2013 Participants

There were 30 participants at the 1st South West Crucible in 2013.

Matthew Alford, University of Bath


Matthew earned his PhD in Propaganda Theory from the University of Bath (2008) following an undergraduate degree in History and Politics at York and a Masters with distinction in History, Film and Television at Birmingham.  To complement his scholarly work on the relationship between Western power and the mass media, Matthew often appears in mainstream and alternative print and broadcast media.  His first book: Reel Power: Hollywood Cinema and American Supremacy?, was published by Pluto Press in 2010 and he is an enthusiastic teacher on units  including Key Concepts in Politics, International Relations and Global  Politics, and Film, Politics and Society.

Kate Allen, University of Bristol

Kate is an equine veterinary surgeon and has specialised in equine sports medicine. Kate is responsible for the clinical services at the Equine Sports Medicine Centre at the University of Bristol. Kate undertook a clinical residency in equine sports medicine at the University of Bristol. Subsequently she completed a PhD in soft palate dysfunction in thoroughbred racehorses. Following this she sat further clinical specialist examinations. Kate’s area of interest is diseases affecting the welfare and performance of racehorses, in particular the pathobiology of collapse of the upper respiratory tract during exercise.

Katie Collins, UWE


Before becoming an academic, Katie spent 10 years as a commercial marketer working with a number of blue-chip brands including Oxfam, Lloyds TSB and Unilever. Now, she is Senior Research Fellow at the Bristol Social Marketing Centre and is writing up her PhD thesis: “Co-creating health and wellbeing in deprived communities”. Her research is critical and participatory; frequently it involves collaborating with marginalised groups such as recovering drug users, people living and working in deprived urban communities and young people. Most recently, she has brought communities together with social designers, public health professionals, housing officers and youth workers in a participatory project to understand the issues that lead to and exacerbate alcohol harm in two deprived communities.

Céire Costello, University of Bristol


Céire is a NIHR postdoctoral research fellow based at the School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol. Céire has a background in Physiology and Immunology having gained a BA(hons) in Physiology and a PhD from Trinity College Dublin. Recently Céire has completed a MSc in Medical Statistics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Céire‘s principal areas of research are in infectious disease research and the use of statistical methods. Since joining the University of Bristol in 2007 Céire has been working on a programme of research involving Primary Care Antibiotic use and the development of Antimicrobial Resistant infections in the community (PCAAR). In addition to conducting primary care research Céire is a member of the Bristol Randomised Trials Collaboration (BRTC), a UKCRC registered trials unit based at Bristol. Céire provides statistical support to various national and international studies.

Paul Curnow, University of Bristol

Paul obtained a BSc in Biochemistry at Imperial College London in 1998. He worked briefly for the Royal Society of Chemistry before returning to academia to complete a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Bristol. After a two-year postdoctoral stint at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Paul returned to the University of Bristol in 2005 as a postdoc. He became an independent Research Fellow (and proleptic lecturer) in the School of Biochemistry at Bristol in 2011 after being awarded an ERC Starting Grant. His research interests sit at the interface between protein chemistry and materials science, exploring whether mineralizing proteins can be harnessed for nanotechnology and synthetic biology.

Vimal Dhokia, University of Bath


Dr Dhokia received his BEng degree in manufacturing engineering from Loughborough University in 2005, sponsored in his final year by Cosworth Ltd. In early 2006 he started as a postgraduate researcher and in 2007 was promoted to the post of Research Officer to continue his research in cryogenic machining of soft materials, successfully obtaining his PhD from the University of Bath in 2009. In 2010 he gained funding for an EPSRC Knowledge Transfer project based on his research and was appointed to the joint position of KT Fellow and Senior Engineer at Renishaw Plc. Vimal is currently a Research Fellow at the University of Bath and his current research is investigating the cryogenic machining of high performance metals and the design of information models to support next generation machines. Vimal is extremely enthusiastic to use his research base to transcend single process manufacture to next generation hybrid manufacturing technologies.


Matt Dickson, University of Bath

Matt is currently a Prize Fellow in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences at the University of Bath, researching issues around social mobility. He gained his PhD in Economics from the University of Warwick in 2009, having previously attained an MSc in Economics from Warwick (2003) and a BSc in Economics and Politics from the University of Bristol (2000). Prior to commencing his PhD Matt worked as a research assistant at the Centre for Market and Public Organisation (University of Bristol) and since completing his PhD he has held a teaching position and a post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Bristol and more recently an Intra-European research fellowship at University College Dublin. In his research, Matt uses applied micro-econometric techniques and current projects to address the complex interactions between education, time- and risk-preferences, mental health outcomes and the transmission of these factors between parents and their children.

Ben de Lacy Costello, UWE

Ben obtained his PhD in material and sensor science from UWE, where he is currently a senior research fellow in the faculty of health and life sciences. His current research is in two main areas. The first involves identifying volatile markers associated with disease and fabricating sensor systems for their detection. The second involves pioneering work in nature inspired computing.  Ben has a general interest in the study of pattern formation in natural systems.  People relate to patterns and therefore they provide a great way of engaging a wider audience in science. It is also a topic that impacts on a wide variety of disciplines outside of mainstream science.

Jonathan du Bois, University of Bath

Jonathan obtained his Master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Bristol in 2002 and returned in 2004 to pursue a PhD in adaptive vibration control systems for rotorcraft. Following a brief period as a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, San Diego in 2008, he took up a postdoctoral position at the University of Bristol working first on the Rotor Embedded Active Control Technologies (REACT) programme with AgustaWestland Helicopters, and then on advanced robotics-based test facilities for autonomous air-to-air refuelling systems with Cobham. He moved to the University of Bath in 2012 to take up a Lecturing position, where his primary research focus is on developing energy-efficient vibration control technology for use in a wide variety of applications. He is keen to explore novel applications which could benefit from the work he does, and seeks to interact with people from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Matthew England, University of Bath

Matthew obtained a BSc, MSc and then PhD in Mathematics, the latter at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh.  He then spent two years as a temporary lecturer at the University of Glasgow where he taught and continued his graduate research on Abelian functions; a class of mathematical functions with applications in theoretical physics.  This research involved both traditional mathematics and large computations on computer algebra software.

In 2012 he moved to Bath to become the research officer on an EPSRC project in the Computer Science department.  His current work is on improving algorithms for cylindrical algebraic decompositions; a key tool in computer algebra with many applications both within and outside of mathematics.  Matthew is keen to communicate his research and to explore how it, and computer algebra more generally, may be applied in other fields.

Ell Gale, UWE

Ella Gale obtained her MSci degree (Chemistry) and her PhD (simulating molecular electronics) from Imperial College London and works as a postdoctoral researcher at UWE. Her current research involves memristors: novel electronic components which operate in a similar fashion to neurons. Her interest is in building brain-like computers. In that role, she has moved across the physical science disciplines from materials science, to physics, electronics, mathematics and inorganic synthesis. She has also touched on biology and robotics. She’s planning to work in the direction of novel computer components and brain-computer interfaces. She has collaborated with artists on art projects and has authored a paper on memristor technology as applied to computer music. She is a keen photographer and writes novels in her spare time. She is keen to collaborate across disciplines as she believes this is both where the interesting work is and where her skills are most useful.

Kalyan Hazra, National Composites Centre

Kalyan obtained his PhD in Materials Engineering from Loughborough University in 2006. He then joined as a postdoctoral researcher in Aerospace Engineering Department of the University of Bristol. He worked on various carbon fibre composites related projects for industrial partners and followed that with a 6 month short appointment on a FP7 project (EU Funding) where he developed honeycomb core manufacturing techniques. He left the university in June 2011 to work for an aerospace company based in Farnborough. His main role was to introduce new aircraft products — define the manufacture and quality procedures to produce “right-first-time” products. He then moved on and got involved in the business development. Kalyan joined the National Composites Centre in June 2012 as a Materials Specialist where he is into industrialisation of products based on the initial scientific research carried out in the academia. Kalyan is keen to explore interdisciplinary product development for composites materials.

James Hoggett, UWE

James’s research interests lie within the fields of police public relations, police identity and evidence based policing. He has published widely, particularly within the field of public order policing for which he has provided reports to both the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). James specialises in the use of mixed methods research within policing contexts.

James was employed as a Football Liaison Officer for Avon and Somerset Constabulary from 2003-2005. Since then he has obtained an MSc in Investigate Psychology from the University of Liverpool as well and his PhD also from the University of Liverpool both of which utilised research with police forces throughout England, Wales and Scotland. James also continues to work with Avon and Somerset on a number of other research projects including burglary reduction and integrated offender management.

Thomas Kador, University of Bristol

Originally from Vienna, Thomas has lived and worked in Ireland for nearly 15 years (between 1998 and 2012). During this time he graduated from University College Dublin (UCD) with a BA in Celtic Studies (2001), an MA in Landscape Archaeology (2003) and a PhD in Archaeology (2007). Since then Thomas has worked as Lecturer in prehistoric archaeology at UCD and as a postdoctoral research fellow at the John Hume Institute for Global Irish Studies. He is now a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol. Thomas’ research concerns the role of migration in bringing about social and cultural change in the past, especially in prehistory, such as in the spread of agriculture across Europe at the onset of the Neolithic period. He also has a great personal interest in effectively communicating and teaching scientific research and holds a Graduate Diploma in University Teaching and Learning.

Jenny Lloyd, UWE

After completing her first degree in Textile Marketing at the University of Huddersfield, she worked as a marketing practitioner for 15 years both ‘agency’ and ‘clientside’. She then joined the University of the West of England as a Visiting Lecturer in 1998 after completing a PGCE in Business Education and has subsequently completed a Masters degree in Business and Management Research and a PhD within the field of political branding. Her primary area of research focuses upon the antecedents of voter engagement with an interdisciplinary focus that straddles the fields of psychology, sociology, political science and marketing.  The aim of her research has been to develop communication and engagement strategies that will increase perceived relevance of politics to an increasingly cynical electorate and encourage participation at all levels – from grass roots community groups to running for parliamentary office.

Josie McLellan, University of Bristol

Josie McLellan studied at the Universities of Sussex and Oxford, before joining the University of Bristol in 2001, where she is now Senior Lecturer in Modern European History. Her work examines the history of postwar Europe, with a particular focus on gender, sexuality, and social change. Her second book, Love In The Time Of Communism, won the Fraenkel Prize for Contemporary History in 2011. She is also co-editor of the journal Contemporary European History. Josie is especially interested in public engagement and how universities can work with non-traditional audiences.


Rhiannon Macefield, University of Bristol

Rhiannon completed a joint honours degree in Biological Sciences and Psychology at Swansea University and went on to study for an MSc in Research Methods in Psychology (University of Bristol). She is now a Research Associate in health services research, working within the MRC ConDuCT Hub at the School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol. She is involved in developing methods to improve the design, conduct and reporting of clinical trials, with a particular focus on patient-reported outcomes. The majority of her research to date has focused on studies in cancer and, more recently, randomised controlled trials in surgery. She has previously worked within the NHS as a trial co-ordinator at the Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre.

Fiona MacKichan, University of Bristol

Fiona is a social scientist who uses diverse qualitative methods to explore health related research topics. Her substantive research interests are health and well being in older age, health service utilisation, and care co-ordination. Her PhD (MRC) and recent postdoctoral fellowship (ESRC) investigated how older people make sense of, and act on, chronic pain. Her current work concerns patient experience following surgery and the role of primary care in unplanned hospital admissions. She works at the School of Social and Community Medicine, Bristol, having done a BSc in Psychology at UWE and an MSc in Social Research at Bath.

Thanos Maroukis, University of Bath

Thanos Maroukis is a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the Dept of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath, UK, working on migration and temporary agency work in the EU. The principal aim of his research, under the accronym JOBS TO RENT, is to systematically explore the social processes and structures framing both the mobility of the migrant worker and the organization of work itself leading to different experiences of the agency work relationship. It does so in a comparative setting across labour markets with different settings of work (welfare, tourist and agricultural sector) and across two EU countries, UK and Greece, experiencing different and managing differently migration flows. Thanos was a Research Fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) in Athens, Greece, between 2007 and 2012 and a Research Assistant at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute, in Florence, Italy in 2010-2011. He holds a MS degree, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism, from the Department of Sociology of the University of Bristol, U.K. (2002). He has been involved in various interdisciplinary and large collaborative research projects funded by DG Research and the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Commission, and the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals. He has authored several articles in scientific journals, book chapters and newspaper articles.

Columba Peoples, University of Bristol

Columba graduated with a BA in History, Politics and Social Studies from the University of Limerick in 2002 and then went on to complete an MScEcon and PhD in International Relations at Aberystwyth University. After lecturing for two years at Swansea University, he joined the University of Bristol in 2008. He is currently undertaking a one-year University Research Fellowship on ‘Nuclear Security: Science, Technology and Sustainability’. This project focuses on security issues associated with civil nuclear power. It critically evaluates how these issues are defined and addressed in national and global policy, and assesses the extent to which scientific expertise and public consultation inform the contemporary governance of nuclear security.

Marieke Ponser, Univeristy of Bath

Mareike obtained her PhD in biochemistry at the University of Bath. Mareike won the prestigious International UNESCO-L’oréal Fellowship in 2009 and continued to work on protein-structure relationship in large multi-enzyme complexes. She works at the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath and her current research focuses on studying proteins involved in memory formation, central metabolism and bacterial pathogenesis. Mareike collaborates with a number of scientists within the UK and abroad and is also interested in interdisciplinary research on biosensing, graphene and biomechanics.

Simon Potter, University of Bristol

Simon completed his undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees in History at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Between 2000 and 2011 he taught imperial history at the National University of Ireland, Galway, before his appointment as Reader in Modern History at Bristol. He teaches broadly on the history of the British empire, and on the history of the mass media, reflecting his research interests: in 2012 Simon published a book about the BBC and its history of broadcasting to the British empire. He would like to forge further collaborative connections with media professionals. He is currently running a project, funded by the University of Bristol, which examines the memorialisation and commemoration of empire. This project seeks to create links with Bristol City Museums and Record Office (the new custodians of the collections of the former British Empire and Commonwealth Museum) and others in the world of museums and archives.

Kristen Reyher, University of Bristol

Kristen earned a BSc in Zoology from the University of Florida, followed by a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine. After spending 4 years as a private livestock practitioner in SE England, she relocated to Prince Edward Island, Canada, where she taught at the Atlantic Veterinary College and organised the Canadian Bovine Mastitis Research Network’s extensive mastitis data collection. While there, Kristen also earned a PhD in mastitis epidemiology, and currently lectures on diseases affecting production animals, epidemiology and evidenced-based medicine. Her research interests are seated in the epidemiology of production animal diseases as well as motivations to change management factors that affect their spread.

Ram Sharma, University of Bath

Ram obtained his PhD at Rutgers University, US and went on to be a group leader at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. He is now a Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering in the chemical engineering department at the University of Bath. Ram’s research focuses on cell and tissue engineering. Ram is interested in understanding how the diseased microenvironment that a cell resides in can alter the phenotype of a cell. Ram’s research assesses difference in the microenvironment, and examines how providing different cues could revert the pathological phenotype. This research could eventually be applied to developing design and culture strategies for scaffolds and other constructs used in cell and tissue engineering therapies. Ram’s research is multidisciplinary in nature, fusing together chemical engineering, micro/nanotechnology, cell biology, imaging, and computational sciences.

Mark Thompson, University of Bristol

Mark is a research fellow at the University of Bristol within the departments of Physics and Electrical Engineering, and deputy director of the Centre for Quantum Photonics. He holds a master degree in Physics from University of Sheffield and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cambridge. Prior to his PhD he was a researcher scientist at Bookham Technology Inc for two years. In 2009 he was awarded the Toshiba Research Fellowship, and held a visiting researcher position at the Toshiba R&D headquarters in Kawasaki Japan. Since 2008 he has held a permanent position at the University of Bristol, where he leads a team of researchers developing integrated quantum photonic technologies for applications in quantum communications, sensing and computation – with the aim of developing new and powerful information and communication devices.

Richard Trask, University of Bristol

After obtained his BEng degree in Materials Science at the University of Bath, and prior to joining the University of Southampton to commence his PhD studies with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), he worked at the Defence Evaluation Research Agency as a research engineer working on a range of research programmes for the military and commercial customers. He is now working as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bristol. The focus of his research is directed towards the development of biologically inspired multifunctional composite materials and structures, specifically targeted towards synthetic fibrous polymer composite materials in high performance applications. Richard is extremely keen to gain insight of different biological features and new chemical formulations whilst raising the awareness of the challenges the engineering community are now facing in the development of future multifunctional, ‘energy’ efficient materials and structures.

Rowan Tomlinson, University of Bristol

Rowan is a cultural and intellectual historian specializing in the French Renaissance. She read English and French at New College, Oxford, where she then pursued postgraduate work. She held an Early Career Fellowship at New College until 2011, when she took up a lectureship at the University of Bristol. Her work explores the poetics and politics of Renaissance culture and is fundamentally cross-disciplinary. Her first book charts the interactions between literature and natural history in the sixteenth century, while her new project is examining the meaning and practice of ‘history’ (historia) in vernacular culture from the late fifteenth to the turn of the seventeenth century. Rowan is committed to research being jargon-free and is keen to bring her work to a wider audience, whether by giving talks in schools, or by engaging with the media. In January 2013, she was a finalist in the BBC Academy’s search for female experts with the potential to present TV and radio programmes.

Gareth Vale, University of Bath

Gareth investigates the business response to climate change and is currently exploring how theories of organisational change can provide a broader perspective of CO2 markets and explain some of the discrepancies between their design and actual operation.  Gareth is also interested in new business models for sustainability and is developing a joint research project with Balfour Beatty that will examine the development of markets for ‘energy as a service’.

Gareth maintains strong links with industry and has worked with energy directors in companies such as Shell, Sainsbury’s and Balfour Beatty. Gareth is wants to develop interdisciplinary collaborations based upon his background in mechanical engineering and his PhD on climate change regulation.  Gareth would like to collaborate with specialists in environmental policy from economics and social sciences and with engineers who are developing sustainable technologies.

Sunčica Vujić, University of Bath

Sunčica joined the University of Bath in July 2011 as a Lecturer in the Department of Economics. She gained her PhD in Economics from the VU University Amsterdam in 2009 and has previously held positions at both the Department of Management and the Centre for Economic Performance at London School of Economics; the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB); and ORTEC Finance Consultancy in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. In her research Sunčica uses applied micro-econometric techniques in the field of labour economics, with focus on crime, education, health, gender, poverty and inequality. Recent research interests include economic and pro-social behaviour within organisations (social businesses) and returns to entrepreneurship. Additionally, she focuses on transition and emerging market economies, particularly Western Balkans.

Julie Woodley, UWE

Julie qualified as a diagnostic radiographer in 1985 before obtaining her master’s degree in medical ethics and law from the University of Liverpool. After a period of clinical practice in both the UK and USA she moved into education and is now a senior lecturer at UWE. Her doctoral studies focussed upon ethical decision making within disciplinary teams and she has a keen interest in all ethical issues in healthcare especially those related to transplantation and the impact of new technologies. She is also heavily involved with research governance and is chair of her faculty’s research ethics committee. Julie is interested in investigating the applicability of ethical issues within a wider interdisciplinary research arena.