Our Team

Our Team

David Dangoor

Honorary President

Dangoor Education provides opportunities across the learning spectrum with 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 UK, EU Space Design Competition and Galactic Challenge builds on the fantastic legacy of Sir Naim Dangoor, who supported the Competition for a number of years.

Marcus du Sautoy FRS, OBE


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 concerns mainly 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 Perry

Founder UKSDC and SSEF
SSEF Honorary Chair

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. He has sailed across the Atlantic in a small sailboat. Dr Perry was shortlisted for a Sir Arthur Clarke Award in 2013 for his work on USKDC.  randallsperry rsperry

Jian He

Chair of Trustees

Jian started volunteering with UKSDC since 2009,first as a supporting technical specialist, and later on as judge and “company” CEO. After completing 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

Dr Richard Ghail


Dr Richard Ghail is past Lecturer in Engineering Geology, based in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College Lond0n and is currently a Reader in the Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London. His research interests are in The London Basin Forum, Intraplate Processes and the Neotectonics of Great Britain, Plate Tectonics of Buoyant Lithospheres and EnVision.

Dr. Elizabeth Luthman


Dr Luthman is currently a systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). She graduated from the University of Bristol in 2007 with an MEng in Aerospace Engineering followed by three years as an aeronautics researcher at Imperial College. Her PhD was in hypersonics (very high speed aerodynamics). Liz was a technical consultant at Detica before becoming a post doctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology and now is with Jet Propulsion Laboratories. Liz first became involved with the Space Competition in 2010 as a technical expert in Space Structures. She was an integral part of the original founding team for the SSEF.  When she’s not working, Liz enjoys hiking, writing stories, drawing in London’s various museums and learning Japanese. Liz was also the organising chair for the 2011 UK Competition.

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.

Helen Oliver


Helen Oliver 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 analyze 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.

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.

Sir Christian Sweeting KSCG


Christian Sweeting is the Chairman of Palace Investments and is engaged in a number of charitable endeavours, including serving as a trustee of the Shalom Centre for peace and reconciliation. He is also a trustee of the Vatican City State Endowment dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the Vatican, its grounds and the art treasures of the Vatican museums. Christian is delighted to continue his support of the SSEF and believes that the UK, EU Space Design Competition and Galactic Challenge is an extraordinarily valuable experience for everyone taking part, providing a tremendous opportunity, stimulus and experience which are essential in the formation of outstanding young people.

Trisha Saxena

Trustee and Alumni Representative
UKSDC Board Member

Trisha first took part in the UKSDC in 2014 as a participant, and although her team won she did not have the chance to go to the Kennedy Space Center. This motivated her to try once more in 2015, when her team won again and this time she had the chance to represent the UK at the International competition. Since then she has been involved with the regional and micro competition heats as a judge and CEO. She frequently gives the management technical talks to the  UKSDC company officers. She completed her Masters in physics at Imperial College London, and hopes to one day work for the UK Space Agency.

Trisha was the UKSDC organising chair for 2016/17 and elected as a trustee in 2019.

Jenny Lyons

Head of Education and Outreach

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 received a BSc from University of Westminster in biological sciences. She has attended University of Sussex and received an endorsement to teach chemistry after receiving her PGCE from University of Middlesex.
Having worked voluntarily for the UK SDC, 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 EUSDC, MEASDC and UKSDC and Galactic Challenges.
When not working with SSEF and GC, 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.

Neelesh Ravichandran

Director Design and Publications

Neelesh is in his third year of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Imperial College London. He competed in the 2016/17 National competition and has volunteered at UKSDC and the Galactic Challenge events as well as supervising the 2017/18 Internationals (ISSDC) trip to the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. He is an avid tennis player and fan. He also enjoys his fair share of hackathons.

Nicky Fasa


Nicky has a BSc in Information Systems and Media Studies. She has years of administrative experience in a variety of capacities.   Her most recent role was working in a highly acclaimed Independent School in the north of England as Secretary to the Headmistress.  She enjoys working with children and education, and is very excited to get involved with SSEF, their competitions, and what they represent.

Alex Turley-Pound

IT Director

Alex is a third year mechanical engineering student at the University of Warwick. He first became involved in the competition through a video entry in 2015, before going on to be a member of the winning companies at the 2015 and 2016 UKSDC finals. Following the 2016 UKSDC, Alex was part of the UK team at the ISSDC, with whom he subsequently won the competition. Alex returned to volunteer as a technical specialist at the 2017 National Final, before joining the team as Webmaster. In addition to the role of Webmaster, Alex ran our social media accounts at the 2018 National Final.

George Manchester


George is a second year electrical and electronic engineering student at the University of Edinburgh. He became first involved with SSEF in a 2016 regional, and then getting through to the national competition via a video entry. Following the 2018 UKSDC nationals, George returned to volunteer for technical training and now helps with organising the competitions for the international side of the SSEF. George helped write the Technical Training Presentations and has taken the role of Webmaster for the international competitions.