Academic and management team 

Academic Team

Clive Roberts profile pictureProfessor Clive Roberts

Director of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education 
Professor of Railway Systems  

Professor Roberts leads a broad portfolio of research aimed at improving the performance and safety of systems, including a strategic partnership in the area of data integration with Network Rail. His research interests lie in the areas of: fault detection and diagnosis; system modelling and simulation; optimisation and data analysis for decision support, applied to railway operations, asset management and command, control and communication systems.

Professor Roberts serves as a technical expert for the INCOSE (International Council on Systems Engineering) Rail Interest Group (RIG). He is a Visiting Professor at Nanyang University (Singapore) and Beijing Jiaotong University. In 2013 he established, and is now Director of, the Anhui/Birmingham Rail Transportation Research Institute in Hefei, China. He heads a team of 12 research fellows and 24 PhD students. Since 2001 he has published over 100 scientific papers.

Anson Jack profile pictureProfessor Emeritus Anson Jack

Professor Emeritus
International Railway Benchmarking

Professor Emeritus Jack has recently been appointed to BCRRE to promote international railway benchmarking and other research, and to develop the extensive international relationships the University has already established across the globe. 

He began his career at British Rail where he joined as a graduate trainee in 1979. He also worked at Railtrack and Network Rail, before joining RSSB in 2003. He continues to work at the company as Director of Commercial and Strategy. His credentials also include membership of: the Technical Advisory Board of the International High Speed Rail Association, based in Tokyo; the Transportation Research Board Committee for the review of the Federal Railroad Administration research and development programme; the Organising Committee for the World Congress on Railway Research, and the UK rail industry’s Technical Strategy Leadership Group. 

Roger Dixon profile pictureProfessor Roger Dixon

Professor of Control Systems Engineering 

Professor Dixon recently joined BCRRE in May 2018 to lead the Control Systems theme and is a specialist in Mechatronics, Condition Monitoring, Fault Detection, Systems Engineering and applied Control Systems.

In 1992, Professor Dixon was awarded a BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering and a MSc in Mechatronics in 1993 from Lancaster University. He studied for a PhD in 'Discrete Time Modelling and Control' at the Centre for Research in Environmental Systems and Statistics (CRES), graduating in 1996. In October 1996, Roger took a position at ALSTOM in Leicester. Here he worked on and managed R&D projects involving the application of modelling, control and health monitoring techniques. Professor Dixon joined Loughborough University as a Senior Lecturer in September 2003 and was promoted to Professor in 2013, having built a substantial Control Systems Group. This was followed by periods as Associate Dean for Research and Dean of Electronic Electrical and Systems Engineering at Loughborough.


Paul PlummerProfessor Paul Plummer

Professor in Rail Strategy

Professor Plummer joined the university in 2021 following two decades of executive leadership roles in U.K. and European transportation. In the U.K. he was Chief Economist at the Rail Regulator, then Group Strategy Director at Network Rail and most recently Chief Executive of Rail Delivery Group. In Europe he was President of European Infrastructure Managers (EIM).

Professor Plummer's current areas of interest involve bringing customer-focus and economics to a wide range of engineering research, teaching and industry engagement. Current research include organisation or industry reform, innovation and use of digital-twins to inform decision-making throughout project life-cycles. He combines his work at the university with non-executive directorships in the energy and social-housing sectors.

Felix Schmid profile pictureProfessor Felix Schmid

Professor Emeritus
Professor of Railway Systems

Professor Schmid led the delivery of MSc programmes in Railway Systems Engineering and Integration and in Railway Risk and Safety Management. Based on these programmes, he  developed short courses on railway systems integration for a number of organisations, including Bechtel, HMRI and London Underground.

He supervised PhD students working in areas such as train control algorithms, evaluation of the benefits of systems engineering, human factors in control rooms, freight demand modelling and simulator based train driver training. He co-organised the international conference High Speed Rail 1964-2064: Celebrating Ambition which took place at the University in December 2014. The event attracted over 200 academic and industry leaders in high speed rail. 

Dr Holly Foss profile pictureDr Holly Foss

Director of Education
Lecturer in Railway Systems Education

Dr Holly Foss leads education within BCRRE, including the MSc and Degree Apprenticeships in Railway Systems Engineering and Integration and in Railway Safety and Control Systems.

Dr Foss joined BCRRE full-time in 2018 as lecturer with specialisms in educational design and development, equality, diversity, and inclusion, and internationalisation. Dr Foss supervises a range of projects in these areas, as well as teaching railway systems, operations, and development.

Stuart-Hillmansen profile pictureDr Stuart Hillmansen

Senior Lecturer in Electrical Energy Systems

Dr Hillmansen is a Senior Lecturer in Electrical Energy Systems and Head of the BCRRE Traction Research Group. His recent research has been supported by the European Commission, EPSRC, Network Rail, Atkins and the Department for Transport. He has re-established the University’s international reputation for traction research and produced fundamental work which has a direct and current benefit to the railway industry. In 2014, Stuart was elected as the Academic Chairman of the Railway Research UK Association (RRUK-A), representing UK universities on the rail industry’s Technical Strategy Leadership Group.  

Michael Burrow profile pictureDr Michael Burrow

Senior Lecturer, Maintenance Management, Asset Management and Geotechnical Engineering

Dr Burrow is a lecturer in the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Birmingham and obtained his MA in Engineering from Cambridge University in 1994, where he studied at Jesus College. After completing his first degree, he joined the University of Birmingham to undertake a PhD in the School of Civil Engineering’s Highways Group. Since the completion of his PhD, he has worked at the University of Birmingham on various highway and railway related asset management, maintenance and systems engineering projects. His research interests are primarily focused on road and railway asset management and he was awarded the Telford Premium in 2005.

Dr Burrow also has a number of external appointments including the Director of Highway Management Services Ltd (HMS), which provides highway maintenance management software and consultancy to road agencies worldwide and he leads the Infrastructure Pole of the European Railway Network of Excellence (EURNEX). 

Sak Kaewunruen profile pictureDr Sakdirat Kaewunruen

Senior Lecturer in Railway and Civil Engineering 
Year 2 Director 

Dr Kaewunruen is a Senior Lecturer in Railway Civil Engineering. He holds a PhD in Civil Engineering with the particular expertise in Structural Engineering (Railway Infrastructure) from the University of Wollongong (UoW), Australia, and completed a Leadership program at John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, MA, USA. He has over 14 years of professional experience in both public and private sectors, and is a Chartered Engineer in both Civil and Structural Colleges. He held visiting appointments at various institutions, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Chalmers University of Technology’s Railway Mechanics Centre in Gothenburg Sweden, and Railway Technical Research Institute in Tokyo Japan. He has served on the editorial boards of many international journals, including Structural Monitoring and Maintenance, Shock and Vibration, Journal of Structures, Scientific World Journal, and International Conference of Railway Technology. 

Mayorkinos Papaelias profile pictureDr Mayorkinos Papaelias

Senior Lecturer - Metallurgy and Materials 
Dr Papaelias is an expert in metallurgy, NDT and condition monitoring. He is currently involved as project coordinator in several industrial collaborative research projects related to the wind power and railway sectors which are financially supported by the European Commission.


Andrew Quinn profile pictureDr Andrew Quinn

Senior Lecturer in Atmospheric Science and Engineering 

Dr Quinn moved to the University of Birmingham as RCUK Research Fellow in Civil Engineering in 2005. His research focuses on the interactions between infrastructure, particularly transport systems, renewable energy and extreme weather events/climate change and how these impact on the resilience of communities and services. 

He was part of the internationally recognised Wind Engineering group at the former BBSRC Silsoe Research Institute. He has been investigator on projects for EPSRC, BBSRC, NERC, defra , EU and industry funded work for many organisations including the UK Met Office and Network Rail. This work has included complex full-scale measurement campaigns supporting high profile projects such as the main Olympic stadium in Stratford, mathematical modelling, and statistical treatments to combine observations and modelling in risk analysis. 

Lei Chen profile pictureDr Lei Chen

Lecturer - Railway Traffic Management

Dr Lei Chen is a Birmingham Fellow (research focused Lecturer) in railway traffic management and train control. He leads the Railway Control and Simulation Subgroup at the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education where his research work is delivered. His research interest mainly covers railway traffic management and train control, railway simulation and testing, and railway safety critical system design. He works extensively with the railway industry in UK and overseas including Europe, China and US. He was awarded IMechE W. A. Agnew Meritorious/C. N. Goodall Award in 2010, and The Michael K. O’Rourke PhD Publications Award in 2012.

John Easton profile pictureDr John Easton

Lecturer - Railway Data Integration and Management

Dr John Easton is a Lecturer working with the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education at the University of Birmingham. His research interests centre on methods for the storage, processing and display of railway related datasets – in particular data representation and exchange via ontologies, manipulation and integration of data relevant to the multimodal transport system, and cyber security in industrial control systems. His work in the rail domain has included the data management components of the TRIME third-rail monitoring system, which in 2012 was the joint winner of the Stephenson Award for Engineering Innovation at the National Rail Awards, and a range of EU-funded projects including INTERAIL, AUTOMAIN, OnTime and Capacity4Rail. On a day-to-day basis, John is heavily involved in the Centre’s £1.65 million Strategic Partnership with Network Rail on the theme of data management and integration. 

Hassan Hemida profile pictureDr Hassan Hemida

Senior Lecturer 

Dr Hemida has more than ten years of experience in both academia and industry, running research projects that involve steady and unsteady simulations of single and multiphase flows. He has a PhD in Trains Aerodynamics and a Licentiate (Diploma) of Engineering in the field of Thermofluids. Although, he has focused much of his work on wind loads on ground vehicles, he has conducted other successful projects that involve multiphase flow, heat transfer, combustion, mass transfer and shape optimization. He has established a strong world-wide reputation in the field of CFD and its application for train aerodynamics.  He has been involved in many research projects, looking at slipstream and side-wind forces on trains and buses, sponsored by RRUK, Network Rail, and Swedish agency for academic research (VINNOVA), Scania and Bombardier.

Beside his expertise in CFD, he has also been involved in a number of projects including Finite Element Analysis of Train-Rail interaction. The quality of his research has been recognised through 13 journal papers and over 20 peer reviewed conference papers, one of them has been awarded the Best Conference paper in 2007.

Edd Stewart profile pictureDr Edd Stewart

Lecturer - Railway Condition Monitoring

Dr Edd Stewart is a lecturer in digital logic and microprocessor systems. His research work is delivered through the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education where he leads on projects in the areas of condition monitoring, energy, winter preparation, and non-destructive testing. Edd is involved in research programmes in the UK, Europe, and also in the far East where he is also involved in university relations and overseas teaching. Edd specialised in reconfigurable computing and particularly custom architectures for memory hierarchies, along with the development of APIs for various pieces of reconfigurable hardware. Edd’s PhD is in the development of hardware architectures for obtaining, and managing the data associated with the instrumentation of railway vehicles. 

Dr Pietro Tricoli profile pictureDr Pietro Tricoli

Lecturer in Electrical Power and Control 

Dr Pietro Tricoli received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Naples Federico II, Italy, 2005.

He was a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI, in 2005. In 2006, he was also a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan. From 2006 to 2011 he was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, Italy. He is currently a Lecturer in Electrical Power & Control with the School of Electronic, Electrical, and Systems Engineering at the University of Birmingham. He is the author of more than 50 scientific papers published in international journals and conference proceedings. His research interests include the use of storage devices for road electric vehicles, tramways, and rapid transit systems, the wind and photovoltaic generation, and the modelling of switching power converters. He is also a member of IEEE and of IEEE Industrial Electronics Society (IES)

Dr David Soper
Lecturer in Aerodynamics

BCRRE Commercial and Professional Services Team 

Alex Burrows profile pictureAlex Burrows


Alex leads the BCRRE Commercial and Professional Services team that sits alongside the BCRRE academic group. This includes supporting the leaderships of the UK Rail Reserach and Innovation Netrwork (UKRRIN) and managing the UKRRIN Centre of Excellenec in Digital Systems, hosted by BCRRE. He is also Managing Director of the Rail Allinace, the UKs specialist rail SME network.

Alex is an expert in transport policy, strategy and innovation with significant experience gained from his previous experience as Marketing & Strategy Director at Alstom and prior to that at Atkins, the Transport Systems Catapult and the West Midlands Transport Authority.  He is currently also undertaking research for his PhD in public policy and railway strategy.

Jenny Illingsworth profile picture

Dr Jenny Illingsworth

Operations Manager, BCRRE
Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 4165

Jenny is responsible for the smooth operations of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education. Please contact Jenny to discuss any new projects for research, to make an initial enquiry about contacting the BCRRE team, and to find out about educational opportunities.

robert hopkin profile picture

Rob Hopkin 

Head of Development (Research and Education)