Conference Speakers 2023

Bran Matthews
Dr Brian Matthews  

Dr Brian Matthews leads the DAFNI and Data Science and Technology Group at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL).   

He has over 30 years of experience in R&D development in computing, with a focus on tools, methods and standards for managing accessing research data from scientific experiments.   He took a leading role in the development of the data management infrastructure that supports the ISIS Neutron and Diamond Light Sources, and has worked extensively on European programmes on data infrastructures. He leads the DAFNI team, developing data and modelling infrastructure to support research into national infrastructure, and is Co-Investigator on projects extending its use including OpenCLIM and the UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment initiative.  He is Co-Investigator and Technical Lead on the Physical Sciences Data-science Service, one of EPSRC’s National Research Facilities. 

Bridget Rosewell

Non-Executive Director at UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB), Formerly Commissioner of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) 

Bridget Rosewell is an experienced director, policy maker and economist, with a track record in advising public and private sector clients on key strategic issues. She chairs Atom Bank and the M6 Toll Company and is a non-executive for the UK Infrastructure Bank and Northumbrian Water Group. Among other roles, she has been a Commissioner for the National Infrastructure Commission, chaired DVSA, been Senior Independent Director for Network Rail and Chief Economic Adviser to the Greater London Authority.

She was appointed CBE in December 2018 and is also a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Academy of Social Science and the Society of Professional Economists.  She writes on finance, risk and uncertainty as well as infrastructure and modelling validation.

She has worked extensively on cities, infrastructure and finance, advising on projects in road and rail and on major property developments and regeneration. She has advised on changes to planning regulation and TfL’s finances and has appeared at planning Inquiries.


Bridget Rosewell
Dr Wei Yang
Dr Wei Yang

Co-Founder & CEO, Digital Task Force for Planning; Chairman, Wei Yang & Partners

Dr Wei Yang is an internationally renowned town planner and urban designer who champions a place-based, whole-systems approach to tackle the grand challenges of our times. She is an influential thought leader and a powerful advocate for climate action, nature-based solutions, health and well-being, and social equality. She was named a Net Zero Hero by Digital Leaders in 2022.

Wei is the Chairman of Wei Yang & Partners, an award-winning master planning firm in London. She possesses extensive experience in managing multi-disciplinary teams. Her professional strengths lie in combining innovative planning inspirations with feasible implementation solutions. Wei is a leading figure in researching, promoting, and implementing 21st-century garden city and green and low-carbon development approaches worldwide.

Through her leadership in various areas, Wei builds a bridge between research, development, and policy by leveraging her understanding of and belief in the full potential of spatial planning as a pivotal applied science discipline. Wei is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), and an Honorary Professor at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London.

Wei served as President for 2021 of the RTPI. She champions a revival of spirit and leads the systemic transformation of the planning profession, aiming to achieve collective well-being and fulfilment for all. She holds several board-level and advisory roles across different sectors. Currently, she is a board member of the British Library and Chair of its Capital Projects Committee, a representative of the Global Planner Networks (GPN) at the UN Habitat Profession Forum, and a member of the UN Habitat World Urban Campaign Steering Committee. She will serve as the first female Chair of the Construction Industry Council (CIC) from June 2023.


Dr Kristine Zaidi

Strategic Lead for Literature, Languages and Area Studies, AHRC

Kristine Zaidi joined the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in September 2017 as Strategic Lead for Literature, Languages and Area Studies. 

Her current portfolio includes Public Policy, Public and Engagement and International. She is a programme lead for UKRI strategic theme on Building a Secure and Resilient World. 

Prior to AHRC, Kristine held various positions in the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Her work included data policy, research infrastructure, security and urban studies. 

Kristine started her professional life as a civil servant in the government of the Republic of Latvia, working in international relations at the Ministry of Defence, and strategic planning in the State Chancellery.

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Russell Price

Chair of the Risk Management Committee, International Standards 

Russell brings a unique perspective to Risk, Continuity and Resilience Management based on a breadth and depth of experience across multiple sectors in organisations. He has been at the forefront of development across Risk and Resilience fields for over 20 years and continues to lead industry thinking and professional practice. Russell is an adviser to governments, regulators, and businesses on the management of risk around the world.

He is currently Chair of the Risk Management Committee (TC262) for the International Standards Organization (ISO) responsible for ISO 31000 – the global risk management standard. He was previously Chair of the BSI Risk Committee (RM/1) and continues as a member of the Continuity and Resilience (CAR/1), Governance (G/1) and Societal Security Management (SSM/1) and Information Security (IST/33) Committees.

He also serves on other International Standards Organisations’ Technical Committees covering Climate Change (4Cs), ESG Coordination, Governance (TC309) and Security and Resilience (TC292), as well as Information Security (ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27).

He has been awarded “Industry Personality of the Year” along with various other commendations and awards and in November 2018 was presented with the British Standards Institution Special Leadership Award for his “outstanding contribution to Risk Management”.

He is a leading contributor on work to improve Risk and Resilience planning with a focus on Climate and Extreme Weather, Cyber Risk and Societal Resilience. In line with this expertise Russell has been intensively involved in the development of the new ISO Handbook on Risk Management, the new guidance Standard for Travel Risk Management – ISO 31030:2021 and the work at ISO and in the BSI on Emerging Risk. He is also architect and Editor for a ground-breaking project on how to accelerate progress in the complex field of Sustainability Development. The first major report, Risk and Sustainability 2023 was published in July 2023.   

He is a leading industry figure engaging business and public sector leaders on the importance of changing organisational thinking and focusing on risk management that enhances organisational resilience to deliver positive change. 

Russell is a motorcycle enthusiast, loves rugby and lives in the UK.

Dr. Giuliano Punzo

Lecturer at the University of Sheffield, director of the Sheffield Urban Flows Observatory

Giuliano Punzo obtained an MEng in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Naples (Italy) before getting his PhD in swarm engineering at the University of Stratchlyde, Glasgow. With a core focus on distributed systems, Giuliano moved from aerospace to infrastructure and socio-technical systems, using modelling techniques in the areas of network science, control theory and game theory. Dr Punzo is a Lecturer at the University of Sheffield, director of the Sheffield Urban Flows Observatory, where he also leads the transport theme and member of the DAFNI Governance Board.


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Dr. Bethan Perkins


Bethan’s role as Team Leader of DAFNI is to ensure that platform development progresses smoothly and that the features which are released best serve our user community. She is the Agile Product Owner for DAFNI and coordinates the gathering and processing of user requirements for the platform. Bethan also coordinates the DAFNI technical team as well as supports bid development and project management within DAFNI’s programme of work. Before joining STFC, Bethan’s previous experience was in climate science, science communication and Earth Observation applications development. 

Dr. Ana Mijic

Reader in Water Systems Integration and Director of the Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation, Imperial College London

Ana’s research focuses on advanced systems modelling and water systems analysis. She is leading the development of novel simulation tools focused on quantifying interactions between the water cycle and sustainable development. The work has aim to inform policy, regulatory bodies, and the water industry if and how we can support economic growth whilst ensuring sustainable water use and flood and water quality management under future uncertainties. Prominent areas of research include developing frameworks for a systems approach to catchment and urban water management, including applications to irrigation water use in India, Blue-Green infrastructure and water infrastructure planning under deep uncertainty and urban water-energy nexus. To support systems-level water management analysis, her team has developed Water Systems Integration Modelling (WSIMOD) framework. The WSIMOD includes urban and rural water system models at a catchment scale and simulates flow and water quality. The model can flexibly integrate elements of the whole water cycle, including land management, water and wastewater infrastructure, operational rules, demand behaviour and river water quality, supporting integrated and collaborative decisions for long-term planning of water and land systems. Ana is passionate about pushing the boundaries of scientific evidence for policy and water management plans development and implementation. She worked on multiple knowledge transfer projects and supported steering committees and policy forums. Through her innovation placement with the Environment Agency, she has developed a systems approach to water management in the context of the UK’s 25-Year Environment Plan. Her work was featured in media such as Guardian, Evening Standard, ITV, and Sky News. 

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Professor Richard Dawson

Professor of Earth Systems Engineering and Director of Research in the School of Engineering, Newcastle University

Richard’s research has focused on infrastructure resilience to extreme weather and climate changeHe is a member of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change and Lead Author of the Cities, Settlements and Infrastructure Chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 6th Assessment Report. 


Dr. Francesca Pianosi

Senior Lecturer in Water and Environmental Engineering, School of Civil, Aerospace and Design Engineering, University of Bristol

Francesca’s research focuses on advancing the way mathematical modelling is used to inform decision-making under uncertainty, particularly for water resource and natural risk management. She is an international expert on uncertainty quantification and sensitivity analysis and the lead author of the open-source SAFE toolbox, which is used by thousands of scientists and practitioners worldwide to analyse the propagation of uncertainty in mathematical models.

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Dr. Raghav Pant

Senior Research Associate at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

Raghav holds a Bachelors in Technology in Civil Engineering for Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, a MSc in Civil and Environment Engineering from Princeton University, and a PhD in Industrial Engineering for University of Oklahoma. Raghav is associated with the Oxford Programme for Sustainable Infrastructure Systems (OPSIS),  and has led risk and resilience analysis research teams as part of the EPSRC funded Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium. His analysis of failure criticality of Great Britain’s national infrastructure networks, undertaken in collaboration with Infrastructure UK in HM Treasury was the first piece of evidence instrumental in moving the policy thinking from silo-sectored to a multi-sector and cross-sector one. He led the first evidence-based systems analysis of interdependent network vulnerabilities of UK’s interconnected networks to support the National Infrastructure Commission’s recommendations of a new resilience framework in UK. Raghav has worked with a range of organisations within UK and globally such as World Bank, Global Centre for Adaptation, Department for Transport, National Grid, Network Rail, JBA Group, ARUP, Scottish Water, HR Wallingford, CH2M. He held and holds PI and Co-I roles in UKRI funded project to plan for resilience of interdependent infrastructure networks exposed to multi-hazard impacts and EU H2020 funded project Multi-hazard Infrastructure Risk Assessment for Climate Adaptation. His research paper on vulnerability assessment of Great Britain’s railway infrastructure was awarded the 2016 Lloyds Science of Risk Prize in Systems Modelling, while another paper in co-authorship was runner-up at the 2021 Lloyds Science of Risk Prize in the cyber category. 


Dr. Xilin Xia

Assistant Professor in Resilience Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Birmingham

Xilin is mainly working on computational modelling of natural hazards and their impacts. His research interests cover computational hydraulics, high-performance computing, machine learning and their applications in modelling and understanding physical processes involved in natural hazards such as flooding and landslides. His research was funded by UKRI, the UK Met Office and The Royal Society. He has published over 30 peer-reviewed journal papers. His papers have been highlighted as ‘featured article’ and ‘top cited paper’ by prestigious journals such as Water Resources Research and Advances in Water Resources. By developing new algorithms and models, his work has been critical for new applications such as large-scale impact-based flood forecasting and digital twin for climate resilience. 

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Dr Anna Murgatroyd

Postdoctoral Researcher at the Environmental Change Institute (ECI), University of Oxford

Anna is currently a member of the Environment Agency (EA)/Ofwat National System Simulation Modelling (NSSM) project, the GCRF Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub, and the Food and Climate systems Transformations Alliance. Anna has pioneered risk-based approaches to defining and managing water security in the UK, exploring key trade-offs between competing goals of water resource systems such as ecosystem resilience and the reliability of public water supply. Anna led the technical development of new climate simulations and the Water Resources model for England and Wales (WREW) for the NSSM project, and is working with the EA to undertake joint resilience assessments exploring the impact of climate change on regional and national water resources. 


Dr. Vassilis Glenis

Senior Lecturer in Hydroinformatics, School of Engineering, Newcastle University

His research background is in hydrodynamic modelling, where he has developed advanced shock-capturing finite volume methods and applied them using cloud computing As the originator and main developer of the CityCAT hydrodynamic simulation software, his work has focussed on flood modelling in urban environments, coupling the surface and pipe networks and incorporating blue-green interventions He has also developed and applied stochastic weather generators for climate change impact assessments, notably for the UKCP09 national climate projections. 

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Dr Richard Milton

Senior Researcher, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, UCL

Most recently he has been on secondment to the Alan Turing Institute for AI and Data Science, where he has been developing the current evolution of the “QUANT” spatial interaction model with an emphasis on AI for building new transport infrastructure scenarios for carbon net zero. He has been working on different versions of the QUANT spatial interaction model since the initial development, which was funded by the Future Cities Catapult in 2014. This includes using his QUANT expertise to build a model for the Royal Society’s pandemic response project (RAMP), leading to a RAMP Early Career Investigator Award (RECIA) in 2021.