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Centre Management

BNFL_aerial sellafield tn_202The Centre is run by a Director, Robert Smith, who has oversight of and responsibility for all Centre activities, technical programmes and industrial liaison. The financial and commercial support for RCNDE is handled by the NDE Research Association (NDEvR) of which Peter Thayer is the Director. NDEvR also represent industry in engagement with EPSRC (previously as part of a Strategic Partnership).

The Director is supported by the RCNDE Management team, comprising:

Centre Manager – Maria Arias

Research Director – Paul Wilcox

Industry Director – Peter Thayer

Technology Director – Colin Brett

Deputy Director – Pete Loftus

The Director reports to a Management Board comprising all full industrial and university members and EPSRC. The Board has ultimate responsibility for all policy and strategic issues, as well as approving and directing the Centre’s activities. The Centre undertakes to ensure effective communication between the researchers and industry, both informally and formally via the Board.

More about our Directors

Robert Smith is Professor of NDT and High Value Manufacturing at the University of Bristol. He studied at the University of Cambridge and Kings College, London, and gained a PhD at the University of Nottingham. His ultrasonics research career started at the National Physical Laboratory, moving through RAE Farnborough, QinetiQ and then the University of Bristol in 2013. He has authored over 130 publications, five of which were awarded medals by the British Institute of NDT of which he is an Honorary Fellow and a Past President. He became the Director of the UK Research Centre in NDE (RCNDE) in 2018.

Peter Thayer has Physics (Cambridge) and MBA (Rotterdam) degrees and has worked in industry for over 30 years in the nuclear and engineering sectors, including over 20 years in the NDE field, initially with the AEA Technology (AEAT) National NDT Centre from 1998. Subsequently, he managed the AEAT Sonomatic NDE products and field service business, and the Inspection Technologies business as part of the Accentus intellectual property arm of AEAT. He joined RCNDE in 2004, and has been the Managing Director of NDEvR since 2007, when NDEvR was founded as the legal entity representing RCNDE, and its industrial members.

Paul Wilcox is Professor of Dynamics at the University of Bristol. He received an MEng degree in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford (1994) followed by a PhD from Imperial College London (1998). He held an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship (2007-12), was Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department (2015-18) and is a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute for Data Science. In 2015 he co-founded Inductosense Ltd., a spin-out company commercialising inductively-coupled embedded ultrasonic sensors. His research interests include array transducers, embedded sensors, guided waves, structural health monitoring, elastodynamic scattering, signal processing and machine learning.

Colin Brett has a Physics degree (1980) and a DPhil (1984) from the University of Oxford for the development of magnetic resonance techniques. He then spent 35 years in the power generation industry working within the NDE and Structural Integrity fields for the CEGB, PowerGen, E.ON and Uniper, including a secondment to the Electric Power Research Institute between 1995-97.  For over twenty years he was Manager of the NDT function and responsible for delivering a safe, cost-effective and customer-focused service to plant owners. He has developed and implemented many inspection techniques for nuclear, fossil-fuel, renewable and distribution assets.  In 2016, 2018 and 2019 he received the prestigious Grimwade Medal from the British Institute of NDT for the best paper to appear in Insight in the respective year. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, and is active within the British Institute of NDT where he was Vice President between 2015-17.

Pete Loftus had a 38-year career in instrumentation and measurement with Rolls-Royce, retiring as Head of Measurement Engineering in 2018, and now runs his own consulting business. Pete is responsible for the centre’s research strategy for NDE 4.0. and the team’s champion for broadening the impact of NDE technology.