DRI 2024 Panellist Biographies

Brief panellist biographies at the Digital Research Infrastructure Retreat 2024 arranged alphabetically by forename.


Alan Real is the Director of Advanced Research Computing (ARC) at Durham University, Technical Director of the N8 Centre for Computationally Intensive Research (N8-CIR) and Director of the EPSRC Tier-2 service, Bede.

Beginning his career as a Beowulf system administrator after a PhD in Molecular Biophysics, Alan has undertaken roles in HPC user support before moving towards developing and managing research computing units both within IT organisations and as a dedicated department within research division.

Alan held Executive roles within the High Performance Computing Special Interest Group for several years and has recently concluded his term as Chair of the committee that assists STFC with its oversight of DiRAC.

Alastair Basden manages the Tier-1 COSMA supercomputer at Durham University which is part of the STFC-funded DiRAC national facility, and primarily used for cosmological research.

Andrew Edmondson, known as 'Ed', started his career as a software engineer and team leader at QinetiQ after completing an MMath at the University of Oxford. He left QinetiQ to complete a BA in Theology at Birmingham Christian College after which he worked part-time as a senior developer at ApplianSys working on embedded Linux and Python firmware for network appliances. Ed completed a part-time PhD in New Testament Textual Criticism in the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing (ITSEE) at the University of Birmingham supervised by Professor David Parker. He is currently an Honorary Fellow of ITSEE.

In 2016 he joined Advanced Research Computing at the University of Birmingham and founded the Research Software Group, which has now grown to 25 posts. He is an active member of the Society of Research Software Engineering, and was the Programme Chair of the 2019 UK RSE Conference. Ed is currently the Chair of the HPC-SIG for UK Academia (


Bill Ayres is Strategic Lead for Research Data Management within the University of Manchester Library. His focus areas for RDM services include open data publishing, data management planning, plus training, advocacy and support for our research community across all disciplines. He is part of the Research Lifecycle Programme management team and the renewed programme will continue to remove barriers for research over the next five years. With nearly 20 years’ experience in the sector Bill delivered IT infrastructure services and projects at faculty level (storage, compute, networks, desktop) before moving to the library side and developing a passion for open research.


Chris Jewell is a Professor in Statistics at Lancaster University, who specialises in Monte-Carlo inference methods for epidemic analysis and forecasting.

With a background in epidemiology, he is interested in how statistical methods come together with computer science to solve high-dimensional problems in health data science.

During Covid-19, he worked with the SPI-M-O subcommittee of SAGE on spatial epidemic modelling in the UK, which has demanded rapid development of new statistical methods, fast algorithm run times, and implementation of automated software pipelines.

Christopher Woods is Head of Research Software Engineering at the University of Bristol. He founded the group in 2016, via an EPSRC RSE Fellowship. The group has grown to 10 members, and now works with researchers across the University.

Christopher was Joint-Chair of the UKRSE Association from 2016-2019 and a founding trustee of the Society of RSE. His background is in computational chemistry, working at the Universities of Southampton and Bristol from 1999-2014, primarily focussed on developing molecular modelling software.


David Henty is the Programme Manager for HPC Education and Training at EPCC, and has been involved in teaching HPC and parallel programming for over 25 years. This has encompassed intensive face-to-face courses in the UK and overseas for national HPC services, lecturing on MSc courses at the University of Edinburgh and development of online self-service training. David supports users on the ARCHER2 supercomputer, and has interests in parallel performance optimisation, parallel IO and new HPC programming languages and techniques.

Damian Jones is the CoSeC Programme Manager within Scientific Computing ( at the Science and Technology Facilities Council ( – based at STFC Daresbury Laboratory, Warrington – and is also the lead organiser for the annual Computing Insight UK Conference.

David Jenkins is a lecturer in Health Data Science working at the Centre for Health Informatics at the University of Manchester. His research focuses on using real-world health data to improve healthcare, with a keen interests in both applied work and statistical methodology. The primary area of his research is clinical prediction model updating and monitoring.


Emma Barnes leads the research computing and HPC team at the University of York which includes a combination of infrastructure specialists and Research Software Engineers.

Emma's background was in Astro-Particle Physics where she became a programming and Linux enthusiast. Her current work involves overseeing the HPC infrastructure and planning for future research computing facilities at the University as well as providing general support. She has a strong interest in searching out new technologies that can help academics fulfill their research goals.

Emma Hogan is a Senior Scientific Software Engineer (SSE) at the Met Office. In this unique role, she works with different teams across the Met Office for short periods to help them deliver work by providing SSE expertise, for example, improving the performance of systems created by scientists, and designing and developing new systems based on user requirements.

Emma sees her role as firmly rooted in software engineering, enabling scientists and science. As an SSE she does all the things you would expect a software engineer to do (design, develop, test, document, maintain, support), as well as work with scientists and other SSEs to ensure good software engineering and quality assurance practices are followed so they can produce robust and reproducible science.


James Graham joined King’s e-Research team in October 2022 to build the central Research Software Engineering (RSE) group. This group collaborates with researchers across the college, providing specialist skills in Research Software Engineering to research projects, delivering training in software engineering and data skills to PhD students and staff, and advocating for the importance of software as a critical component of modern research practice.

Before joining King’s, James was Deputy Director of the Southampton Research Software Group and a Senior Research Software Engineer at the Software Sustainability Institute. In this role, he worked primarily on research software with a focus on Impact Acceleration, commercialisation, and industrial partnerships, as well as developing and delivering training to researchers across the UK and internationally. He was elected to the board of trustees of the Society of Research Software Engineering for a two-year term in 2019 and led the migration of the Society’s digital infrastructure to ensure sustainability as the Society continues to grow.

Jeremy Cohen is an Advanced Research Fellow in the Department of Computing and Director of Research Software Engineering Strategy at Imperial College London.

Jeremy has a Computer Science background and has extensive experience of providing research software support to multi-disciplinary research projects in a range of domains.

His research interests include models for research software development and distributed/service-oriented computing. Jeremy started and runs both the local Imperial Research Software Community and the RSLondon regional research software community. He recently completed a 5-year EPSRC RSE fellowship.


Kate Royse joined the Hartree Centre as Director in April 2022. She works with the Directorate to determine the strategic direction of the centre in enabling UK industry to adopt advanced digital technologies for enhanced productivity, smarter innovation and economic growth.

Prior to her current role, Kate was the Chief Digital Officer at the British Geological Survey. Her 24 year career at BGS has taken her from traditional field mapping to a focus on the development of novel digital techniques to gain insight and added value from BGS data assets. In 2017, she was recognised by the PraxisUnico Research Council UK Impact Awards for her novel approach to innovation and commercialisation of geoscience information. In 2021, she was awarded a Digital Leaders 100 award as local national champion in recognition of her leadership in digital transformation in the Midlands.

Karen Bower is a senior research officer in the Advanced Research Computing (ARC) unit in Durham University , where she helps to look after HPC services and the people who use them. The team manages the Bede Tier-2 HPC service and Durham's local HPC service.

Karen has held previous roles in academic research IT, most recently building up and supporting Newcastle University's first institution-wide HPC service. A long time ago, she held several research fellowships in astronomy.

Kay Yeung is a Senior Portfolio Manager in the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Kay works in the Research Infrastructure team and leads on the national research facilities portfolio and data infrastructure priority.

Kirsty Lingstadt is the director of library, archives and learning services at the University of York. She leads and manages the Library, Archives and Learning Services including open access, support for learning technology, academic skills including information literacy for students and digital skills for the full University community.


Louise Chisholm is the Joint-Director of the UK SKA Regional Centre, which is co-developing the digital research infrastructure, with 14 international partners and the SKA Observatory. The aim is to enable astronomers access, analyze and visualize data from Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescopes. She leads the Project Office, develops UK-wide community engagement initiatives and facilitates knowledge exchange with industry and other infrastructures.

Prior to this, she launched and led the UCL eResearch Domain (2015 - 2022) working with Prof Jonathan Tennyson, Prof Phil Luthert, and more recently Prof Allison Littlejohn. Working closely with researchers across UCL's 11 faculties, professional service teams and senior management, she led strategic initiatives across three synergistic workstreams which focused on; shaping the development of UCL's eResearch Infrastructure, strengthening UCL’s capacity & capability to harness available infrastructure through establishing an internal funding scheme, and facilitating the development of large strategic collaborations and consortia.


Mariann Hardey is an Associate Professor of Business and Computing at Durham University Business School, and a member of the University of Durham's Directorate for Advanced Research Computing (ARC), where she teaches business inclusivity, self-help, and business technology.

Mariann is passionate about self-development and learning, with a focus on representation among business leaders and practitioners. She has given numerous presentations at international conferences and events, including the first TEDx event in the United Kingdom, and her work has been featured in international media.

Mariann's two most recent books are The Culture of Women in Technology: An Unsuitable Job for a Woman and Household Self-Tracking in a Global Health Crisis.

Marion Weinzierl has a degree (Dipl-Inf.) in Media Informatics from Ulm University, Germany, and a PhD (Dr.rer.nat.) in Scientific Computing from Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Germany. She had a 3-year postdoc in Solar Physics and Space Weather Prediction at Durham University, UK, and then worked as Computational Scientist at an x-ray technology start-up for two years.

She returned to Durham University to work as a Research Software Engineer (RSE) in Advanced Research Computing (ARC) and took on the role of Research Software Engineering Team Lead at the N8 Centre of Excellence for Computationally Intensive Research (N8 CIR), where she led the RSE community and RSE leaders network, chaired the user group of the regional supercomputer Bede, co-lead the Bede support group, and co-founded and co-led the N8 CIR Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC) chapter. After 3.5 years at ARC Durham and 2.5 years at N8 CIR she left both to join the RSE team at the ICCS, University of Cambridge.

Mark Wilkinson is the director of the DiRAC HPC Facility, which provides computing resources for the theoretical astrophysics, particle physics, cosmology and nuclear physics communities in the UK.

Mark is a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Leicester, specialising in the study of dark matter in galaxies using a combination of observations, theoretical models and machine learning. He has published almost 100 peer-reviewed papers and has more than 15,000 citations.

Martin Callaghan is a lecturer in the School of Computing at the University of Leeds. Before this, he was a research software engineering manager. He has extensive experience across project management, code development, profiling & optimisation, teaching, training, consultancy, coaching and mentoring.

His research interests are in Deep Learning for text summarisation at scale and Computing education, particularly realistic models of assessment and incorporating the development of ‘Day 1’ skills into teaching and learning. His areas of expertise are software engineering, HPC, Machine Learning, IoT, Cloud and Natural Language Programming.

Matt Probert is Professor of Computational Physics at the University of York and the Director of the N8 Centre of Excellence in Computationally Intensive Research (N8 CIR). He has been chair of the EPSRC-funded High End Computing Consortia (UKCP) since 2007, and has also been a member of the ARCHER2 Science Board, and the EPSRC HPC SAC. He is a lead developer of the widely-used first principles materials modelling code 'CASTEP' and uses this to study the structure and dynamical properties of matter.

He regularly lectures on HPC and first principles material modelling at the University of York and elsewhere.

Michael Holliday is Head of Research IT Infrastructure at UCL, and Chair of the GPFS UK User group. Michael has been involved in HPC since completing my MSc at EPCC in 2012.

Since 2012 Michael has managed and looked after HPC and storage systems at the Francis Crick Institute and UCL. Michael has also built systems for a range of customers while working at a systems integrator. I have interests in all research computing systems, but have particular interest in Research Storage systems, managing the data through its lifetime.


Noura Al Moubayed is an Associate Professor at the department of Computer Science at Durham University and Head of Applied Machine Learning and AI at Evergreen Life.

Her main research interest is in Explainable Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and Optimisation. Dr Al Moubayed received her PhD from Robert Gordon University, followed by post-doctoral positions at the University of Glasgow and Durham University. Her research projects focus on applying machine learning and deep learning solutions in the areas of healthcare, social signal processing, cyber-security, and Brain-Computer Interfaces. All of which involve high dimensional, noisy and imbalance data challenges.


Oz Parchment is the Associate Director Research Computing Services whose research interests focus on building large-scale digital research infrastructures.

Owen Thomas is the Co-Founder & Senior Partner of Red Oak Consulting. He founded Red Oak Consulting in 2004 to bridge a gap in the niche sector of High-Performance Computing and build a company focused on a strong customer ethos providing expert advice and professional solution delivery.


Peter Heywood is a Research Software Engineer in the RSE Team at the University of Sheffield, with a background in the use of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) to accelerate complex system simulations.

In his role as an RSE, Peter has worked on projects in several domains and provides part of the University of Sheffield’s RSE support for the N8 CIR Bede Tier 2 HPC centre, including leading the Documentation taskforce.

Peter Hill is a Research Software Engineer at the University of York, embedded in the York Plasma Institute. He holds an EPSRC RSE Fellowship focussing on software sustainability within the plasma science community, working to ensure a robust, well-maintained software ecosystem.

He helps maintain several key plasma physics software packages, including BOUT++, GS2, and Pyrokinetics, as well as some more general purpose packages like Ford.

Phil Hasnip is a physicist and computer programmer in the Department of Physics at the University of York. He grew up in the 1980s, where he learned physics at school and computer programming on his Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

He is an EPSRC Research Software Engineering Fellow, and writes computer software to tackle problems in physics research, with a particular interest in making scientific software user-friendly, scalable, efficient and reliable.

Phil is a lead developer of the quantum mechanical materials modelling program CASTEP, and is also part of the "PAX-HPC: Particles At eXascale" project for the UK's ExCALIBUR exascale HPC programme, working to ensure the key UK particles-based cosmological, engineering and materials modelling methods are ready for the next generation of HPC machines.

Philip Harrison is the Research Software Engineer Team Lead in the Research IT Group at the University of York. He manages the deployment of RSEs across research projects as well as promoting RSEs and Research IT facilities within the university.

His background is in acoustic engineering, linguistics and forensic science. He provides support and assistance to researchers focused on the Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences faculties.


Robert Haines is Head of Research IT and an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Manchester; a Fellow of the Software Sustainability Institute; and was a founding Trustee of the Society of Research Software Engineering.

He founded the University's central Research Software and Data Science Team in 2014, which has since grown to 30 people. A Computer Scientist by training, Robert's research interests include software engineering, software sustainability, software use in open and reproducible research, software citation and credit, and career paths for software engineers and data scientists.


Sam Bland is the N8CIR RSE theme lead and has been an embedded RSE in the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York since 2020. His interests are in all things research software from the use of HPCs to digital citizen science web tools and most recently the development of RSE communities. His software engineer background has included working with masters students to experienced researchers, business enthusiasts to international business owners. This has resulted in insight into the challenges that cross scales and domains within research software and the need to engage with the user-computer interface at every stage. In the coming years, he hopes to understand the challenges faced in developing research software and help support the frameworks and communities that are tackling them.

Serge Sharoff is a Professor of Language Technology at the University of Leeds, UK, with research interests related to three domains: linguistics, computer science and cognitive science. Artificial Intelligence and more specifically Large Language Models, such as ChatGPT, have recently made a profound impact on how we interact with the computers. Fundamental research in this area is at the core of his expertise. One of his recent papers on the diversity of texts on the Web has been cited by some of the GPT creators from OpenAI. His recent research projects cover such areas as explainability of AI models, understanding of reasons for sharing COVID-19 misinformation and addressing the linguistic barriers for non-discriminatory and inclusive democratic spaces.

Simon Burbidge is a leading member of the UK HPC community, with a long and highly successful career in HPC in both industry and research.

Currently an independent HPC consultant, Simon lead the Advanced Research Computing Centre at the University of Bristol and the HPC Service at Imperial College London and served in industry at a leading seismic processing company.

Simon has enthusiastically served on user and community groups worldwide and campaigns for career recognition for computational scientists and HPC professionals.

Simon Hood is the Head of Research Infrastructure and Platforms within Research IT at the University of Manchester. With a PhD in Mathematics from The University of Exeter, he has also worked at The University of Liverpool as a postdoc in Earth Sciences and as a lecturer in the Mathematics Department.

Simon leads the team that develops and supports both on-site computational and storage research platforms and AWS/Azure-based cloud services. These include HPC (the CSF), HTC (the Condor Pool), resilient and high-performance storage, the Research VM Service, the Highly Restricted Data Service (including the DSH and REDCap) and the new Edge Compute Service.

Stewart Clark is a professor of computational physics at Durham University specialising in theory and computational methods of electronic structure. He is chair of the EPSRC funded CCP9 computational programme on electronic structure and deputy director of the N8 Centre for Computationally Intensive Research (CIR).

He specialises in high-performance computing methods for electronic structure and has been involved with UKRI in the design and procurement of national HPC facilities.


Tania Allard is the co-director at Quansight Labs and a previous Sr. Developer Advocate at Microsoft.

She has vast experience in academic research and industrial environments. Her main areas of expertise are within data-intensive applications, scientific computing, and machine learning. Tania has conducted extensive work on the improvement of processes, reproducibility and transparency in research, data science and artificial intelligence.

She is passionate about mentoring, open source, and its community and is involved in several initiatives aimed at building more diverse and inclusive communities. She is also a contributor, maintainer, and developer of many open-source projects and the Founder of Pyladies NorthWest.

In her free time she likes tinkering with electronics, nerding with mechanical keyboards, reading books and lifting heavy weights.

Tobias Weinzierl is Professor in High-Performance Computing (HPC) in the Department of Computer Science at Durham University. After studying Computer Science with a minor in Maths, he obtained a Dr. rer. nat. (German PhD) as well as a habilitation (venia legendi) in Computer Science from Technische Universitat Munchen. In Durham, he serves as head of the Scientific Computing research group, has been the inaugurate director of the Master in Scientific Computing and Data Analysis (MISCADA), and is the PI or Co-I on multiple HPC projects tied to the UK’s exascale programme ExCALIBUR and Archer2’s eCSE programme. Tobias heads the UK’s first Intel oneAPI Centre of Excellence and is co-director of the Institute of Data Science focusing on HPC and HPDA.

Tobias is particularly interested in efficient ways how to translate state-of-the-art algorithms – multigrid, higher-order DG or SPH formalisms – into fast code that fits to modern architectures, and how to create performance-portable algorithms and code. Where possible, his work feeds into open source software.

Return to article index