Our Team

UK Space Design Competition Board

Honourary President, SSEF

David Dangoor CBE

Dangoor Education provides opportunities across the learning spectrum, including sponsorship of Westminster Academy, Open University Massive Open Online Courses, STEM university scholarships, the Dangoor Centre for Medical Education at the Royal Society of Medicine, and the Dangoor Centre for Personalised Medicine at Bar Ilan University. Dangoor Education’s sponsorship of the Space Science & Engineering Foundation builds on the fantastic legacy of Sir Naim Dangoor, who supported the competition for a number of years.

Patron, SSEF

Marcus du Sautoy

Marcus is the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. Formerly a Fellow of All Souls College and Wadham College, he is now a Fellow of New College. He was previously President of the Mathematical Association, an EPSRC Senior Media Fellow and a Royal Society University Research Fellow. His academic work mainly concerns group theory and number theory. In October 2008, he was appointed to the Simonyi Professorship for the Public Understanding of Science, succeeding the inaugural holder Richard Dawkins.

Founder, SSEF

Randall Perry

Dr Perry is the founder of the UKSDC and the Space Science Engineering Foundation (SSEF). He is the Honorary Chair of the SSEF, a registered UK charity. The SSEF supports the UK, MEA and EU Space Design Challenge and the Galactic Challenge. He is a director of the Global Space Design Challenge Ltd that runs a 12 day summer camp at Imperial College London. He is a Senior Research Investigator and a past Royal Society Fellow at Imperial College London. He has a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Washington, has held the US and Canada National Science Foundation Fellowship at Oxford University, and has a NASA certification in Astrobiology. His current focus is on education. In addition, he has published widely in his areas of interest of geology, geochemistry, microbiology and education. He is the author of four adventure novels. Besides scientific talks he enjoys giving talks to a wide variety of public venues for example being invited to give the Public Lecture at the Durham Institute for Advanced Studies on a Definition of Life and as a painter and member of the Chelsea Art Club an invited talk on Science and Art. As a script writer he is a member of the Writers Guild of America West. He is a director and producer with Athene Films, a Canadian film company whose most recent film is Meet Beau Dick. In his spare time he enjoys trekking, scuba diving and flying helicopters and aircraft. He was the president of a company before finishing a Ph.D. later in life and has since visited many of the Earth’s extreme habitats including diving in ‘Alvin’ the deep submersible. Dr Perry was shortlisted for a Sir Arthur Clarke Award in 2013 for his work on USKDC.

Trustee Advisors

Adam Braithwaite

Adam completed his Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering at Imperial College in the summer of 2015, and is now a quantitative strategist at Goldman Sachs focused on pricing and modelling of derivative products across the securities business. In his scarce free time, he enjoys flying, scuba diving, and stealing unattended pizza at the competition finals. Adam was the UKSDC organising chair for 2013/14.

Jian Heseri

Jian started volunteering with UKSDC in 2009, first as a supporting technical specialist and later as judge and “company” CEO. Having completed his Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, he currently works as a reliability engineer in the petroleum industry, specialising in technical risk management and system reliability solutions in the hostile underwater environment. The best treat for his volunteering weekends is seeing creative ideas from young candidates coming together into designs.

Professor Richard Ghail

Richard is Reader in Engineering Geology, based in the Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, with research interests in The London Basin Forum, Intraplate Processes and the Neotectonics of Great Britain, and Plate Tectonics of Buoyant Lithospheres. Professor Ghail is the lead scientist of Envision, an ambitious European Medium Class mission to detect and measure the rates of internal, surface and atmospheric changes on Venus, using the most advanced Earth Observation SAR technology and experience. 

Helen Oliver

Helen is a Research Associate in the Networks and Operating Systems Group at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. She has been volunteering as a Judge and Technical Expert with the UKSDC since 2011, when she was working in the Design Engineering Group at Imperial College London. She has been a Judge at the International Finals at both NASA Johnson and NASA Kennedy. She is the original developer of designVUE, a concept mapping software application for capturing design rationale which was subsequently used in a project at NASA Ames to analyse a case study of system failure. Her current research interests include the Internet of Things, personal data stores and privacy by design, and wearable technology.

Trisha Saxena

Trisha graduated from Imperial College London in 2019 with a Masters of Science in Physics. While studying, she was recognised as the Female Undergraduate of the Year in 2017. She now works in the investment management arm of a leading European bank and is studying for the CFA qualification.
Trisha participated in the 2014 and 2015 national finals and had the chance to represent the UK at the ISSDC in 2015. Since then she has volunteered for the UKSDC, and joined the UKSDC Board in 2015. In 2019, she additionally became a trustee for the Space Science & Engineering Foundation.

Alison Ahearn

Alison Ahearn is a Principal Teaching Fellow at Imperial College London, teaching undergraduates and postgraduates in civil engineering law and management. At College level, she works with the Educational Development Unit on teacher-development and the formalising of systems for recognising the learning achieved by students outside the classroom. Alison joined UKSDC for its first London final and brings boardroom experience from her 10 years as Chair of the Zebra Housing charity (student accommodation). Alison has a particular interest in industry-academic partnerships and versimilitude in project-based learning.​

The UKSDC Board


Jenny Lyons

A passionate believer in the benefits that practical science brings to school based learning, Jenny has taught in both the private and public sectors, and additionally worked with a variety of agencies to promote and fund the setting up of Science Clubs. She has studied at the Universities of Westminster, Sussex and Middlesex. Having initially worked voluntarily for the UKSDC, she is now excited to have the opportunity to extend their project based learning methods to a wider audience, and is looking forward to the continued success of the Space Science Engineering Foundation (SSEF), the AFSDC, EUSDC, MESDC and UKSDC and Galactic Challenges. When not working with SSEF, Jenny enjoys the great outdoors by taking part in Open Water Swimming challenges, as a member of the UK Wild Camping group, and as an assessor and trainer for the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.


Evan Meyrick

Evan completed a degree in Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College London, and currently works as a systems engineer specialising in information security for unmanned air vehicles and communications networks, with a wider interest in global security and counter terrorism.

Evan has been involved with the UK Space Design Competition since 2012, and deeply enjoys helping others further their learning. He additionally sits on the UKSDC Deisgn & Publciations Committee, and chairs the UKSDC Scenario Planning Committee.

Victoria Farrant

Biography incoming...

Scott Fisher

Scott Fisher is an Opto-Mechanical Engineer currently working at Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), UK, where he develops optical payloads for Earth Observation Satellites. He previously worked as a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineer at Insitu Pacific Ltd, Australia, where he designed payloads and platforms for Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS). Scott graduated with an Honours Degree from The University of Queensland, Australia, and has completed the International Space University’s Southern Hemisphere Summer Space Program. He is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). Outside of work, he is an active proponent for Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) education and outreach, and frequently volunteers his time with the IMechE and the UK Space Design Competition.

Aadil Kara

Aadil currently studies Physics at Imperial College.

As an alumnus of the UKSDC final in 2017, and the ISSDC the same year, he has been involved in various activities for the UK Competition from outreach at a local summer school to organising logistics at the internationals. He is enthusiastic to build on the successes of the competition, bringing the experience of science and mathematics to even more students. Outside of studies and Space Design, Aadil is a volunteer tutor, website designer, and can occasionally be found exploring the London Underground.

Sophia Lee Roberts

Sophia is a third year Physics and Philosophy student at King’s College London.

Sophia has been involved with the competition since 2015. After leading her team at two regionals and a national finals, she went on to participate in ISSDC 2018 as a member of the EU team. Returning as a volunteer for both the Galactic Challenge and UKSDC, Sophia has volunteered at numerous events. Joining the Galactic Challenge Board, she was appointed their 2020 Organising Chair. In March 2020, she became the newest member of the UKSDC Board.

Louis Lyle

Louis is a Mathematics and Statistics graduate from the the University of York, and now enjoys working for BAFTA. Having been involved in the competition since 2011, he was part of the winning company in 2014 and was chosen to represent the UK at the ISSDC that year.

Louis has since volunteered extensively at competition events, and was invited to join the UKSDC Board in 2015.

Neelesh Ravichandran

Neelesh is a fourth year Electrical and Electronic Engineering student at Imperial College London.

He became involved in the competition back in 2016, and progressed with his team to the national final in 2017. Since 2018, Neelesh has volunteered regularly for the UKSDC, and even accompanied the UK and EU Teams to the 2018 ISSDC as a team supervisor. He joined the UKSDC Board in March 2020, and was appointed the first chair of the UKSDC Design & Publications Committee.

Alexander Turley-Pound

Alex is a recent Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Warwick.

Competing at national finals in 2015 and 2016, Alex was invited to join the UK Team competing in the 2016 ISSDC. Alex first volunteered at the national final in 2017, and became increasingly involved after becoming the UKSDC webmaster in July 2017. Alex joined the UKSDC Board in October 2019. He became the first chair of the UKSDC Digital Committee in March 2020. In addition, Alex chairs the UKSDC Alumni & Volunteers Committee, and sits on the UKSDC Design & Publications Committee.