Principal Investigator – Professor David Knowles 

David Knowles is CEO of the Henry Royce Institute, and Professor of Nuclear Engineering at the University of Bristol.

His research interests are in the area of mechanical properties of materials and their interrelation with the structural integrity of components.  Specifically much of his work addresses fitness for service of static and rotating components operating at high temperature or within aggressive environments in the Energy Sector.

In recent years David has led industrial projects related to design and assessment of renewable energy offshore structures and nuclear plant. He holds and participates in a number of EPSRC/Innovate UK grants and also leads the EDF Energy High Temperature Centre.

Co-Investigator – Dr Harry Coules 

Harry Coules is a Lecturer in Structural Integrity at the University of Bristol. His research focusses on the integrity of engineering structures and materials, often dealing with high-dependability metallic components in the energy sector. It includes the mechanics of failure processes (eg. fracture and high-temperature creep), analysis of factors which affect structural integrity (eg. residual stresses) and the development of approximate methods for practical integrity analysis.

Co-Investigator – Professor Mahmoud Mostafavi 

Mahmoud Mostafavi is Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair and Professor of Structural Integrity. He is also Co-Director (Engineering) of the South West Nuclear Hub.

His main research interest is structural integrity: fatigue, fracture and creep. Professor Mostafavi uses advanced techniques such as synchrotron X-ray tomography combined with digital volume correlation and finite element modelling to understand the physics of failure in a range of materials. He specialises in image-based solid mechanics, integrating full-field techniques such as digital image correlation and finite element formulation to measure engineering parameters for structural integrity.

Co-Investigator – Professor Christopher Truman 

Christopher Truman is Professor of Solid Mechanics at the University of Bristol. His research interests are primarily focussed on measuring and modelling residual stress, and fracture of structural materials.

He has led many large projects in residual stress measurement and related research for over 20 years over the years, including the Bristol-EDF High Temperature Centre, EPSRC UK-India civil nuclear projects, EPSRC Supergen projects, and is currently working with the NDA, MOD, and NNL.

Co-Investigator – Professor Paul Wilcox

Paul Wilcox is Professor of Dynamics, Research Director of the UK Research Centre in Non-Destructive Evaluation, and a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute. His research interests include array transducers, embedded sensors, ultrasonic particle manipulation, long-range guided wave inspection, structural health monitoring, elastodynamic scattering, data analysis and signal processing. In 2015 he was a co-founder of Inductosense, a spin-out company which is commercialising inductively-coupled embedded ultrasonic sensors.

Project Support

Project Manager – Hadiza Mohammed (

Communications and Engagement – Meg Hicks (



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Industrial Principal Investigator: Richard Jones 

Richard Jones is Head of EDF UK R&D Nuclear. Richard has many years of experience in research management roles for EDF Energy, and prior to that GlaxoSmithKline. Richard joined EDF in 2008, working in a technical capacity within the Chemistry Group at Barnwood, with part of his role including management of the Chemistry R&D programme.  Richard went on to join the core Nuclear Generation R&D Team in 2014, before becoming the NG R&D and Innovation Manager.

Co-Investigator – Dr Brian Connolly 

Dr Brian Connolly is an EDF/Royal Academy of Engineering Reader in Corrosion Performance in the Department of Materials, University of Manchester. He has over 30 years of experience in materials degradation and serves on the OECD/NEA Expert Group on Innovative Structural Materials for Modern Nuclear Reactor Applications.

Co-Investigator – Dr John Francis

Dr John Francis is a Reader in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace & Civil Engineering at The University of Manchester. He is accredited as an International Welding Engineer and has 20 years of experience with welding processes, metallurgy and residual stress characterisation.

His research interests span from microstructural evolution in welds and weld overlays, to residual stress development in welds and overlays, including the influence of solid-state phase transformations on the development of residual stresses, and they also include the creep performance of welds.

Co-Investigator – Dr Ed Pickering 

Dr Ed Pickering is a Senior Lecturer in Metallurgy, specialising in the characterisation of phase transformations and processing-microstructure-property relationships in steels. Much of his work concerns alloys and processes used for nuclear fission and fusion power plant components.

Co-Investigator – Dr Matthew Roy

Dr Matthew Roy, Senior Lecturer, focusses on Materials for Demanding Environments and is an expert in component life assessment techniques for the high value manufacturing sector including nuclear and oil & gas.

Co-Investigator – Professor Michael Smith 

Professor Michael C Smith, Professor of Welding Technology, amassed over 30 years of experience
of structural integrity problems in Aerospace and Nuclear industries. He is Director of the EDF Modelling and Simulation Centre (MaSC) and holds an EPSRC Manufacturing Fellowship on Generation IV reactors.

His current research interests are focussed upon extending “conventional” continuum mechanics weld modelling into a multi-disciplinary tool that can predict both continuum parameters such as stress & distortion, and microstructural parameters such as grain size and shape, the occurrence of secondary phases, and precipitate distributions.

Co-Investigator – Dr Anastasia Vasileiou

Dr Anastasia Vasileiou is a Dalton Fellow in Advanced Nuclear Manufacturing, specialising in weld modelling, optimisation, and artificial intelligence techniques.


Co-Investigator – Dr Catrin Davies

Dr Catrin Davies, Reader in Structural Integrity, leads the EDF Energy High Temperature Centre
at Imperial. She was an EPSRC Fellow in partnership with EDF Energy. Her research includes development of novel test methods and finite element modelling techniques the outcomes of which have been directly incorporated into Industrial component assessment codes (R5, BS7010) and testing standards (ASTM E1457 and E1820).

Co-Investigator – Dr Jun Jiang 

Dr Jun Jiang is a Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research focuses on developing novel manufacturing techniques through the understanding of micro-thermomechanical behaviours for lightweight alloys and solar cells.

Co-Investigator – Dr Emilio Martinez-Pañeda

Dr Emilio Martinez-Pañeda is a Lecturer whose research efforts aim at understanding, predicting and optimising the mechanical response of materials. He combines experiments, theoretical analysis and computer simulations to develop mechanistic models that can reliably capture material deformation and fracture.

Co-Investigator – Dr Mark Wenham 

Dr Mark Wenman, Senior Lecturer, is the Director the Nuclear Energy Future CDT. He
was an EDF Research Fellow with expertise in ductile and brittle fracture micro-mechanisms and modelling techniques and stress corrosion cracking. He holds >£2M grants related to nuclear materials.

Co-Investigator – Dr Jeyan Thiyagalingam

Dr Jeyan Thiyagalingam is the head of the Scientific Machine Learning Group, STFC, an Alan
Turing Hub, focusing solely on Artificial Intelligence for science. He is a Fellow of the British Computer
Society, and a Senior Member of the IEEE.  Dr Thiyagalingam has a very strong background in high performance computing, scientific data processing algorithms, signal processing and machine learning.