Professor Sir Steven Cowley announced as Faraday Institution Chair

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Distinguished scientific leader to help set agenda for UK programmes in energy storage research


HARWELL, UK (10 May 2024) The Faraday Institution, the UK’s flagship institute for electrochemical energy storage research, announces Professor Sir Steven Cowley as a member of the Board of Trustees and Chair Elect.

Professor Sir Steven Cowley is a theoretical physicist and international authority on fusion energy. He retains his positions of director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and professor at Princeton University, roles in which he has served since 2018.

Professor Cowley previously served as president of Corpus Christi College and professor of physics at the University of Oxford. From 2008 to 2016, he was chief executive officer of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and head of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. He has held numerous advisory roles. He is a fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering and received a knighthood in 2018 for services to science and the development of nuclear fusion.

Full biography.

Professor Cowley will assume the role of member of the Board of Trustees effectively immediately, and will take over the role as Chair on 16th July 2024. The current Chair, Professor Peter B. Littlewood, will step down from his role on that date.

Announcing the new appointment, Professor Littlewood commented: “We are delighted to welcome such a distinguished and widely respected scientific leader as Professor Sir Steven Cowley to the Board. Professor Cowley brings a vast array of connections and insight from working at the highest levels in both the UK’s and US’s energy research landscape. We are privileged to be able to draw upon this expertise, particularly from his experience at Culham, as the Faraday Institution further establishes its position in the research ecosystem and delivers energy technologies of the future.

“Steven is an exceptional scientist and a proven leader of large-scale, mission-driven scientific projects. We look forward to introducing him to the organisation’s community.”

Accepting the position Professor Cowley said: “I am honoured to join the exceptional team leading the Faraday Institution. Battery technology is critical to electrifying transportation and energy systems and thus it is an essential part of fighting climate change. The Faraday Institution’s programme is improving the technology in many significant ways, speeding its adoption, and opening economic opportunities for the UK.”

Professor Cowley joins a strong, capable and committed executive team and staff, a vibrant research community, and a Board of Trustees with deep expertise in research and development, energy storage, the energy sector and auto industry. Collectively they will continue to drive the organisation’s mission of delivering scientific breakthroughs in energy storage to industry-defined goals.

Professor Mark Spearing, Chair, People Committee of the Board of Trustees, Faraday Institution, commented: “On behalf of everyone in the organisation I would like to extend my thanks to Peter Littlewood for his six years of service as inaugural Chair of the Board of Trustees. He played a critical role in the formation of the Institution and in ensuring that it has become internationally recognised for its leadership in battery research. The Faraday Institution has benefitted enormously from his wide knowledge of the energy sector and the generous way he has shared his ideas about the role of the organisation within that landscape. We have all valued his openness, constant diligence, and support. I know that we will be able to continue to call on his wise counsel and kind critique if the need arises.”



Notes to Editors

About the Faraday Institution

The Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage research, skills development, market analysis, and early-stage commercialisation. Bringing together expertise from universities and industry, the Faraday Institution endeavours to make the UK the go-to place for the research and development of new electrical storage technologies for both the automotive and wider relevant sectors. Headquartered at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, the Faraday Institution is a registered charity with an independent board of trustees, and a delivery partner for the Faraday Battery Challenge.

For more information on the Faraday Institution, visit and follow @FaradayInst on twitter (X).

The Faraday Battery Challenge at UK Research and Innovation is delivered by Innovate UK. The Challenge is making the UK a science and innovation superpower for batteries, supporting the UK’s world-class battery facilities along with growing innovative businesses that are developing the battery supply chain for our future prosperity. Its aim is to build a high-tech, high-value, high-skill battery industry in the UK.

About UK Research and Innovation

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is the largest public funder of research and innovation in the UK, with a budget of around £8bn. It is composed of seven disciplinary research councils, Innovate UK and Research England.

We operate across the whole country and work with our many partners in higher education, research organisations businesses, government, and charities.

Our vision is for an outstanding research and innovation system in the UK that gives everyone the opportunity to contribute and to benefit, enriching lives locally, nationally and internationally.

Our mission is to convene, catalyse and invest in close collaboration with others to build a thriving, inclusive research and innovation system that connects discovery to prosperity and public good.

Posted on May 10, 2024