Meet the team involved in the NZOC project

Leigh Storey, Principal Investigator

National Oceanography Centre (NOC)

Leigh Storey is the NOC Associate Director for National Marine Facilities, responsible for the maintenance and operation of NERC’s oceanographic research ships and the National Marine Equipment Pool.

“Advances in technology are opening up opportunities which require a genuinely strategic view to be taken regards the UK’s next generation of oceanographic research infrastructure. The 20th century paradigm must give way to a low-carbon system and that shift must consider the science and policy needs alongside the technological opportunities.”

Dr. Kristian Thaller, Project Manager

National Oceanography Centre (NOC)

Kristian Thaller is the NOC's Project Management Manager responsible for the PM service provision. He also manages the Oceanids MAS development programme and other underpinning autonomous capabilities projects. 

“After years spent supporting marine technology projects, it is exciting to be part of a project that will provide a strategic perspective for the long-term role of technology in delivering the national capability for oceanographic research."

Dr. Kate Hendry, WP Lead, Future Science Need

University of Bristol

Kate Hendry is a biogeochemist and chemical oceanographer with an interest in nutrient cycling in high-latitude oceans.

“I am excited to work with NZOC on exploring the horizon for future science priorities and discussing the key questions and ideas that motivate both the research community and beneficiaries in society more broadly.”

Prof. Stephen Fletcher, WP Lead, Future Policy & Regulation

University of Portsmouth

Steve Fletcher is a Professor of Ocean Policy and Economy, a coastal and ocean policy and governance specialist focused on actionable research to improve the relationship between people and ocean resources. I am a member of the Centre for Blue Governance at the University of Portsmouth and ocean lead of the UN International Resource Panel.

"This project will seek to better align ocean data collection with future ocean policy needs which is a priority as we enter the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development."

Colin Day, WP Lead, Future Ships

National Oceanography Centre (NOC)

Colin Day is the Head of Strategic Projects within National Marine Facilities. This role targets ship and equipment technology projects relating to current and future marine science delivery. He has many years’ experience leading delivery of the NMF cruise programme and its component projects across the UK fleet of multipurpose research ships.

Dr. Maaten Furlong, WP Lead, Future Marine Autonomous Systems

National Oceanography Centre (NOC)

Maaten Furlong is the Head of the Marine Autonomous and Robotics Systems group within National Marine Facilities. His background is in systems engineering with a focus on Autonomous Underwater Vehicle design.

“We live in an ever more connected world which coupled to the advances in Marine Autonomous Systems allow us to envision a next generation ocean observing systems which drives down carbon usage while increasing the abilities and impact of the observing system.”

Prof. Matt Mowlem, WP Lead, Future Sensor Systems & Networks


Matt Mowlem is a Principle Investigator in the NOC's Ocean Technology and Engineering group. He is also the Chief Technology Officer for ClearWater Sensors Ltd.


Dr. John Siddorn, WP Lead, Future Data Ecosystems


John Siddorn is the NOC Associate Director Digital, prior to which he served as Met Office Head of Ocean Forecasting R&D, responsible for developing assimilative modelling systems and satellite analyses for short-range ocean monitoring and forecasting. He is on the Global Ocean Observing System Steering Committee, co-Chair of the Ocean Predict Advisory and Sponsors group and the UK’s National Partnership for Ocean Prediction.

“As a user of observations, and an advocate for the synergistic use of models and observations, this project provides the opportunity to help shape the UKs ocean observation infrastructure of the future to ensure it provides maximum societal value.”

Dr. Eleanor Frajka-Williams, WP Deputy, Future Science Need

National Oceanography Centre (NOC)

Eleanor Frajka-Williams is a Principal Research Scientist at the NOC whose research interest is physical oceanography, using ocean observations from ships, satellites and autonomous platforms to investigate ocean dynamics and circulation variability.

“I’m looking forward to envisioning the future of observational marine science with an increased reliance on autonomous platforms and data science, balanced with the need for climate-quality data streams.”

Cdr. Kara Chadwick MBE, WP Deputy, Future Policy & Regulation 

Kara Chadwick is a Naval barrister specialising in international law and law of the sea, with a specific interest in the application of legal regimes to unmanned maritime systems. 

“I am excited to take part in the NZOC Project and to contribute to the UK’s carbon neutral maritime future.”

Andrew Tate, WP Deputy, Future Ships


Andrew Tate is a Senior Principal Engineer in DSTL Platform Systems who has undertaken and managed a range of activities over the last ten years that support the Royal Navy’s efforts to enhance its energy and climate change resilience.

“NZOC will give me the opportunity to understand the risk and solution synergies between future research and MOD infrastructures.”

Prof. Sara Bernardini, WP Deputy, Future Marine Autonomous Systems

Royal Holloway University London

Sara Bernardini is a Professor of Artificial Intelligence at Royal Holloway University of London whose research interests revolve around designing and building autonomous systems for extreme environments and lie at the intersection between different areas: decision-making, intelligent control and cognitive robotics.

“I find the opportunity to explore and imagine the future of marine autonomous systems exciting and inspiring. There has been tremendous progress in AI in the last ten years, and it is high time to bring this progress to full fruition in oceanographic research.”


Dr. James Fishwick, WP Deputy, Future Sensor Systems & Networks

Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML)

James Fishwick is a UKRI Senior Technologist and Scientist at Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) where he is leading the drive to generate impact from Technology.  James is also head of Smart Sound Plymouth, and chairs both the Future Autonomous at Sea Technologies Cluster and the Maritime UK SW autonomy and geospatial data group.  He also heads up the technology and operational delivery of the integrated observing network for the Western Channel Observatory.

“I am privileged to be part of this project and I am looking forward to exploring how the considerable advancements in autonomy and sensor technologies, coupled with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, will play a key role in the future delivery of NERC’s/UKRI’s world-leading science.”


Alvaro Lorenzo, WP Deputy, Future Data Ecosystems

National Oceanography Centre (NOC)

Alvaro Lorenzo is a Senior Software Engineer in the Marine Autonomous and Robotic System (MARS) group at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC). Alvaro is the delivery lead for the development of the Oceanids command-control and data management system (C2) for MAS platforms.

Dr. Peter Collinson, Industry Advisor

Maritime Technology Strategist (Dendrityca)

Peter Collinson has directed the Marine Autonomy strategy for a major energy corporation and practically supported the development of numerous MAS platforms over seven years. He is now focussed on the widescale application of MAS across the maritime realm.

“I am enthusiastic about the benefits MAS can provide to the whole maritime realm and see the ‘net zero strategy’ as a key opportunity to accelerate and embed this new approach through collaborative and collective effort.”