Our climate, sustainability & net zero experts

Strathclyde is home to a significant number of experts who are working to reduce the environmental impact of energy use, improve energy efficiency, respond to declining fossil fuel supplies and manage a just transition towards a fairer and greener future. Meet a selection of them here.

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Professor Sir Jim McDonald

Sir Jim McDonald is the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde and the President of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

He is one of Scotland’s most accomplished engineers, and co-chairs the Scottish Government’s Energy Advisory Board, with the First Minister.

Sir Jim is Chairman of the Independent Glasgow Economic Leadership Board and holds senior business appointments with the Weir Group, Scottish Power, the UK Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and the UK National Physical Laboratory.

More about Sir Jim

Professor Sir Jim McDonald

Professor Becky Lunn, Civil & Environmental Engineering

Prof Becky Lunn (MBE, FREng, FRSE, FICE) is the Royal Academy of Engineering and BAM Nuttall Research Chair in Biomineral Technologies for Ground Engineering at the University of Strathclyde. She has led >£7M of research, with an emphasis on the development of low carbon technologies for ground engineering, with specific applications in construction, nuclear decommissioning, nuclear waste disposal and geological carbon storage. She is an experienced advisor to Government, including past membership of the UK Committee on Radioactive Waste Management and the Scottish Government Working Group on Geothermal Energy Production.

She is a Trustee of the Saltire Society, a member of the National Engineering Policy Centre Working Group on Net-Zero Carbon and a recent advisor to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council on Engineering and the Circular Economy.

Professor Michael Mehling, Professor of Practice

School of Law

Professor Michael Mehling is a Professor of Practice at the University of Strathclyde School of Law. He holds a simultaneous appointment as the Deputy Director of the Centre for Energy and Environmental Policy Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Previously, he was founding President of the Ecologic Institute in Washington DC, an environmental think tank with partner offices in Berlin and Brussels. In these roles, he has coordinated research and advisory projects for international organizations, government agencies, and civil society organizations in North America, Europe, and the developing world.

He currently serves as a non-executive director with Ecologic Institute in Berlin, a Manager of the Konrad-von-Moltke Fund in Berlin, a Member of Climate Strategies in London, and a founding board member of Ecologic Institute in Washington DC, the Blockchain & Climate Institute (BCI) in London, and the European Roundtable on Climate Change and Sustainable Transition (ERCST) in Brussels. He is also an Associate Researcher with the Energy Policy Research Group (EPRG) at the University of Cambridge, an Associate with Vivid Economics in London, and Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly Carbon & Climate Law Review (CCLR).

Areas of expertise:

  • Climate and Energy
  • Economic Law and Governance

Professor Keith Bell, Professor of Smart Grids & co-Director of the UK Energy Research Centre

Keith Bell joined the University of Strathclyde in 2005 having previously worked as a researcher in Bath, Manchester and Naples and as a system development engineer in the electricity supply industry in Britain. He was appointed to the ScottishPower Chair in Smart Grids in late 2013 and became one of the co-Directors of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) in 2014. Since in April 2019 he has been a member of the UK’s Climate Change Committee, an independent, statutory body established in 2008 to advise the UK and devolved governments on climate change.

Keith is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and one of two Scientific Directors of the Electrical Infrastructure Research Hub established by the University of Strathclyde with the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and the University of Manchester.

He is active in the Conseil International des Grands Réseaux Electriques (CIGRE), and a member of the Executive Boards of the Power Systems Computation Conference and the IET Power Academy, an initiative to promote electric power engineering as a graduate career in the UK.

At the University, Keith leads a group researching challenges and opportunities around decarbonisation of the energy system. He has advised the British Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) and the governments of Scotland, the UK and Ireland and on power system engineering and regulatory issues as well as being active in research projects in collaboration with UK and European industry and academic partners.

Professor Sonja Oliveira, Architecture

Sonja Oliveira has over 20 years internationally leading design innovation and research experience in the architecture and sustainability sector, having led delivery of complex multidisciplinary projects ranging in value from £200k-£29mil in the UK and internationally. She has an established international reputation in socio-spatial intelligent energy governance and climate action thought leadership. She founded the Radical Architecture Practice for Sustainability network ( in partnership with leading design practitioners and researchers in Sweden, the Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia,  Austria and France. She is a Thought Leadership Specialist Advisor to the Design Council  and a board member of the World Green Building Council (Serbia), as well as scientific and industry advisory member of numerous scientific committees including the newly launched New European Bauhaus Collective.

Currently, Sonja is leading delivery of multiple research and innovation projects (value in 2020/2021 in excess of £1.2mil) aiming to transform interrelated energy governance systems to account for complex multi-phenomenon and multi-scale interconnected encounters between humans, nonhumans, spatial, socio-technological and environmental dimensions of everyday life. She takes a multidisciplinary approach to her work drawing on socio-spatial methods in architecture and design as well as computation, biomimetics, engineering and sociology to advance innovation and develop new knowledge in a climate changed societal context. Her recent work carried out for accelerating design innovation capability and capacity for socially responsible net-zero housing delivery was presented as invited keynote at the Westminster Social Forum in Dec 2020.

Professor Karen Turner, Director Of The Centre For Energy Policy

Karen Turner is Professor and Director of the Centre for Energy Policy at the University of Strathclyde, where she leads a portfolio of work UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), philanthropic organisations such as the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and the Bellona Foundation and various government and industry bodies. Karen’s main research interests lie in investigating and modelling the economy-wide and macroeconomic consequences of energy policy and industry developments, and considering how these may be effected, and consensus built around policy narratives, to enable the deployment of different decarbonisation solutions.

She has published extensively in policy and economics literatures on topics such as making the case for public support of residential energy efficiency programmes and addressing public policy challenges in unlocking value from the deployment of large scale decarbonisation solutions such as electric vehicles and carbon capture and storage. Karen has previously held academic posts at Glasgow and Heriot Watt Universities and is currently a member of the Scottish Government’s Just Transitions Commission.

Dr Aruna Ivaturi, Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry

Faculty of Science

I'm an EPSRC Fellow, Chancellor’s Fellow and Senior Lecturer leading the Smart Materials Research and Device Technology Group at Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, University of Strathclyde. I'm Strathclyde's Energy Sub-Theme (Photovoltaics) coordinator.

I'm also one of the founding PIs of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Sustainable Practices of Research in Energy (C-INSPRE), a new and innovative interdisciplinary Strathclyde Centre for Doctoral Training (SCDT) that links all four faculties of the University of Strathclyde. C-INSPRE is Strathclyde's first 'Energy CDT'. My group’s work is focused on developing nanomaterials and devices based on them especially for the Energy, Environment and Healthcare Sectors.

In the Energy sector, with focus on addressing climate change and targeting net-zero transitions:

  • We are developing moldable solar cells using low-cost solution processes to harvest indoor light to generate power. The focus is on developing highly efficient elastic perovskite solar cells which can be integrated on the artificial skin of robotic parts to power the inbuilt sensors and other low-power electronics. Such devices have potential applications in a number of fields include powering IoT sensors. The project involves collaborators from the University of Oxford, Scottish Microelectronic Centre & School of Chemistry at University of Edinburgh and Johannes Kepler University Linz from academia and Shadow Robotics, NSG Pilkington, Dupont Teijin Films and G24 Power as the Industry partners [Funded by EPSRC/UKRI]
  • We are developing electrochemical Supercapacitors using plant-based Biomass waste (crop waste) and Plastic waste-derived graphene like activated carbon. The focus is to address the climate change challenges originating due to crop residue burning and those created due to inappropriate plastic waste disposal (Funded by SFC GCRF and C-INSPRE SCDT, Zero waste Scotland and Scottish Institute for Remanufacturing)


Dr Roddy Yarr, Executive Lead for Sustainability

Roddy Yarr is Executive Lead for Sustainability.  Roddy is responsible for the development and delivery of climate change and social responsibility initiatives that address the University’s response to net zero and sustainability issues across all of its operational assets in west central Scotland.

Roddy leads the Sustainable Strathclyde team which is delivering the University’s Climate Change and Social Responsibility Plan and net zero targets. Roddy successfully led the delivery of the £20M District Heating project at the main campus and developed the design and funding programme that has enabled the delivery of the University’s first energy carbon neutral building in operation at the new National Manufacturing Institute Scotland.

Roddy has also developed an innovative, bold and collaborative ‘Climate Neutral Districts’ vision deploying 100% renewable heat, power, active travel, adaptation and well being solutions across all University assets in the central belt of Scotland.  The vision is a partnership approach to enable ‘scale and speed’ of climate action in Glasgow and region, with people at the centre.

Roddy advises the Sustainable Glasgow Partnership Group and is on the board of Climate Ready Clyde and the Clyde Climate Forest Programme Group.  He also leads the Clyde Mission ‘Net Zero’ Group that is seeking to decarbonise the Clyde Corridor. He is an external advisor to the Scottish Parliament’s Sustainability Board. He has also recently been appointed as an External Advisor and Board member of the West Dunbartonshire Energy Board LLP.

Dr David Grierson, Department of Architecture

Faculty of Engineering

Dr David Grierson is Reader and Deputy Head of Architecture at Strathclyde, and has led the Faculty’s postgraduate programme in Sustainable Engineering since 2004.

Over the past 30 years David has delivered teaching on ecocities and sustainable architecture and carried out research work on these topics across four continents. Having supervised around thirty postgraduate researchers, published widely, and acted as technical reviewer on behalf of six European Research Councils related to various sustainable development goals, he currently leads the Design & Sustainability (CRiDS) research group in Architecture.

David’s research work with his PhD students has been recognised in two selected entries within the ‘Telling the Story’ category in the COP26 UK Universities’ Climate Innovation Showcase. Earlier this year he was invited to present to MSPs, and business & industry leaders, at the Scotland Policy Conference: Next step for planning reform in Scotland. David contributed his film and music project, ‘Softer Footprints’, described by the Chair as, “both harrowing and enlightening”.

David served on the Steering Committee at Arcosanti in Arizona, described by the Washington Post as, “probably the most important urban experiment in our lifetime”, and he is currently an expert consultant to Guinness World Records.

Professor Stuart Galloway, Electronic & Electrical Engineering

I joined the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Strathclyde in 1998, and am currently a Reader in Electrial and Electronic Engineering.

Based within the Advanced Electrical Systems group within the Institute for Energy and Environment (InstEE), I currently lead two research groups, the first in Novel Electrical Systems and the second in Data Analytics. My research is concerned with multi-domain modelling of aircraft, marine and micro-grid applications and the data analytics related to smart energy, smart grid and behavioural change.

As such, the research spans two of the defining themes of the University’s Technology and Innovation Centre, namely, Power & Energy and Human & Social Aspects of Technology.

Professor Feargal Brennan, Head Of Department

Naval Architecture, Ocean & Marine Engineering


Feargal Brennan is the James Blyth Professor of Offshore Engineering at the University of Strathclyde and Head of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Marine Engineering. He is the Director and Principal Investigator of the Strathclyde-Oxford-Cranfield Renewable Energy Marine Structures (REMS) Doctoral Training Centre and Research Director of the Wind & Marine Systems and Structures (WAMSS) Centre for Doctoral Training hosted by Strathclyde with Edinburgh and Oxford partner universities.

Feargal is the Offshore Wind Champion for the EPSRC Flagship Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy research programme and Principal Investigator of the major new Ocean-Refuel EPSRC project developing fundamental underpinning understanding of Green Hydrogen derived from Offshore Wind and Marine Renewable Energy. 

Professor Brennan sits on the UK Government’s BEIS Science Expert Group supporting its Chief Scientific Advisor, he is a member of  SOWEC (The Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council) and of the Net Zero Technology Centre Academic Panel and is the UK standing member and leader of the UK delegation to the ISSC (International Ship and Offshore Structures Congress).

Professor Zoe Shipton, Civil & Environmental Engineering


My research is concerned with the structural and permeability architecture of faults. Understanding 3D fault structure is key to answering many questions concerning the evolution of fault zone structures and the migration of fluids through the Earth's crust. My research focuses on four main areas

1) How do faults act as high permeability conduits? 

2) Low permeability faults often produce hydrocarbon traps or barriers to fluid flow. 

3) Earthquakes are the tangible evidence of relative movements across fault zones.

4) How can we constrain uncertainty in geological models? 

Each of these problems can be addressed by detailed characterization of fault zone structures and their permeability and physical properties. My research has a strong multidisciplinary approach and includes collaborations with geologists, civil and environmental engineers and statisticians.

Jamie Stewart, Deputy Director, Centre for Energy Policy

Jamie is Deputy Director at the Centre for Energy Policy (CEP) at the University of Strathclyde. He joined CEP in March 2020, with his role focussing on knowledge exchange and impact. He has 10 years of experience working across the energy and climate agendas and over 3 years of experience working in consumer energy policy and advocacy in the third sector.

He has particular policy and research expertise on energy and climate issues such as heat decarbonisation, energy efficiency, energy networks and infrastructure development. He is passionate about supporting policy to ensure a socially just energy transition and has frequently raised the profile of the issue through the mainstream media in Scotland. Jamie has an academic background, where his research focused on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and understanding the role it can play in meeting net zero targets. 

He sits on a number of advisory groups related to the energy and climate change agenda, such as Scottish Power Energy Networks Transmission User Group and Scottish Water’s Independent Customer Group. 

More about Jamie


Professor Massimiliano Vasile

Head of the Aerospace Centre of Excellence


Prof Massimiliano Vasile is the Head of the Aerospace Centre of Excellence in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at the University of Strathclyde. Prof Vasile is one of the Space Cluster leads at the University of Strathclyde and is championing the area of space safety and sustainability. He is leading a second €4M international research network, called Stardust-Reloaded, supported by the European Commission H2020 framework programme, whose central area of investigation is the current and future management of the space environment to ensure a sustainable use of space.

Since 2013, Prof Vasile has developed research on the management of the space environment and the mitigation of the risk posed by space debris. More recently he has worked on combining life cycle assessment of space systems with space environment management and eco-design, and in-orbit recycling to achieve space sustainability.

Prof Vasile is an internationally recognised expert in astrodynamics. His research sits at the interface between astrodynamics, computational intelligence, optimisation under uncertainty and space systems engineering.

Prof Vasile is one of the members of the Space Energy Initiative to provide green energy from space and sits on the Astrodynamics, and the Space Power Committees of the International Astronautical Federation. He is also on the Environmental Task Force of the Scottish Space Leadership Council.

Bill Leithead, Professor of Systems & Control

Electronic & Electrical Engineering

Prof. Leithead is head of the Wind Energy and Control Centre, which, with more than 70 researchers, is one of the leading and largest wind energy research groups in Europe. He is, also, the Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Wind and Marine Energy Systems and its successor, the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Wind and Marine Energy Systems and Structures, which has an annual intake of 14 doctoral research students; and Coordinator of the EU-H2020 project, X-ROTOR: X-shaped radical offshore wind turbine for overall cost of energy reduction.

Prof. Leithead is actively involved with many national and international wind energy research and policy committees including the European Academy of Wind Energy Executive Committee, European Energy Alliance Joint Programme Wind Steering Committee and ORECatapult Research Advisory Group. Prof. Leithead has more than 30 years’ experience in Wind Energy research. His wind energy expertise has particular focus on the conceptual design of wind turbines and wind turbine and farm modelling and control. Prof. Leithead has been the recipient of more than 70 research grants and has a current portfolio in excess of £10M. He has published more than 200 academic papers.

Professor Tim Sharpe, Head Of Department


A graduate of Dundee and Strathclyde Universities, Prof. Sharpe has both practice and research expertise in low energy and sustainable architecture, construction, particularly ventilation, health and indoor air quality in housing. He was previously Director of the Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit and is now Head of the Department of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde. He has been PI and CI on a range of projects investigating low energy and sustainable design with a value of over £6.5m and recent projects include Influence of ventilation design on the prevalence of anti-microbial bacteria in homes, AH/R00207X/1; Breathing City: Future Urban Ventilation Network, NERC NE/V002082/1, Health effects of modern airtight construction, AH/S010467/1. He was a member of the NICE Public Health Advisory Committee on Indoor Air Quality, RCPCH working Group on IAQ and children’s health.

He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies  Environment and Modelling Group and has extensive experience of monitoring indoor environments. He has led on a several projects for Scottish Government Building Standards Division, including ‘Ability of decentralised mechanical ventilation to act as ‘whole-house’ ventilation systems in new-build dwellings’, ‘To investigate occupier influence on indoor air quality in dwellings’ and ‘A research project to develop guidance for occupiers on how to live in a low carbon home’. He is a CI on the SFC funded Niddrie Rd. Passivhaus Tenement retrofit COP26 demonstration project.

Dr Sebastian Sprick

Pure & Applied Chemistry

Dr Seb Sprick.

Dr Sprick is a Chancellor’s Fellow in the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry mainly working on solar fuels.

Taking inspiration from natural photosynthesis we develop materials that produce clean hydrogen – a chemical fuel - from water and sunlight. For this, my group develops scalable low-cost semiconductors that facilitate this artificial photosynthetic process, also called photocatalytic water splitting. This allows us to store the sun’s energy in chemical bonds, making it storable.

Hydrogen has huge potential for use in transport as refuelling with hydrogen will be faster than charging of batteries, and also allowing to build on existing distribution networks while only producing water when used in a fuel cell.

More about Seb