People 2020-09-24T13:12:55+00:00

Meet Our Team

Our Management Team

Martin Mayfield, Director
Martin Mayfield, DirectorProfessor of Engineering Design
Martin leads the Urban Flows’ work on energy, air quality and the modelling of urban processes as complex systems. He is currently leading the Observatory work on developing our digital models, data capture and the exploration of methods to identify features of the built environment. His current work includes the exploration of the relationships between decarbonisation, power grid characteristics and thermal energy demand across scales in order to establish how cities can efficiently decarbonise their energy systems. His objective for the Observatory is to understand the flow of energy, resources and materials across scales and systems in order to help cities reduce their total impact upon the planet.
Daniel Coca, Director
Daniel Coca, DirectorProfessor of Nonlinear and Complex Systems
Viewing modern cities as systems-of-systems, Daniel is interested in developing a framework for integrating, analysing and modelling in real-time the data generated by large heterogeneous arrays of sensors across multiple spatial and temporal scales, to help understand the emergent properties of cities, to characterise their performance – especially city resilience and robustness – and to provide a quantitative basis for designing urban policies and forecasting their impact through exploratory simulation analyses and optimization.
Danielle Densley Tingley, Director
Danielle Densley Tingley, DirectorLecturer in Architectural Engineering
Danielle leads Urbans Flows’ work on resources, with a particular interest in construction materials. She is using Urban Flows’ remote sensing equipment, including LiDAR, visual and thermal imaging to understand our built environment better and in particular to answer the question: what is Sheffield made of? More broadly, Danielle is interested in reducing the whole life carbon of the built environment by optimising the use of materials, across scales from building design through to systems of materials in cities and countries.
Steve Jubb
Steve JubbChief Technical Officer
Steve is responsible for the delivery and operation of the sensing and data collection systems that are the basis of the observatory. With a background in the Telecommunications industry and having studied environmental and energy engineering, Steve has a broad interest in the way infrastructures form and support cities and urban living. In particular, he intends to gain a detailed understanding of how wireless networks, that are becoming increasingly important to support urban systems, are affected by the structural environment.
Natalie Pearson
Natalie PearsonHead of Operations
Natalie leads on the administration and coordination of work packages to ensure key deliverables are implemented and achieved. Working closely with the Project team and stakeholders, Natalie provides support on all aspects of the observatory including marketing and communications, finance and day to day operations.

Our Experts

Dr. Mauricio A. Álvarez
Dr. Mauricio A. ÁlvarezLecturer in Machine Learning
Mauricio is a Lecturer in Machine Learning in Computer Science at the University of Sheffield. Mauricio is interested in machine learning in general, its interplay with mathematics and statistics and its applications. In particular, his research interests include probabilistic models, kernel methods, and stochastic processes. He works on the development of new probabilistic models and their application in different engineering and scientific areas that include Neuroscience, Neural Engineering, Systems Biology, and Humanoid Robotics. His work on the Urban Flows Observatory is broadly related to the use of data analytics for learning models of environmental variables that can be used for exploratory and predictive tasks. More recently, he and his team have been using spatial statistics to analyse datasets of air pollution.
Hadi Arbabi
Hadi ArbabiPhD Student
Hadi is an Architectural Engineering graduate currently working towards his PhD under the supervision of Professor Martin Mayfield, where his research interests sit at the interface of urban engineering and planning. His PhD project aims to offer new insights on the effects of spatial scales on the urban economic performance balance and the extent to which it is influenced by mobility infrastructure at different spatial scales. His broader research interests include, but are not limited to, urban metabolism and energy, network analysis of intra- and inter-city flows, infrastructure and planning, and city morphology.
Dr. Paul Brindley
Dr. Paul BrindleyLecturer in Landscape Planning, Department of Landscape
Paul is a landscape planner with an interest in applying geocomputational analysis to explore spatial and statistical relationships relating to the provision and equality of urban greenspace. He has over fifteen years expertise of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and uses his extensive experience of computer programming to automate operations in order to implement them at scale. He is currently involved in the NERC funded project – Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature (IWUN – http://iwun.uk) where he is applying statistical and spatial analysis to explore the health and wellbeing benefits associated with urban greenspace.
Dr. Alastair Buckley
Dr. Alastair BuckleySenior Lecturer in Organic Electronics
Alastair leads the Sheffield Solar research group. As part of the Urban Flows Observatory, his team provide services relating to solar photovoltaic power flows within the GB electricity networks. These include national and regional real-time and historic out-turns and 7 day-ahead forecasting. Alastair has a background in technology development in industry and academia, and is Senior Lecturer in the Physics Department at The University of Sheffield.
Rohit Chakraborty
Rohit ChakrabortyPhD Student
Rohit is a PhD Student and Grantham scholar, with a background in Electronics and Communications Engineering. His experience lies in the domain of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including “smart” home appliances, health trackers, environmental monitors and Transport Data Loggers. Rohit’s focus is to employ a variety of deep learning techniques, ranging from data analysis and machine learning to human-computer interaction methods such as Neural Networks and data fusion based modelling on IoT sensor data. His current PhD project is entitled, “Low-Cost Internet of Things based Sensor Networks for Air Quality,” under the supervision of Professor Martin Mayfield.
Professor Fabio Ciravegna
Professor Fabio CiravegnaProfessor in the Department of Computer Science; Head of OAK Group
Fabio is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Sheffield and Head of OAK Group. His research concerns large-scale data acquisition and management. Since 2005, he has been the director of three EC funded projects totalling over €20M and involving 45 partners from academia and industry, and Principal Investigator (PI) in many other projects (4 European, 3 EPSRC, four industrial/governmental and four Innovate UK). Fabio is the designer and lead engineer of a technology for tracking health and wellbeing via mobile phone that has been adopted by Public Health England (with over ½ million downloads to date). He has a patent on terminology recognition in the aerospace domain that has led to the creation of a tool in use to over 10,000 employees at Rolls-Royce Plc. He is also co-creator of two spin-out companies, K-now Technologies Ltd, and the Floow Ltd on large scale data analysis and management (currently one of the 10 fastest growing companies in the UK).
Professor John Clark
Professor John ClarkProfessor of Computer and Information Security
John has researched predominantly in the application of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and search/optimisation approaches to solving problems in the field of highly dependable systems, with particular emphasis on software, security and safety. The Urban Flows Observatory offers challenges in several of his interests in dependability, e.g. the security of Internet of Things technology, data analytics, and opportunities to apply optimisation approaches in systems development.
Professor Hamish Cunningham
Professor Hamish CunninghamResearch Professor in Computer Science
Hamish is a Research Professor in Computer Science at the University of Sheffield. He has been a software engineer, researcher, open source developer and Principal Investigator on some 25 research grants, and in 2014 he ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to produce the MoPi mobile power board for the Raspberry Pi. He has published widely, sits on a number of editorial boards and reviews project proposals for the EC, EPSRC, BBSRC, ESRC, NWO and others. His team produces the GATE open source platform for language and knowledge research, which is used by organisations as diverse as the BBC, WHO cancer research and the Financial Times, and which has attracted around €20 million euros of direct research funding. Cunningham is currently researching open IoT devices for domestic aquaponics, and is a management committee member of the COST network EU Aquaponics Hub and the owner of a small greenhouse full of fish.
Dr. Iñaki Esnaola
Dr. Iñaki EsnaolaSenior Lecturer; Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering
Iñaki received an M.S degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Navarra, Spain, in 2006, and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 2011. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering of the University of Sheffield, and a Visiting Research Collaborator in the Department of Electrical Engineering of Princeton University. He has previously been a Research Intern with Bell Laboratories, Alcatel-Lucent, New Jersey, and a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University. His research interests include information theory and communication theory with an emphasis on the application to smart grid problems.
Dr. Thomas Hain
Dr. Thomas HainProfessor of Speech and Audio Technology; Head of Speech and Hearing Research
Thomas has a research track record of more than 20 years in machine learning and artificial intelligence related to modelling of signals. He has a background in electrical engineering and among his interests are representations for processing multi-modality, as obtained from rich sensory networks. With respect to the Urban Flows Observatory, a particular interest is research into construction of dynamic modelling frameworks that can adjust computation (e.g. prediction) and data agglomeration dynamically according to network structure and capacity.
Dr. Abigail Hathway
Dr. Abigail HathwaySenior Lecturer - Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Abigail’s research aims to ensure that in the drive for energy efficient buildings we maintain healthy indoor environments for the occupants. Her interest in the role of human activity on indoor air has developed to consider a variety of built environments. Her main interest is in the interactions of people with their building and the resulting impacts on air flow across the building envelope and between interior spaces. This includes researching the role of automated building systems to improve the comfort and quality of internal environments at low energy cost.
Professor Beverley Inkson
Professor Beverley InksonProfessor of Nanomaterials
Beverley leads the Sheffield NanoLAB in Materials Science and Engineering. She uses state-of-the-art Microscopy to determine the structure, chemistry and functionality of materials down to a nanometre scale (0.000,000,001m!). She is developing these cutting-edge technologies to optimise analysis of the PM10, PM2.5 and PM1.0 particulates in Sheffield Air. Building on joint work with the City Council over the last three years, the new Urban Flows Sensor Technology will be an important step forward in this work, and will enable quantification of AIR quality right across the city. We will be benchmarking the Sensor Network measurements with PM Characterisation, to develop effective measurement and modelling protocols, a database of Sheffield air composition, and supply evidence for Air Quality Management strategy.
Richard Johnson
Richard JohnsonPostgraduate Research Student
Richard is a chemistry graduate who is currently studying for a PhD in the area of electrical energy storage. His research interests include the impacts of high renewable technology penetrations on UK distribution networks, and the operation and deployment of technologies that may effectively mitigate the network violations caused by such technologies. Richard is am particularly interested in the Observatory project as it will allow us to gain an understanding of power flow around Sheffield City Centre, the future problems that the city’s distribution network may face, and the optimum approaches to solving these problems


Professor Anna Jorgensen
Professor Anna JorgensenChair in Urban Natural Environments, Health and Wellbeing
Anna’s research focuses on the health benefits of urban natural environments. She is interested in the ways that engaging with parks and green spaces can make a real difference to our physical and mental health and help to reduce health inequalities. She leads the IWUN project- Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature- which works to maximise the health impacts of networks of urban green space – green infrastructure – through landscape planning, design and management.
Dr Maud Lanau
Dr Maud LanauResearch Associate
Maud received a M.Sc. in Industrial Ecology from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Southern Denmark. Her Ph.D. thesis, conducted under the supervision of Professor Gang Liu, focused on weighing the importance of urban built environment stocks for sustainability, using the Danish city of Odense as a case study. She now works at the University of Sheffield as a postdoctoral research assistant with Danielle Tingley Densley. As an industrial ecologist, Maud uses the systems perspective to investigate how to reduce the environmental impacts of cities and their built environment. Her interests include socio-economic metabolism (including urban metabolism), material flow analysis and material stock analysis.
Alberto Manni
Alberto ManniVisualisation Infrastructure Design and Management.
Alberto is ACSE’s technical manager, working on the design and maintenance of the department’s infrastructure. He’s collaborating with the Urban Flows Observatory through the specification, procurement, installation and running of the visualisation infrastructure, including the refurbishment of the control room (Sir Henry Stephenson Building – Room 211) and the Video Wall array of HD screens, the Observatory’s main visualisation device.
Gregory Meyers
Gregory MeyersChief AI Architect
Gregory is responsible for Urban Flows’ development of spatial decision support systems that exploit the observatory’s big datasets, with a particular focus on automated city level prioritisation of retrofit investment. He is currently leading the observatory’s development of an integrated remote sensing platform to create high resolution thermal and visual 3D surface maps of cities. This will facilitate the development of machine learning models to automatically identify different built environment materials, thermal patterns in building fabric and more. In general, Gregory is interested in using machine learning methods to develop predictive systems and gain new insights into complex systems.


Professor Lyudmila Mihaylova
Professor Lyudmila MihaylovaChair of Signal Processing and Control with the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering (ACSE)
Lyudmila is an expert in the areas of multi-sensor data fusion and processing. She and her team are working to develop novel methods for autonomous intelligent systems: for sensing, tracking, anomaly detection and decision making with applications such as transportation, manufacturing, navigation and surveillance systems.
Dr. Said Munir
Dr. Said MunirResearcher in AQ monitoring and Modelling, Part of the Urban Flows Observatory
Said has several years’ experience in air quality monitoring, data analysis and modelling both in the UK and abroad. For the Urban Flows Observatory in Sheffield, Said is working on the design and deployment of air quality sensors network (AQSN). The aim is to set up a dense air quality monitoring network made of several layers: A layer of highly accurate reference AQ sensors, a second layer of high quality AQ sensors, and a third layer of low-cost IOT (internet of things) sensors. Furthermore, an instrumented van will be used to monitor air quality on various roads, between and next to sensors, to provide better spatial coverage and a source of data for sensor calibration. Said will analyse the data, develop high resolution maps and a land-use regression model to determine the main drivers of air quality in Sheffield.


Professor Timothy O’Farrell
Professor Timothy O’FarrellChair in Wireless Communications
Tim has a research track record of over 20 years in wireless communications systems. The focus of his research is on physical layer signal processing, radio resource management and wireless network planning for 5G and IoT. He has pioneered research on energy efficient mobile cellular communications, the mathematical modelling of medium access control protocols for WiFi, iterative block coding for wireless transmission and spreading sequence design for spread spectrum communications systems. In respect of the Urban Flow Observatory, Tim is interested in the deployment of ultra-dense wireless (sensor) networks with low energy consumption and high spectral efficiency.
Dr. Patricio F Ortiz
Dr. Patricio F OrtizResearch Software Engineer
Patricio is currently a Research Software Engineer at the Automatic Control and Systems Engineering Department at the University of Sheffield. His interests within the Urban Flows Observatory project are the interdisciplinary usage of air quality data, particularly applied to human health issues, data quality control, data visualisation, databases and semantics used to characterise the data. Patricio, a PhD in Astronomy from the University of Toronto, worked on various astronomy projects including the International Virtual Observatory and ESA’s Gaia as well as on Earth Observation projects using satellite data (Globtemp). He is also the author of “First Steps in Scientific Programming”.
Professor Colin Osborne
Professor Colin OsborneProfessor of Plant Biology; Associate Director, Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures
Colin leads work on trees within the Urban Flows Observatory. He is a plant biologist with interests in how ecosystems regulate the flows of carbon, water and energy between the atmosphere and the land. His role within the observatory is to coordinate research on the benefits provided by city trees, woodlands and other green spaces for carbon sequestration, the mitigation of flood risk and air pollution, the wellbeing of people, and other ecosystem goods and services. Colin works on these issues with colleagues from the Departments of Animal and Plant Sciences and Landscape.
Dr Giuliano Punzo
Dr Giuliano PunzoTransport Lead
Giuliano’s background is in the broad area of control theory and complex systems. After a degree in aerospace engineering, he briefly joined industry, before completing a PhD in swarm engineering in 2013. His interests include networks and graph theory, robotics, control theory, consensus and complexity. Giuliano’s post-doctoral appointments include teaching and research at the Universities of Glasgow, Strathclyde and Sheffield.

Within the Urban Flows Observatory, Giuliano is leading on the transportation theme, investigating the role of urban infrastructure to enhance mobility, their resilience in the face of increasing demand pressures and ageing, and how communities, cities and regions are shaped by access to and type of transport available. This research looks at both the developed and the developing world.

Professor Darren Robinson
Professor Darren RobinsonDirector of Research: School of Architecture; Chair in Architectural and Urban Sciences
Darren is passionate about research conducted at the interface between social physics (people), building physics (buildings) and urban physics (networks, city); and at multiple scales: from the performance of individual buildings in their urban context and the how this is influenced by occupants; through the performance of entire complex urban systems and how their interactions and spatial and functional structures can be improved to maximise metabolic efficiency; to the modelling of national stocks of buildings and how they can be decarbonised. His focus in the observatory is on validation of urban irradiation models for energy simulation.
Ling Min Tan
Ling Min TanPostgraduate Researcher in Urban Metabolism
Ling Min works on developing a framework for the application of ecological thermodynamics approach on Urban Flows to understand its metabolism from the perspective of exergy. Her research interest focuses on how the economic structure and spatial characteristics of an urban resources network correlate with the effectiveness of energy utilisation and exergy flows within urban areas. The outcome of her research provides insight into cities’ performance on resource management, grounded in a scientific understanding of sustainable urban metabolism and will assist urban stakeholders in the implementation of environmental policies for effective use of resources.
Dr. Ramsay Taylor
Dr. Ramsay TaylorUniversity Teacher
Dr Ramsay Taylor is a University Teacher in Multidisciplinary Engineering Education. Having studied Computer Science at the University of Kent, he was then employed by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) in the Safety Critical Systems team. His interests are in computer systems that are embedded in other engineering. At DSTL this was mainly aircraft, but the Diamond Smart Building project has brought his focus on to buildings and urban environments. He is particularly interested in the infrastructure that supports capturing and processing the data from these systems — both the networking and sensors themselves, and the database systems that retain and present the data to allow useful research.
Professor Philip Warren
Professor Philip WarrenProfessor of Ecology, Animal and Plant Sciences
Philip Warren is an ecologist with interests in biodiversity and ecological processes, particularly at the community and landscape scale. Much of his work has been involved with understanding the ecology of urban systems, including work on the role of domestic gardens for biodiversity, the management of urban rivers and the relationship between the form of the urban environment and the ecosystem services (benefits to people) it delivers. His interest in the Urban Flows Observatory is particularly focused on how better monitoring of urban systems can inform our understanding of how the built urban environment interacts with the ‘green space’, which constitutes a significant fraction of urban areas, and how this knowledge might allow us to design more biodiverse, sustainable and healthier cities.
Thomas Wilkes
Thomas WilkesPostgraduate Researcher
Tom’s background is primarily in Earth Sciences. In 2014 he received an MSci degree in Environmental Geoscience from the University of Bristol in 2014. In 2015 he embarked on a PhD in Volcanology at the University of Sheffield. This research involves the development of low-cost remote sensing equipment for monitoring volcanoes. As part of this project, Tom has built a UV camera, spectrometer and thermal imaging camera. All of these instruments provide a low-cost alternative to equipment which is already commonly deployed on volcanoes and could significantly reduce the cost of volcano research and monitoring. This interest in remote sensing has led Tom to undertake his current research as part of the Sheffield Urban Flows Observatory project.
Dr. Jon Wilmott
Dr. Jon WilmottSenior Lecturer in Sensor Systems
Jon spent over a decade designing thermal imaging cameras and other remote sensing instruments at AMETEK, Inc. before moving into Academia with an EPSRC Established Career Fellowship. His research focuses on pushing forward the boundaries of optical sensing technology. In the Observatory, this currently involves augmenting accurate temperature fields with LiDAR. His other work includes single pixel imaging with novel sensors and high speed microscopic thermal imaging for additive manufacturing. He has published papers on diverse applications from practical instrumentation for realising the benefits of the new definition of the kelvin, to measurements of the dynamics of volcano lava lakes.
Dr. Grant Wilson
Dr. Grant WilsonTeaching and Research Fellow, Energy and Environmental Engineering Group, Department of Chemical Engineering
Grant’s research interests lie in integrated energy systems analysis and more and more in the challenges in data collation and dissemination at different temporal and spatial levels of granularity. The interaction between differing energy systems, demand management, and active network management is key to understanding the routes to enhance network flexibility and resilience on a number of timescales. Long-term, reducing our use of fossil fuels brings challenges in terms of the provision of stored energy available to energy systems to provide a balance between supply and demand. This stored energy challenge needs to be addressed to enable the energy systems to fully decarbonise.
Dr. Mohammad Zandi
Dr. Mohammad ZandiSenior University Teacher; Director of Learning & Teaching
Mohammed joined the University of Sheffield to carry out research for a PhD in coal combustion and its environmental impacts after completing a degree in Chemical Engineering, followed by an MSc with Distinction from the University of Bradford in Advanced Chemical Engineering. He was awarded the 2005 Foxwell Memorial Prize for his research on Leaching Behaviour of Trace Elements in UK Pulverised Coal Ash Fly. In 2008, Mohammed joined the Environment Department at Tata Steel RD&T. His research focus was alternative fuels for iron making and CO2 sequestration technologies. In January 2010 he re-joined the University of Sheffield and led the Energy Institute Yorkshire branch until 2018. In 2015, in response to the local government’s report on the fuel poverty in Sheffield, Dr Zandi funded Project ACE to increase awareness of energy efficiency and tackle fuel poverty in Sheffield.