Advisory Board

The NRN Advisory Board members are;

Kevin Blacktop, University of Birmingham (Chair)

Kevin began his career in the Automotive sector in engine design & development and quality systems. He moved to Network Rail in 2005 to develop major rail enhancement schemes in the West Midlands, including the Birmingham Cross City Line extension to Bromsgrove. In 2012 he joined the Research and Development Team, leading the Strategic University Partnerships and was technical lead for the EU SUSTRAIL project, he also represented Network Rail in the EPSRC Autonomous Intelligent Systems Partnership programme. Kevin Has recently joined the Birmingham Centre for Rail Research and Education at the University of Birmingham as Head of Delivery. He is the current chair of the National Robotics Network, which is a network of industry end user, supply chain and academic organisations who seek to work collaboratively through an open innovation hub.

Prof Samia Nefti-Meziani, University of Salford

Prof Samia Nefti-Meziani is an internationally leading researcher in embodied intelligence and cognition. She has 25 years’ experience in advanced theoretical research in the areas of embodied intelligence, advanced robotics where the focus of her contribution is in the development of concepts, mechanisms and algorithms. She has pioneered the first application of Soft Robotics in manufacturing.

Prof John Gray, University of Manchester

After graduation John worked for 5 years in the aircraft industry before joining Manchester University’s Control Systems Centre as a lecturer specialising in aspects of nonlinear and digital control system design. He was subsequently appointed as a Professor of Control and Systems Engineering at the University of Salford where he expanded his research profile on aspects of precision instrumentation and the development of robotic systems. He worked for some 20+ years as an international consultant ( U.K. USA. Sweden, Germany, Japan ) on aspect of precision E.M. fluid flow metering ( medical and industrial ) and industrial NDT systems and his work on digital systems integration led to the establishment of the U.Ks National Advanced Robotics Research Centre at Salford in which he served as Research Director for some five years before becoming the Director of the University’s Centre for Robotics and Automation which was successful in attracting extensive E.C funding for , inter alia, its work in the development of humanoid robotic system including the iconic Robotcub design. After Leaving Salford John served for a number of years as a Senior Scientist at the Robotics Centre at IIT in Genoa as well as holding visiting Chairs at the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester. He was appointed as a Professor of Robotics and Systems Engineering at the University of Manchester in 2013 and is currently a co chief advisor for the Smart Sustainable Manufacturing domain within the University’s Industry 4.0 portfolio.

Geoff Pegman, RU Robots

Geoff Pegman is the Managing Director of R U Robots and robotics expert with over 30 years’ experience in the robotics industry. He has direct experience of directing, managing and participating in research and development programmes as well as the development of prototype equipment in the area of advanced robotics for industries as diverse as nuclear, defence, subsea, food, aerospace, construction and medical.

Dr Darren Potter, National Nuclear Laboratory

Dr Darren Potter: Darren is the Capability leader of the Plant Intervention area within the National Nuclear Laboratory. Darren is directly responsible for the majority of the robot operators within NNL. Darren has many years of project experience in both academia and industry, and has managed NNL’s successful completion of numerous robotics projects. He supports NNL’s large BEP robotics programme, EU Horizon 2020 RoMaNS project, and NNL’s Remote Engineering and Plant Inspection functions. Darren acts as the interface between the project’s roboticists and the nuclear decommissioning domain experts within NNL.

  Jon Montgomerie, European Remote Handling Alliance

Jon Montgomerie is currently Principal Engineering Consultant for ERHA (European Remote Handling Alliance) and also provides support to the Amec Foster Wheeler’s Engineering Development department as a Specialist Consultant for Development & Remote Engineering. He has over 30 years’ experience in Remote Handling and engineering development, combined with excellent leadership and communication skills. He received a PGDip in Engineering Management from Loughborough & Bristol Universities.

 John Brotherhood, Wood

John Brotherhood is a Senior Consultant who is recognised as a technical discipline mentor for remote handling and operations. In this role, he provides support and oversight to remote handling projects across the nuclear lifecycle. He has delivered solutions from conceptual design studies, research and development of practical solutions, through to successful implementation on client sites. John has been responsible for delivering many multi- discipline projects working as system integrator. He is currently leading a research and development programme exploring cutting edge nuclear decommissioning solutions.

Stephen Shackleford, National Nuclear Laboratory

Stephen Shackleford is Business Leader for Asset Care in the Fuel Cycle Solutions Directorate. He has more than 10 years’ experience working in the nuclear industry, managing a number of technical capabilities and projects. Stephen’s nuclear career began with a studentship at Springfields site, Preston. Following that he moved into the pre-cursor of NNL, BNFL’s Research and Technology department. More recently he’s spent 7 years as Team and Technical Manager for a number of plant facing capabilities at the Sellafield site and EdF reactor stations.