Our People

Academics and experts from across ERA partner institutions and industrial organisations are involved in ERA research, development and training activities. They are supported by a small central team:

Gordon Waddington – Chief Executive Officer

Gordon Waddington

Gordon Waddington joined ERA as its inaugural CEO in 2015, having previously held a variety of roles at Rolls-Royce, including Director of Research and Technology and President of Rolls-Royce Civil Nuclear. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineers, former Chairman of the Industrial Advisory Board Imperial College London, and in 2001 was awarded the RaES British Gold Medal for contributions to technology advances.

Contact Gordon via enquiries@era.ac.uk.

Dr Emma Kelly – Chief Operating Officer

Dr Emma Kelly

Emma Kelly joined ERA in 2016, having previously led operational activities within the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing at the University of Nottingham. Emma has led large, multi-collaborator research programmes (EU, national and industrial) and has a research background in aerospace manufacturing, evolvable assembly systems and servitization. Emma has extensive management experience within the higher education sector, including securing grant funding for and overseeing delivery of complex, high profile research and knowledge transfer investments.

Before joining ERA, Emma coordinated and drove the development of strategic roadmaps charting the future research direction in intelligent manufacturing.

Contact Emma via Emma.Kelly@nottingham.ac.uk.

Laura du Plessis – Director of Communications

Laura du Plessis

Laura joined ERA in 2016 and provides leadership of ERA’s communications and public relations, working with marketing, press and communications teams across the ERA partner institutions. She is Associate Director of Communications at the University of Warwick, with responsibility for internal communications and communications strategy and planning. She has considerable experience of the UK HE sector, having previously worked as Head of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office at Warwick and in other roles at the University of Warwick and the University of Nottingham.

Contact Laura via: l.du-plessis@warwick.ac.uk.

Research theme leaders

Professor Martin Freer – Thermal-ERA

Professor Martin Freer

Martin Freer is head of Nuclear Physics, Director of the Birmingham Energy Institute and the Birmingham Centre for Nuclear Education and Research at the University of Birmingham. In 2015 he co-led the Birmingham Energy Institute Commission, chaired by Lord Teverson, examining "Doing Cold Smarter", and in 2012 he led the Policy Commission, chaired by Lord Hunt, on the "Future of Nuclear Energy in the UK". He established the Birmingham Centre for Nuclear Education and Research in 2010. His main research area is the study of the structure of light nuclei, using nuclear reactions. This research is performed at international facilities worldwide. In addition, he is actively engaged in promoting research and educational programmes to support the UK’s investment in nuclear power generation. He received the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Prize, Humboldt Foundation, Germany in 2004 and the Rutherford Medal (IoP) in 2010.

Contact Martin via: m.freer@bham.ac.uk.

Professor David Mullins – Integrated storage-ERA

Professor David Mullins

GWA Professorial Fellow at WMG at the University of Warwick, David Mullins has worked with colleagues within universities, companies and other users of knowledge to shape the Phase 1 capital investment for ERA. This provides a step change in capability with a suite of new facilities that are accessible to the Midlands and national universities and companies. They will support the manufacturing and scale up workstream in the EPSRC Energy Storage SUPERGEN and Innovate UK, Catapult, Advanced Propulsion Centre and industry sponsored programmes.

After initial research in rock mechanics with the National Coal Board, David worked for the UK research councils for 11 years with portfolios including materials and advanced manufacturing. He joined the University of Warwick in 1997 and has subsequently developed a range of academic: industry partnerships with associated new research infrastructure.

Contact David via: David.Mullins@warwick.ac.uk.

Professor Gavin Walker – Geo-ERA

Gavin Walker

Gavin Walker joined the University of Nottingham in 1997, where he has established a leading research group in hydrogen storage which has expanded into hydrogen systems. He was awarded a Low Carbon Leadership award from Carbon Trust and EPSRC in 2007, and in 2010 was appointed as the Sir Harry and Lady Djanogly Chair in Sustainable Energy. In addition to over 100 publications, he is also Editor of State Hydrogen Storage Materials. In 2014 he became Director of the University of Nottingham’s Energy Technologies Research Institute (ETRI), which has a £70 million portfolio of research including efficient fossil, energy storage renewables, smart grids and efficient energy buildings.

Contact Gavin via: gavin.walker@nottingham.ac.uk.