Keynote Speakers

Ian Crowston, Manufacturing Systems CAD-CAM Lead, Rolls-Royce plc

Ian c

A passionate engineer from an early age demonstrated by the design and manufacture of a full-suspension carbon fibre mountain bike and which helped Ian establish links within the aerospace and motorsport industries. Recognised for his project achievements at national and international engineering competitions Ian started work at Courtaulds Aerospace supporting the research and development of personal and vehicle composite material ballistic armour before then studying for his combined engineering degree, a mix of mechanical and manufacturing engineering at Coventry University.

His final year study of interlaminar fracture toughness of composite materials supported the Stewart Grand Prix F1 team where he then began as a graduate trainee before becoming a design engineer at the teams Milton Keynes base.

Moving away from Motorsport and into Aerospace, Ian supported Doncasters Bramah based in Sheffield to digitally remaster aerospace component definition for the Rolls-Royce Adour engine. Ian then went on to directly support other Rolls-Royce design and development projects in Derby and more recently has taken on responsibilities as a manufacturing systems engineer coordinating the deployment of existing Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM) software along with strategic planning for new and emerging CAD-CAM systems.

Ian is a chartered engineer with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and is a prolific STEM ambassador for Rolls-Royce, the IMechE and the Bloodhound SSC Project. Through his outreach work he is keen to inspire our next generation of engineers to improve the world through engineering.

The Bloodhound Project

The Bloodhound Project is a global Engineering Adventure: a unique, high-technology project to design and build a car that will break the 1,000mph barrier and set a new world land speed record. Described as part plane, racing car and rocket, it’s designed and constructed by experts in the UK. The Bloodhound Super Sonic Car (SSC) includes components and sponsorship from international companies.

It is being shared with a global audience to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists by promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Ian Crowston, a STEM ambassador, will share what has been achieved to date and what’s next.


Dr Matt Carré, Reader in Mechanical Engineering, University of Sheffield

Matt Carre 2015

Matt completed his PhD in 2000 on cricket ball-pitch interactions and has spent the vast majority of his time since then slowly coming to the realisation that he is a tribologist. Matt’s research interests now mostly involve applying mechanical engineering and tribological concepts to situations that include physical interactions between humans and their environment (e.g.  products, devices and surfaces). A large part of this relates to the biotribology and biomechanics of skin and human tissue. The outputs of his studies are applied in a variety of sectors including healthcare, consumer goods, footwear and sport.

Tribology in Sport: Getting to grips with performance improvement

The frictional interactions between humans and sports equipment and/or playing surfaces play a key role in carrying out high performance tasks in a safe and controlled manner. These interactions are often highly complex due to the non-linear loading behaviour of human skin / sports footwear and materials involved and the presence of surface contaminants or products that are designed to modify friction. Various case studies will be presented including tennis shoe-court interactions, rugby ball handling, rock climbing, gymnastics and wheelchair racing. These will demonstrate the way in which key experimental phases are carried out including: generating boundary test conditions; the replication of real-world loading scenarios in a repeatable test methodology; experimental design to include relevant input parameters; testing and analysis of data; modelling interactions using tribological mechanisms; and linking back to real-world context to enhance performance and/or improve athlete health.

Dr Kevin Parker, Training and Consultancy Specialist, KKI Associates Ltd.


Dr Kevin Parker is one of the UK’s leading experts in technology commercialisation and knowledge transfer. He trained as a chemist (at Edinburgh and Cambridge), and worked for 12 years with BP. Of that time 6 years was spent in R&D researching lubricant chemistry and performance. He studied the relationships between oil composition and product performance across the range of BP’s lubricants business (some 18,000 line items in all). Working with engineers, refinery specialists and tribologists, he solved a number of major technical problems, adding 8-10% to the business’s ‘bottom line’ and winning BP’s major in-house research prize.

He subsequently had 6 years as a ‘fast-track’ commercial manager. During this period he worked in sales management, literally ‘selling oil to the Arabs’, international marketing, and technology solutions. Kevin is one of the few people who can claim to have worked in all parts of the commercialisation process from R&D to sales: his interest in the field goes back to 1990 when he led a project reviewing and drawing lessons from British Petroleum’s major diversification activities. BP Research initiated over 60 projects, aiming to exploit a wide range of technologies including, chemical process catalysts, semi-conductor devices, composite materials, and anti-corrosive pigments. These seemingly diverse projects generally had two things in common. The technologies almost all ‘worked’, yet hardly any made any money…

He left BP to graduate from London Business School’s Sloan Masters Programme, with distinctions in entrepreneurial finance, environmental economics and international business development. He founded his consultancy company, KKI Associates in 1994, and spent several years largely working on business and economic development projects in Eastern Europe, in Romania, Ukraine, and especially the ex-Yugoslav republic of Slovenia.

Outside KKI, Kevin carries out pro bono work for the Scout Association training both young people and adult leaders.


Can you defend yourself against the ‘Dark Arts’ of ‘management speak’?

These days Governments, funding bodies, and University management, produce a stream of buzzwords and phrases such as ‘Innovation’, ‘Impact’, ‘Knowledge Exchange’, ‘Outreach’ and ‘Employability’. No-one quite knows what all these things mean but there is a sense that failure to grasp this could be career altering. Are researchers being irresistibly pulled towards the ‘Dark Side’? How do these things affect the future careers of young researchers?

The talk will describe the presenter’s personal career journey from a ‘catastrophic’ Ph.D to becoming an FRSC, via work in industrial R&D, commercial sales, technology management, strategic planning, business development consultancy, technics-economic appraisal, knowledge transfer consultancy, training and content development, for the RSC. At each point the talk will list both the science involved and the key transferable skills required.

The talk will finish with a ’What you must know and what you must be able to do’, career skills check list, and a number of specific suggestions on how to develop these skills.


This interactive session will deconstruct the buzzwords into a logical framework, giving some specific examples and techniques that researchers can use to answer questions like ‘I’ve just done this piece of work, will anyone be interested in it?’ In particular we will discuss:

• the things that make inventions interesting to the outside world,

• the opportunities for science to resolve many current global problems

• ways to talk about your research to non-specialists, using the concepts of:

– Discussing Benefits not features
– Using broad knowledge of ‘how the world works’ to put one’s work in context
– Using the ‘fog Index’ to help write clear concise text

• the things that make researchers employable at Universities and major commercial and social enterprises