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Jonathan M. Cullen (Professor)

Jonathan Cullen is a Professor of Sustainable Engineering at the University of Cambridge and a University Lecturer in Energy, Transport and Urban Infrastructure. He leads the Resource Efficiency Collective and has a reputation for top-down studies of resource systems, bringing skills in developing new metrics to reflect both energy and material consequences of materials production. Jonathan studied Petrochemical and Process Engineering in New Zealand and worked as process engineer in the chemical sector for 10 years, before moving to Cambridge, UK to undertake an MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development, PhD in Energy Efficiency and a Research Associate position. Jonathan is currently an Investigator on the £5.2m UKFIRES program grant and the £1.25m project “CirPlas: Circular Economy Approaches to Eliminate Plastic Waste”. He is a Lead Author for the IPCC AR6 Industry Chapter, an Expert Adviser to the IEA Technology Roadmaps, and co-authored the book Sustainable Materials: With Both Eyes Open, which pioneered the concept of material efficiency for energy-intensive industries.

Karla Cervantes Barrón (Senior Research Associate)

Karla is a Senior Research Associate in the Resource Efficiency Collective at the University of Cambridge working on the Climate Compatible Growth programme. Her research focuses on the critical and bulk materials used in low-carbon energy and transport systems including future material demand and supply. Karla has engaged with CCG partner countries including Lao PDR, Viet Nam and Zambia to conduct research on industrial efficiency and critical mineral supply. Karla is also working on resilience of critical mineral supply chains and mineral value addition in Africa. Karla completed her PhD on the level of energy services used in different countries in December 2020 at the University of Cambridge. Prior to this, Karla worked in the non-alcoholic beverage sector in Mexico in two of the biggest global companies in the areas of quality, operations and environmental responsibility. Karla studied Chemical Engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and obtained an MSc in Environmental Systems Engineering from University College London.

Mehrnoosh Heydari (Research Associate)

Mehrnoosh is a Research Associate, working on the Climate Compatible Growth  (CCG) programme. She is working on measures of critical minerals supply chain resilience, aiming to mitigate these minerals’ supply risks. Mehrnoosh has earned her Ph.D. in Mining Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran polytechnics), Iran. During her doctoral dissertation, she researched the environmental, economic, and social impacts of deep and large-scale open-pit mines, with a focus on copper mines.

Natanael Favero Bolson

Natanael Bolson (Research Associate)

Natanael is mapping energy and material flows to establish efficient resources use in the foundation industries as part of the TransFIRe project. His background is in the analysis of energy systems towards sustainable development. He holds a PhD in Energy Resources and Petroleum Engineering and a MSc in Mechanical Engineering from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. Prior to KAUST, he obtained a BSc in Renewable Energy and Environment Engineering at the Federal University of Pampa in Brazil.


Baptiste Andrieu (Research Associate)

Baptiste is a Research Associate working on the Climate Compatible Growth (CCG) programme. He aims to model critical mineral supply to find out how Global South countries can capture more value from mineral processing. He holds a PhD in earth and environmental sciences and a MEng in materials science from Grenoble-Alpes University, France. During his PhD, Baptiste worked on the construction of a stock and flow consistent model to calculate raw materials needs for the construction of infrastructures in every world region over the period 1900-2050. He also focused on using input-output modelling in order to regionalize economic exchanges and impacts offshoring in that model.

Ana Morgado

Ana Morgado (PhD Student)

Ana is a PhD student investigating innovative metrics  to assess resource efficiency in emissions-intensive industries. The goal of Ana’s research is to develop a simple and comprehensive tool that allows policy-makers and (public and private) investors to understand the efficiency of the combined use of materials and energy during manufacturing, and its impact on emissions. Ana has a Master’s in Chemical Engineering – Energy and Environment from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, and a MPhil in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology from the University of Cambridge looking at the impacts of increasing Arctic temperatures on the destabilisation of methane hydrates reservoirs within permafrost. In 2023, Ana interned as an Energy Analyst at the International Energy Agency having contributed to some of the Agency’s flagship publications such as the World Energy Outlook.


Luke Cullen (PhD Student)

Do you have the feeling that everything is connected somehow? Well, so does Luke. For his PhD, as part of the AI for Environmental Risks CDT, Luke is developing a framework based on graph representation learning to map greenhouse gas emissions sources as part of a global network. Luke has a Master’s degree in Geophysics from the University of Leeds, after which he spent two years working as a contractor in the mining and energy industries in Australia. He then returned to the UK as a software developer and has recently completed an MRes using machine learning to accelerate damage assessments following natural disasters.

Scott Jeen

Scott Jeen (PhD Student)

Scott is interested in machine intelligence and its capacity to help humans reduce their societal emissions. In practice, this means writing machine learning algorithms – primarily Deep Reinforcement Learning techniques (DRL) and Gaussian Processes (GPs) – to optimise the control of equipment in buildings and industrial processes. He’s particularly interested in a DRL agent’s ability to take actions that, at first, seem counter-intuitive to humans, but later provide us a richer understanding than we could have achieved alone (cf. AlphaGo’s move 37). He believes these agents can teach us much that we do not yet understand about the complex systems fundamental to climate change mitigation. In the past, Scott has completed engineering degrees at the University of Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh, conducted research with the Use Less Group at Cambridge, and worked as a corporate consultant. His research is generously funded by the EPSRC, Emerson Electric and Sir Sean Connery’s Scottish International Education Trust.

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Grace Beaney-Colverd (PhD Student)

Grace is a PhD student exploring the potential uses of earth observation and remote sensing in assessing buildings for retrofit. She has a masters degree in Physics and Philosophy from the University of Oxford, and spent three years working as a strategy consultant in London in the retail and payments sector. Grace then completed an MRes as part of the AI for Environmental Risks CDT using deep learning to automate post-hurricane damage assessments.


Ana Boskovic (PhD Student)

Ana is a second year PhD student in the Resource Efficiency Collective supervised by Prof. Jonathan Cullen. Her PhD is sponsored by the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero to study the material impacts of delivering net zero buildings in the UK. Ana is exploring how circular economy strategies and low embodied carbon materials can be integrated into retrofit supply chains. Ana completed her master’s degree in 2022 in Environmental Technology: Business and the Environment at Imperial College London and has a background in green chemistry, having graduated from the University of Nottingham with a BSc Chemistry degree in 2021. 


Lihani du Plessis (PhD Student)

Lihani is a PhD student with a multidisciplinary background interested in the interconnections of various systems that affect health. The goal of her PhD research is to understand how to make the NHS medical supply chains more socially sustainable and free from Modern Slavery. Prior to her PhD she received an MPH in public health from the University of Alberta, MPhil in history and philosophy of science from Cambridge, and bachelor’s degrees in history and biological sciences from Oregon State University.

Ella Jennings

Ella Jennings (PhD Student)

Ella is a second year PhD student, inspecting global energy conversion chains and analysing energy storage, energy transportation, and what this means for energy security. She first studied for a BSc in Astrophysics and Geophysics at University College London before moving into engineering, completing the Energy Technologies MPhil at Cambridge University in 2021. For her master’s thesis she researched energy conversion pathways and their efficiencies through the global energy system, abstracting away from technical devices to the fundamental conversions between energy forms. Ella then worked in the Resource Efficiency Collective as a research assistant on the C-THRU project, operationalising the petrochemical industry’s Geographical Archetype Model.


Laura Prestwich (Centre Coordinator)

Laura joined Resource Efficiency Collective in August 2023 as Centre Coordinator. She previously studied Modern Languages at Cambridge University, specialising in German and Spanish. Laura is particularly interested in fostering good relationships and a collaborative dynamic within the group. She enjoys communicating research and activities within the group to a wider audience.

Past People

Cyrille Dunant

Cyrille Dunant (Postdoctoral Research Associate)

Dr Dunant holds a PhD in Material science. His background in concrete durability has led him to develop an interest in design and efficient use of materials. He is now currently working on two projects, both centred on making better use of steel in construction. The first explores the barriers to steel reuse, an important potential source of carbon and energy savings. The second project looks at the design process in construction and the role of material efficiency in building conception.


James Kinch (PhD Student)

James is undertaking an MRes + PhD programme exploring the research topics of energy flexibility and digital twins. He is particularly interested in exploring the use of digital twins as a tool for improving understanding and the operation of the built environment. He explores how metadata schema can enable better data use within the built environment, particularly in relation to reducing the carbon emissions of existing buildings requiring retrofit. Before joining the Resource Efficiency Collective, James undertook an integrated masters in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds, including a year working in industry for an industrial technology company and a built environment engineering consultancy. He also carried out several research internships within the Soft Robotics Laboratory at Leeds, and one summer research placement at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).


Takuma Watari (Academic Visitor)

Takuma is a tenure-track researcher at the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), Japan, and an adjunct fellow at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. He is currently a visiting research fellow at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. He received his PhD from the University of Tokyo in 2021, focusing on the global metal cycles in a zero-emission world. His PhD thesis won the Dean’s Award and he was the first in his department to earn the right to complete the PhD program in two years. He is currently leading several research projects funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and is a core researcher in the “Material Flow Innovation Research Program,” a five-year research project underway in the Material Cycles Division of the NIES.

Samantha Islam

Samantha Islam (Research Associate)

In 2021 Samantha completed her PhD on efficiency improvement in food supply chains via traceability under Commonwealth scholarship. She undertook a research-Masters on Sustainable Manufacturing from Monash University, Australia and a Bachelor on Industrial and Production Engineering from BUET, Bangladesh. Samantha worked as a Quality assurance officer at the Department of Supply Chain at Save the Children. Before coming to Cambridge, she pursued another research position at UNSW based in Australian Defence Force Academy for a year.

Joanna Wakeling

Joanna Wakeling (Centre Coordinator)

Joanna joined Resource Efficiency Collective in September 2020 as Centre Coordinator. Previously, she taught English as a Second Language in Hong Kong and Cambridge, and then became Academic Manager at an English language school. She is particularly interested in bringing the work of the group to a wider audience and making the conversation around resource efficiency accessible and inclusive.

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Amir Keshavarzzadeh (Academic Visitor)

Amir is a master’s student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich), Switzerland. He is currently a visiting research fellow conducting his master’s thesis as part of the Climate Compatible Growth (CCG) project, which focuses on the low-carbon transition in developing-country energy and transport systems. Amir’s areas of interest are grid adaptation for a green future, niche renewables, the oil/gas market, energy policy, and optimisation. He has been actively involved in United Nation Development Program (UNDP) projects in under-developed countries and has served as a freelance journalist and environmental activist.

Fanran Meng

Fanran Meng (Research Associate)

Fanran is a Research Associate working on the critical review and data modelling and uncertainty across petrochemical sectors as part of the C-THRU project. Previously, he was a research fellow in Sustainable Material and Technologies at the University of Nottingham. He received his PhD degree in Materials Engineering and Materials Design from the University of Nottingham in 2017. His research focuses on resource efficiency and life cycle sustainability which integrates engineering and science-based disciplines with insights from economic sciences to develop system optimisation and policy relevant strategies.


Susie Dobson (Content Editor)

Susie Dobson is a content editor for the Refficiency working group. She supports the group with editing, writing, and digital content creation for the C-THRU project and other research initiatives. Susie recently completed an MPhil in Anthropocene Studies in Cambridge University’s Department of Geography and is especially interested in how different academic disciplines approach sustainability research and practice.

Gabriel Carmona

Gabriel Carmona Aparicio (Research Fellow)

Gabriel is a Marie Curie Research Fellow working on resource efficiency, material/energy services and the circular economy, as part of the CircNexSt project. In 2020, Gabriel completed his PhD in Sustainable Energy Systems at the University of Lisbon (Portugal). He focused on the stock-flow-service nexus to facilitate a more comprehensive analysis of resource production, consumption, and accumulation. Prior to joining the Resource Efficiency Collective, Gabriel worked on several H2020 projects, where he assessed the sustainability of emerging technologies. He also has over fifteen years of experience working as a consultant and sustainability professional. He advised Latin American companies in the public transport, infrastructure, and hydrocarbon sectors. Gabriel obtained an Environmental Engineering degree at La Salle University (Colombia) and a master’s degree in Energy Efficiency and Industrial Ecology at the University of Zaragoza (Spain).

Cuicui Xiao

Cuicui Xiao (Academic Visitor)

Cuicui Xiao is an Assistant Professor at School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Science & Technology Beijing, China. She is currently visiting the Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge for eight months. She completed her PhD at Renmin University of China and is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Tsinghua University. Cuicui’s research interests mainly focus on Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy and Environmental Management.

Jose Azevedo

José Azevedo (Research Associate)

José is mapping the flows of resources in the UK supply chain and developing a solid-state welding process based on metal powder. This work is part of the UK FIRES programme. He completed his PhD in the Use Less Group in 2019, which was sponsored by Tata Steel UK. In his PhD, José developed a welding rig that reduced the time required to produce solid-state welds with metal powder from hours to minutes and also mapped the global material and energy flows of powder metallurgy. José has a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Porto and joined Resource Efficiency Collective in 2019.

Michal Drewniok

Michał Drewniok (Postdoctoral Research Associate)

Michal is a Research Associate in Material Efficiency in Construction at the Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge. His background is civil engineering and he holds a M.Sc. Eng. with PhD in concrete technology pending from Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice, Poland. During his PhD, he worked on the technological factors which determine the self-compacting concrete formwork pressure. Prior to his current position, Michal worked as a Site Engineer and Concrete and Production Technologist at Precast Concrete Manufacture.

Omar Abo Madyan

Omar Abo Madyan (Research Associate)

Omar is a Research Associate in material-efficient construction. His background is in civil engineering and sustainability with a PhD in material science focusing on biodegradable aerogels made from sustainable and renewable materials for the construction industry. His background in material formulation and whole life carbon analysis led him to work on several European projects focusing on innovative low carbon construction composites/materials, i.e. ICECLAY, and GELCLAD. He is currently working on assessing the material efficiency for the Automating Concrete Construction project (ACORN), while simultaneously working with Expedition Engineering to assess the material efficiency of industry partners’ own processes and help guide the industry towards improved material efficiency.


Jennifer Bitting (PhD Student)

Jennifer is researching a resource efficient means of obtaining sustainable water supply for California’s Central Coast. She has a BS in Environmental Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and an MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development from Cambridge University. Jennifer is a registered professional civil engineer (PE) in the state of California. She worked for the California Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board for 7 years as Storm Water Program Manager.

Sebastian Brazell (Research Assistant)

Sebastian graduated with a first class honours degree BSc in Computer Science at Anglia Ruskin University in July 2015. During his studies he focused primarily on software development and human computer interaction. For his major project he investigated the application of wearable technologies in predicting health related epidemics, such as influenza. The focus on which was the current ability of wearable devices to accurately monitor and identify activity of a wearer throughout a typical day. Since graduating he has been working as a Junior Graphic Designer.

Matteo Craglia (PhD Student)

Matteo graduated with a 1st class honours in mechanical engineering (BAI) from Trinity College Dublin and subsequently completed an MPhil in Energy Technologies in Cambridge in 2016. Matteo’s PhD research focuses on energy efficiency in the rapidly evolving transportation sector and aims to assess how much engineering efficiency improvements in vehicles lead to real energy savings. Matteo is funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPSRC).


Shobhan Dhir (Research Assistant)

Shobhan graduated with a first class honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Newcastle before completing an MPhil in Energy Technologies at the University of Cambridge. In collaboration with Emerson Electric, Shobhan worked to optimise the presentation of visual interfaces (such as Sankey diagrams) for resource efficiency analysis. Shobhan is now completing a DPhil in novel battery chemistries at the University of Oxford.

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Robert Flicker (Research Assistant)

Robert is a Research Assistant researching carbon clarity in the global petrochemical supply chain. He studied Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Western Australia. Robert has over five years of experience consulting in the energy and resources sector and working with the Australian Federal Government to improve supply chain policy. In 2020 Robert completed the MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development at the University of Cambridge and is applying for a PhD with Resource Efficiency Collective focusing on investigating emissions transparency in the petrochemical supply chain.


Lukas Gast (Research Assistant)

Lukas joined the Resource Efficiency Collective to work on resources use and industrial symbiosis in the foundation industries as part of the TransFIRe project. The goal is to identify best practices and benchmarks to increase resource efficiency within the foundation industries (steel, cement, chemicals, metals and paper). He previously studied Industrial Engineering at TU Berlin and KTH Stockholm. Besides work, he enjoys travelling and organising field trips to industrial production sites.

Ana Gonzalez Hernandez (PhD Student)

Ana graduated with a first class honours  MEng in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College London in July 2014. Shortly after, in October 2014, she started her PhD in the University of Cambridge in collaboration with Emerson Electric. The aim of her PhD is to evaluate the potential of coupling the use of Sankey diagrams for energy and material flow analysis to site-level process analysis in a factory. Data collected from installed process control systems will be used to perform thermodynamic analyses on the site’s process streams.

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Aurelia Hibbert (Research Assistant)

Aurelia is a Research Assistant covering the area of Low Carbon Concrete Technologies (LCCT), specifically the understanding and uptake of these technologies in the UK Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) sector. Aurelia studied her undergraduate and Master of Engineering degrees at Cambridge, working with Resource Efficiency Collective for her final thesis on the uncertainty of embodied energy calculations for structures. She also has experience as a consultant in the Australian energy sector, working with clients to decarbonise their energy supply and support the energy transition. (Photo credit: Si Barber)


Peter G. Levi (PhD Student)

Peter graduated with a first class honours degree in Civil Engineering (MEng) from the University of Bristol, having spent a year studying abroad at the University of California at Davis. He then went to work in industry as an engineering consultant for two years, before pursuing post-graduate study. Peter completed an MPhil degree in Engineering for Sustainable Development at the University of Cambridge, exploring uncertainty in levelised cost estimates for electricity generation technologies in the UK, and was published as an article in the journal Energy Policy.

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Claudio Lubis (Research Assistant)

Claudio recently graduated in 2021 with an MPhil in Energy Technologies from the University of Cambridge. His dissertation focused on projecting various electricity demand scenarios and evaluating the material implications (demands, emissions and economics) of energy technologies for Indonesia in the foreseeable future. Prior to Cambridge, he holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Petroleum Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, with a focus on drilling and reservoir engineering. He is very excited to be part of the Resource Efficiency Collective, where he will be working on the TransFIRe project, aimed at identifying the best practices and benchmarks to increase resource efficiency within the foundation industries (chemicals, cement, ceramics, glass, metals and paper). 

Charalampos (Harry) Michalakakis (PhD Student)

Harry graduated from University College London with a 1st class honours MEng in Chemical Engineering with a dissertation on modelling the use of CO2 in enhanced oil recovery. He completed an MPhil in Energy Technologies at the University of Cambridge with a masters thesis on resource efficiency in ammonia production. He is continuing this research as a PhD student looking at methodologies of identifying resource savings in the chemical industry. Find him on Twitter.

Leonardo Paoli (PhD Student)

Leonardo graduated as a mechanical engineer from Imperial College London in 2014. During his undergraduate studies he conducted research on sustainability related topics such as sustainable transport policy and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of a hybrid concentrated solar power plant. After his graduation he worked as a Trainee for the European Commission in the Directorate General for Research and Innovation. Leonardo’s PhD aims to build an Ashby-type map for energy efficiency of conversion devices relating energy efficiency and cost to other physical variables.


Arthur Poole (Project Assistant)

Arthur is a gap year student working as a Project Assistant largely on the C-THRU project. He will be assisting the team in their critical review and getting involved in other Refficiency projects. He is excited to contribute to the work of the group and gain knowledge and first-hand experience in this field. With A-Levels in Maths, Chemistry and Biology, Arthur will be studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Nottingham.

Tatiana Vandermark

Tatiana Vandermark (Project Assistant)

Tatiana is a first year Chemistry student at the University of Oxford with an interest in energy efficiency. She was a member of her school’s green team, focussing on improving access to sustainable transport options for younger students and promoting renewable energy awareness. Tatiana will be predominantly assisting on the C-THRU project and its first year report. She is looking forward to learning about the work of the group and seeing how she can contribute to the project’s goals.