Training Champions

Each of the 10 Faraday Institution major research projects has a designated Training Champion who is the point of contact for researchers and PRISM staff looking to access training. They can advise on and sign-post training opportunities, give guidance on the use of the annual training budget and champion professional career development.

University of Birmingham

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Phoebe Allan

University of Oxford

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Ed Darnborough

Lancaster University

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John Griffin

University of Oxford

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David Howey

University of Cambridge

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Alex Kersting

University of Birmingham

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Dan Reed

University of Sheffield

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Rachel Smith

University of Nottingham

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Darren Walsh

University College London

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Julia Weaving

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Phoebe Allan

University of Birmingham - CATMAT


Dr Phoebe Allan is a Birmingham Fellow in the School of Chemistry.

Her research focuses on materials chemistry for energy storage. The goal of her research is to understand the links between the structure of a material, and its electrochemical properties, using techniques including synchrotron X-ray and neutron powder diffraction, pair distribution function analysis, and spectroscopic techniques (Raman, NMR, X-ray adsorption spectroscopy). A particular interest is developing experiments that probe the structure of a material as it changes, in real-time, and under operational conditions. This approach gives insight into which structural features are desirable for obtaining new materials with improved performance.

Current areas of interest include new electrode and electrolyte materials for lithium- and sodium- and aluminium-ion batteries.

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Ed Darnborough

University of Oxford - SOLBAT


Dr Ed Darnbrough studied Physics with Australian study at Exeter University, spending his third year in Wollongong Australia, before moving to Bristol for his PhD. Ed stayed in Bristol for his first postdoctoral research post, focusing on materials for the nuclear sector, working on uranium metal corrosion. After three years in Bristol, Ed moved to Oxford allowing him to get involved in a number of projects, ranging from radiation damage in beryllium to developing new microscale testing techniques, whilst continuing his work on uranium fuels.

Ed has extensive experience and skills in conducting in-situ and in-operando experiments on complex samples, to extract fundamental properties from small volumes. This led to his appointment as a Career Development Fellow in the field of mechanical properties of battery materials at Oxford, where he works with Professor Mauro Pasta and Professor Peter Bruce on the SOLBAT project.

Throughout his 4 years at Oxford, he has tried to make the university better by conducting excellent research and engaging in improving working conditions for staff. He has done this by acting as a staff representative for his department, his division and the university as a whole through various committees pushing for the adoption of 10-days annual training. His work with OxRSS and Prof David Gavaghan helped formalise staff representation in the university leading to the formation of the research hub and he sat on the inaugural Research Staff Consultancy Group. He believes in the importance of training for research staff as not only of paramount importance for future funding but also important for making a place everyone wants to work.

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John Griffin

Lancaster University - FutureCat and NEXGENNA


John Griffin is a senior lecturer in Materials Chemistry at Lancaster University. His research focuses on the use and development of solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance for the characterisation of materials for energy and the environment. He has authored and co-authored over 80 research articles in peer-reviewed journals, two book chapters, and regular speaks at national and international conferences. He is chair of the Institute of Physics British Radiofrequency Spectroscopy Group, which represents researchers working in applications of magnetic resonance across the UK. He is also a member of the Facility Executive for the UK High-Field Solid-State NMR facility located at the University of Warwick. He is a co-investigator on both the Faraday Institution FutureCat and NEXGENNA projects, working on solid-state NMR characterisation of cathode and anode materials and coatings in both Li and Na-ion batteries.

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David Howey

University of Oxford - Multi-scale Modelling


David Howey is a Professor of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford where he leads a group researching modelling and control of energy storage systems, with a particular focus on Li-ion batteries for electric vehicles and grid/off-grid storage, funded by Faraday Institution, EPSRC, EU and industry. He received an MEng degree in Electrical and Information Sciences from the University of Cambridge in 2002 and a PhD from Imperial College London in 2010. He is also co-founder of Brill Power Ltd., a company spun-out of his lab in 2016 focused on advanced battery management systems.

Website: https://howey.eng.ox.ac.uk

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Alex Kersting

University of Cambridge - Degradation


Dr Alex Kersting is the Faraday Institution’s Degradation Project Programme Manager. In 2012 she attained her PhD with Dr Paul Anderson from the University of Birmingham working on hydrogen storage materials.

Prior to joining the Degradation project she worked at the Royal Society for Chemistry for nine years in both their education team producing teaching and learning resources for schools, and supporting professional chemists to gain statutory qualifications to fulfil their roles.

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Dan Reed

University of Birmingham - ReLiB


Dr Daniel Reed is a Lecturer in Materials Science at the University of Birmingham, and Project Lead for the Faraday Institution ReLiB project. His research focuses on gas emission and decomposition of energy storage materials (batteries and hydrogen storage), metal-hydrogen interactions and recycling and recovery of batteries. Underpinning this is expertise in real time mass spectrometry and Raman spectroscopy. He was Head of the University of Birmingham’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Foundation programmes, working to widen participation in Higher Education and support international pathways into the university.

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Rachel Smith

University of Sheffield - Nextrode


Rachel Smith is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Sheffield, with expertise in industrial particulate manufacturing across battery, pharmaceutical, agri-chemical, and consumer goods manufacturing industries. She is a work package leader on the Faraday institution Nextrode project. Her research group is focussed on the development of micro-scale understanding of particle-particle and particle-fluid interactions, to advance prediction and design of particulate manufacturing processes and product performance. Rachel holds a BEng (Hons) and PhD from the University of Queensland, Australia, and joined the University of Sheffield in 2012.

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Darren Walsh

University of Nottingham - LiSTAR


Dr Darren Walsh is Associate Professor of Physical Chemistry in the University of Nottingham School of Chemistry. The group he leads works on a range of electrochemical topics, many of which are related to electrochemical energy storage and conversation. He is the author of over 50 original research articles and invited book chapters in the areas of physical and analytical electrochemistry. He also enjoys bringing his science to the public. He performs chemistry demonstration lectures for general audiences and is a presenter on the Periodic Table of Videos, an award-winning chemistry channel on YouTube. He gained his PhD from Dublin City University and has held a research position at the University of Texas in Austin.

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Julia Weaving

University College London - SafeBatt


Julia Weaving has experience in batteries in a collaborative, industrial research environment as well as academia. She has worked extensively in lithium metal and lithium-ion technologies and is experienced in product development and prototyping. Julia has been technical lead on multi-disciplined projects developing battery technologies for electric vehicles and consumer electronics, working extensively with academic and industrial research groups to develop safer systems by investigating and understanding the root causes of cell failure under different abuse scenarios and implementing stringent cell screening methods. She is Project Leader of the Faraday Institution SafeBatt project. Julia has also worked on Li-ion battery recycling, from feasibility to pilot scale development as well as on sodium metal and sodium-ion battery technologies.

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