Research Staff Development

Fellowship Inaugural Lectures

Holding image for Fellowship Inaugural Lectures. Photo of Tracey Bhamra at Research Conference 2015.

This prestigious lecture series, organised for Research Staff in association with the Loughborough University Research Staff Association, showcases Loughborough University’s Research Fellows, who will present their cutting-edge research and outline their career to-date. The lectures will offer some insight into the careers of some of Loughborough’s leading Early Career Researchers, and will be followed by the opportunity to network with colleagues from across the University.  To read more about each event and to book your place, please expand the relevant tabs below.

Dr Long Seng To - Wednesday 23rd October 2019, 12.00 - 12.45pm

Dr Long Seng To

School of Social Sciences and Humanities

Community Energy Resilience

Globally, there are about 1 billion people with no access to electricity and about 3 billion relying on traditional fuels for cooking and heating. The UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 aims bring universal energy access to all by 2030. At the same time, developing countries are facing multiple stresses, including climate change, natural disasters and conflicts that can cause disruption to their critical infrastructure, such as energy. Progress towards development goals cannot be maintained without building more resilience.

In this talk, I will highlight the need for solutions that build on local capacity, and include different stakeholders and knowledges. I will draw on my current work with communities in Nepal and Malawi which starts from an understanding of the existing resilience strategies that communities use to gain or maintain access to energy. The talk will end with some reflections on technological innovation, the impact that research can make and the emerging field of Humanitarian Engineering.


Long Seng is an Engineering for Development Research Fellow funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering. She has an interdisciplinary background with a BEng in Photovoltaic and Solar Energy Engineering, a BA in History and Philosophy of Science, and a PhD that spans both disciplines. Her previous research included mapping the synergies and trade-offs between energy and the Sustainable Development Goals; agro-industries and clean energy in Africa; capacity development for renewable energy projects in rural China and Indonesia; solar-powered water purification in remote areas in Australia; and local manufacture of solar photovoltaic systems in Nicaragua. She also engages regularly with policy-makers, most recently providing capacity building support for the Department for International Development’s Transforming Energy Access Programme as part of the Low Carbon Energy for Development Network. 

Time and Place

Long Seng's lecture took place on Wednesday 23rd October 2019, follow this link to access a recording of the slides and audio.

Previous Fellowship Inaugural Lectures:

Dr Antonis Vradis - Wednesday 22 November 2017, 12.30-13.30

Dr Antonis Vradis

School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences

The New Spatial Contract: the way we move (and live) in cities today

We perfectly understand the meaning of being "on time". So much of our daily lives revolves around this : scheduling meetings, meeting deadlines, running errands and doing chores at set intervals―in short, managing when we do what. But what about where we do what? Here, I believe, there is a gap in our understanding. Even though we are equally―if not more―aware of the invisible barriers that separate the spaces through which we move, we lack the words to describe these. Take the example of the campus: a lecture theatre is the space to deliver lectures, a kitchenette is where you will prepare a cup of tea or some food, an office is where an academic will work, meet colleagues, etc. Mix up any of these spaces and their use, and things can get pretty strange, pretty fast.

I call this invisible human agreement a "spatial contract". I believe it works in ways that are very similar to the social contract, this implicit agreement we have with the authorities that govern us in terms of how we are meant to act and what we can expect in exchange. And similarly with our conceptualisation of time, the barriers are socially constructed but nevertheless extremely robust. To understand what breaking them could possibly entail, I have been studying contemporary cases where the spatial contract is tested to its limits. From the Brazilian favelas, to migrant camps, to the Greek riots, my aim is to understand the state of the spatial contract today: how and why people challenge the current spatial status quo, and what it might look like in the future.


Antonis grew up in Patras, Greece’s port city and gateway to the West: he has been fascinated by people moving in and through cities ever since. Antonis studied Sociology at University of Leeds, the academic home of Zygmunt Bauman, before moving to London School of Economics to study for two Masters, followed by his PhD, completed under the supervision of Diane Perrons in 2013. Antonis was a Junior Research Fellow at Durham University (2014-2016) before moving to Loughborough as a Vice Chancellor's Research Fellow in September 2016.

Time and Place

This lecture took place Wednesday 22 November 2017, 12.30-13.30, Brockington U005.


This lecture was recorded by the ReVIEW lecture capture system and can be viewed via this link.

Dr Mark Greenaway - Friday 12 January 2018, 12.30-13.30

Dr Mark Greenaway

School of Science

Beyond graphene: 2D crystal stacks

Graphene, an atomically thin, two-dimensional (2D) crystal of Carbon atoms, is the strongest and one of the most conductive materials that has ever been measured.  The discovery of graphene’s remarkable properties since its isolation in 2004 by using Scotch tape to peel back the layers of graphite until only a single atomic layer is left, has inspired the isolation and characterisation of a vast number of other 2D crystals, for example hexagonal boron nitride and the transmission metal dichalcogenides, each with unique and useful properties. 

Recently it has been shown that by stacking these 2D crystals it is possible to create a new class of “designer” materials known as van der Waals (vdW) heterostructures which offer a way to tune and exploit the novel and exotic quantum properties of electrons in 2D materials.  These stacked materials are particularly exciting because we can design the structures to exhibit electron transport characteristics that are tailored for specific device applications, by choosing the appropriate combination of layer materials from the growing library of 2D crystals. 

In this talk, Mark will highlight some of the unusual and exciting properties of 2D materials and consider some of their potential applications.  Mark will then describe various new fundamental physical phenomena recently observed when these layers are stacked together. In particular, he will introduce the graphene-boron nitride tunnel transistor, consisting of two layers of graphene separated by a few layers of boron nitride.  Finally, Mark will show how the unusual properties of the graphene layers determine the quantum mechanical tunnelling of electrons between the layers, and how tunnelling can be tuned by changing the layer configuration to create structures useful for logic devices and high frequency electronics.  


Mark is a theoretical condensed matter physicist with research that currently includes the electronic properties of van der Waals heterostructures (which consist of stacks of different types of 2D crystals), the dynamics of electrons in semiconductor superlattices and the dynamics of ultracold atoms in optical lattices. 

He completed his PhD at the University of Nottingham in 2010, after which he was awarded funding for a Knowledge Transfer Secondment with e2v technologies.  Then, in 2013 he was awarded an Early Career Leverhulme Fellowship at Nottingham to investigate resonant electron tunnelling between the layers of van der Waals heterostructures. He moved to Loughborough University as a Vice Chancellor’s Research fellow in October 2016.  

Time and Place

This lecture took place Friday 12 January 2018, 12.30-13.30 in room WPT005, in the West Park Teaching Hub. 

Dr Oonagh Markey - Wednesday 21 February 2018, 12.30-13.30

Dr Oonagh Markey

School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Can changing the fat composition of the diet reduce cardiometabolic disease risk?

Obesity-related cardiometabolic disorders, including cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes, are one of the greatest global public health burdens. In the UK, CVD is accountable for >25% of deaths and costs the economy approximately £19 billion/annum. There is an urgent need to focus on improving modifiable contributors to CVD risk, including dietary fat intake. Replacement of saturated with unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) is advised as a key strategy for CVD risk reduction.

In her lecture, Oonagh will consider the evidence linking dietary fats with cardiometabolic disease risk. She will discuss novel research conducted at the University of Reading which has demonstrated that consumption of saturated fat-reduced, monounsaturated fat-enriched dairy products can significantly prevent the increase in low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol produced by unmodified dairy in adults at risk of developing CVD.

Oonagh will then discuss her current independent line of research which is focussing on the impact of diet on key inflammatory signalling pathways in white adipose tissue (abdominal fat). Finally, she will highlight her collaborative involvement in multidisciplinary projects being conducted at Loughborough University.


Oonagh Markey is a Registered Nutrition Scientist with expertise in cardiometabolic health. Oonagh received her PhD in Physiology and Nutrition from the University of Limerick, Ireland in Jan 2012. Shortly after completion of her PhD, Oonagh was appointed as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Reading’s Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition (2012-2016), where she investigated the effect of dietary components on risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Oonagh joined the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences as a Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow in October 2016.

Time and Place

This lecture took place Wednesday 21 February 2018, 12.30-13.30.

Dr Ahren Warner - Tuesday 27 March 2018, 12.30-13.30

Dr Ahren Warner

School of the Arts, English and Drama

Certain Very Bold Instructions: Poetry, New Media and the Lyric Idea

In the late nineteenth century, the French poet Stephane Mallarmé wrote that his latest, and most revolutionary, poetic work – A Throw of the Dice Will Never Abolish Chance – was still a little “timid”. Mallarmé justified such timidity by writing that “it is not for me, save by a special pagination or volume of my own, in a periodical so courageous, gracious and accommodating as it shows itself to be to real freedom, to act too contrary to custom”.

As generations of thinkers and critics have written on Mallarmé’s poetry, so some of the greatest minds – from Jacques Derrida to Alain Badiou – have come back to Mallarmé’s essential use of the white space of the page to amplify the effects and possibilities of poetic “syntax”, of how words and phrases are articulated to and against each other to produce what Badiou called “an Idea of which both the object and objectivity represent nothing but pale copies”.

In this talk, I want to primarily discuss my own practice-based research, to show a poem or two that happen to occur within digital media, and to keep one eye on these philosophical and literary historical contexts. Yet, as both a poet and literary critic, my interests lie in how the expanded potential of media other than the page and book might not simply open up new avenues for the dissemination of literature, but might also offer up new forms and new ways of using words to affect the reader.

From a historical perspective, the slow pace of literature’s embrace of new media, compared to the parallel history of visual art, will also offer up a way to talk about how my own creative research is interested in an ‘expanded’ model of poetry, that – drawing on filmmakers like Chris Marker or fine artists such as Harun Farocki – allows lyric language to operate across media, as well as into and via other literary and cultural forms.


Ahren is a poet, editor and critic. He completed his PhD – on twentieth-century poetry, the commodity fetish and continental philosophy – at Queen Mary, University of London in 2013. His books of poetry include, Confer (2011), Pretty (2013) and Hello. Your promise has been extracted (2017), and have received awards including an Arts Foundation Fellowship, Society of Authors Eric Gregory Award and Royal Society of Literature J.B. Priestley Award. Ahren’s poems, essays and criticism have appeared in journals such as The Guardian, Poetry Review, Poetry (Chicago) and Granta, whilst he is also the Poetry Editor of Poetry London. Recent interdisciplinary work has been exhibited at the Newcastle Poetry Festival and the Great North Museum, and he is currently working on both a series of creative research projects and a longform critical film exploring the parallel histories and effects of new media on twentieth-century poetry and fine art.

Time and Place

This lecture took place Tuesday 27 March 2018, 12.30-13.30; Brockington U0.05.

Dr Ignacio Martin-Fabiani - Friday 20 April 2018, 12.30-13.30

Dr Ignacio Martin-Fabiani

School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering

Design and Fabrication of Functional Coatings: Where Physics, Chemistry and Biology meet Engineering

The development of novel functional surfaces, such as antibacterial or scratch resistant coatings, demands a multidisciplinary approach that has to encompass research excellence in different areas. It starts with Chemistry, required to synthesize the building blocks of many paints and coatings: tiny polymer particles dispersed in water, also known as latex. Physics plays a crucial role in understanding and controlling the film formation process of this dispersion. The physical processes that take place during drying will determine the final coating structure and, as a consequence, its properties. Surface Engineering is needed as well to guide the knowledge transfer and optimize the manufacturing process. If an antibacterial functionality is desired, the understanding of the Biology of bacterial strains is key to design surfaces that will prevent the adhesion of bacteria. 

In this talk, I will present different methods to structure coatings and how these arrangements affect their final properties. First, a stratification mechanism in which the coating is self-organized in two distinct layers will be discussed. As a result, the coating can be designed so that its surface properties (e.g. tack, wetting, gloss) differ from the bulk properties.  Then, I will show how by accelerating the drying process it is possible to create arrays of structures on the surface of the coating that might lead to self-cleaning and antibacterial properties.

The talk will end with the view of an early career researcher as myself on how to be able to (or be allowed to!) carry out independent and high quality research. 


Ignacio (Nacho) was born and raised in Madrid (Spain), where after much hesitation he chose to study Physics instead of his other passion, History. He obtained a Materials Physics BSc (Complutense University of Madrid) and an MSc on Polymer Science (Menendez Pelayo International University), before completing a PhD on polymer nanostructures at the end of 2013 (Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)). After that he headed for the UK to join the University of Surrey where he spent two and a half years developing environmentally friendly paints and coatings for a cleaner future. Nacho took up a Vice-Chancellor’s fellowship at Loughborough University in 2016, and is now working on antibacterial surfaces to stop the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

Time and Place

This lecture took place on Friday 20 April 2018, 12.30-13.30; the lecture was recorded and can be watched via the University's ReVIEW lecture capture system.