Our Team

UK Space Design Competition Board

David Dangoor CBE

Honourary President
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 Environmental & Engineering Foundation builds on the fantastic legacy of Sir Naim Dangoor, who supported the competition for a number of years.

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.

Dr Randall S Perry

Dr Perry is the Honorary Chair and founder of the UKSDC, GC, Eco Meet, EDC, EUSDC & AFSDC, and the HSSE²F Space Science Engineering & Environmental Foundation. SSE²F is a registered UK charity and supports the UK, MEA and EU Space Design Competitions and Challenges, the Environmental Design Challenge, the Galactic Challenge, and Eco meets. He is a director of the Global Space Design Challenge. And he is the chairman of Pro Ed et al. Ltd, a commercial limited company that supports the charity. He is 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 six 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 as 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, which was a selection of the Vancouver Film Festival. 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.And the Chairman of Pro Ed etal.

Trustee Advisors

Dr Helen Oliver

Trustee (Safeguarding)
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.

Louis Lyle

Treasurer and Trustee
Louis is a Mathematics and Statistics Graduate from the University of York. Louis is a past participant in the UKSDC and ISSDC, and was invited to join the UKSDC board in 2015. Since then he has held a number of roles in the competition from judge, to CEO, to technical advisor. In March 2023 he joined the Space Science Engineering & Environmental Foundation as a trustee. Louis is the Senior General Ledger Accountant at BAFTA and is in charge of managing the budgets for the Games and Craft Awards, as well as BAFTA's branches in Scotland and Wales.​

Professor Richard Ghail

Trustee and Board Member
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. 

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.

Trisha Saxena

Trustee Co-Chair and Board Member
Trisha holds a Master of Science degree in Physics from Imperial College London. While studying, she was recognised as the Female Undergraduate of the Year in 2017. She currently works as an Investment Associate at the NATO Innovation Fund, a European venture capital fund investing in promising defence, security and space startups. Trisha has been on the Organising Board and a judge at the UK Space Design Competition since 2016, prior to which she competed in the competition herself and was elected to the team representing the UK at the International Space Settlement Design Competition in 2015. She is also the outgoing Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Space Science and Engineering Foundation.

Alison Ahearn

Director of Education
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.

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 (SSE²F), 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.

UKSDC Board members

Victoria Farrant

Board member
Victoria has been a long term volunteer with the UKSDC. She went to Bishop's Stortford College. where she participated in the UKSDC as a student. She was in the winning team and represented Bishop Stortford College and the UK in the Interntional Finals at NASA Kennedy's Space Center Florida

Theo Macklin

Board Member
Theo is just finishing/has just finished his masters in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Imperial College London and is about to begin/has begun a PhD developing new, faster techniques for simulating nuclear reactors. After competing in the UK Space Design Competition from 2016-2018 and competing with the EU team at the international finals at NASA, Theo has gone on to have a wide-ranging involvement with space and nuclear subjects: from leading Imperial College Space Society's Rocket Engine Design Programme; building reaction control thrusters for a cube-sat; reaching the top twenty in The Mars Society's City States competition alongside other UKSDC volunteers; updating maintenance and safety guidelines for part of the JET fusion reactor; and publishing new models and theories for the construction of mechanical counterpressure spacesuits (International Conference on Environment Systems 2022). Theo helps to run a selection of the UKSDC's events and is continually looking to add to its educational value while making it more enjoyable. Theo doesn't have time to do much else, although he manages to run a weekly Dungeons and Dragons game!

Aadil Kara

Board Member
Aadil first became involved with the SSE²F as a student participant; later as a volunteer; then as an organiser and competition board member. He was the Galactic Challenge Chair at the start of COVID-19 and organised the Digital Competitions, which accidentally became the SSE²F’s largest programme that year. Aadil is an analyst in the UK Civil Service and holds a degree in physics from Imperial College London. His current interests include the London Underground and learning about effective ways to positively impact the world.

Neelesh Ravichandran

Board Member
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

Board Member
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.

Liam Donnelly

Board Member
Liam first competed in the UK Space Design Competition in the 2019/2020 cycle, although his competition experience was not all plain sailing. Despite losing his first Regional qualifying competition, the space design bug had well and truly bitten and Liam returned through the video competition to the National, and later International, Finals which he won in 2020. After returning for another successful cycle of competitions in the 2020/2021 academic year, Liam still hadn't got enough space designing done and has continued to return as a volunteer. His work as Competition Resources Manager has seen vast updates to the UKSDC website, including updating all of the settlement and subcontractor information which is essential to the UKSDC universe. Liam is currently studying Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College London and is hoping to specialise in spacecraft engineering in his third year.