcher - University of Birmingham - LiSTAR
Georgia is a PhD researcher working on the improvement of lithium-sulfur batteries. Georgia’s project investigates how porous materials can prevent the degradation of lithium-sulfur batteries. She synthesises materials called metal-organic materials (MOFs) with different pore sizes and functional groups and employs them as a separator/interlayer to determine the best candidate for improving the cells.
It is her goal to have a career that helps to improve our impact on the environment; developing safer, greener, longer-lasting batteries is an excellent way to achieve this. Therefore, after her PhD, she plans to continue researching next-generation battery technologies in an industrial setting. Georgia also aims to advocate for positive change, which is why she is a member of the Research Student Liaison Committee at her university, representing postgraduate demonstrators, and a member of the Faraday Institution Student Committee, representing her cohort.
Faraday Institution PhD Researcher - University of Leicester - ReLiB
Sean Scott is a Research Associate at the University of Leicester. In June 2023, he started his current position focusing on designing lithium-ion batteries for disassembly plus the characterization and relithiation of end-of-life materials as part of the ReLiB project. Prior to this he did a PhD, which was also associated with the Faraday Institution at the University of Leicester entitled ‘Alternative binders for simplified battery recycling’ under the supervision of Prof. Karl Ryder and Prof. Andrew Abbott.
Faraday Institution PhD Researcher - University of Oxford - NEXGENNA
Zoë completed an undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of Birmingham and is undertaking a PhD focusing on high power sodium-ion batteries, supervised by Professor Bill David, as part of the NEXGENNa project. Having undertaken a Faraday Undergraduate Summer Experience (FUSE) Internship in 2021 creating interactive electrode manufacturing resources, she was inspired to continue her studies and research into batteries and the energy sector. Zoë has a real passion and drive for research into new sustainable battery technologies and developing commercially viable alternative battery materials.
If you would like to contact the committee or are interested in joining, please email [email protected].
Find out more about opportunities and events for early career researchers.