Our Team


Our innovative research is driven by leaders with expertise spanning the fields of data science and AI, optimisation and machine learning, digital twins and simulation, machine vision and remote sensing, techno-economic modelling, smart materials and manufacturing, robotics, renewable energy systems and decarbonisation, marine ecosystems and sustainable environment modelling.


The work our researchers do is only made possible with the support of our dedicated Business Support team which includes Administration, Marketing & Communications and Business Development.

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Professor John McCall Director

Professor John McCall


John has research expertise in data science and artificial intelligence (AI), which has applications in solving the challenges of energy transition and industrial revolution driven by climate change and technological advances. He has over 25 years of research experience in nature-inspired computing and has founded two spinout companies delivering real world optimisation to industry. John joined the NSC from Robert Gordon University’s School of Computing, where he was Head of School. In his role as Director, he is leading the National Subsea Centre in its aim to accelerate the energy transition through smart technologies applied to industrial and environmental challenges in subsea and related marine sectors. John is passionate about working with industry to find transformative solutions to challenges and in building the next generation smart workforce for the subsea sector. Outside of work, he enjoys reading, music, travelling and culture. 

Lynne Brien Centre Manager

Lynne Brien

Centre Manager

Lynne joined the National Subsea Centre in June 2022 from RGU, where she was the Research Development Administrator in Research Strategy and Policy (VP Research Office). Lynne is a key member of the Centre’s Senior Management Team, leading the Administration team and acting as an interface between the Centre’s academic and commercial functions to internal and external stakeholders, to ensure the efficient running of the Centre and delivery of key strategic priorities. Lynne’s responsibilities include the development of the operational plan to support the research and business of the Centre and building industrial relationships. Lynne has over 30 years of administrative experience in both higher education and local authority settings. Outside of work, Lynne enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, going for woodland walks and supporting the Scotland international rugby team. 

Ryan Gordon Business Development Manager

Ryan Gordon

Business Development Manager

Ryan joined the National Subsea Centre after a diverse career in the energy sector. Having been born and bred in the North-East of Scotland, Ryan has always had a passion for the energy sector and has held a variety of roles, including working offshore as an ROV pilot, Customer Support Engineer, Workshop Management, Project Management, Sales Management and Business Development. Prior to his career in the energy sector, Ryan served with the military for over a decade with the Royal and Electrical Mechanical Engineers. Having such a varied skillset allows Ryan to understand how businesses operate across all departments, from the initial sales enquiry and concept at the design stage to the final completion and installation offshore. In his spare time, Ryan likes to be away in his campervan exploring new places and challenging himself running in the mountains. 

Federica Monacelli-Ashton CMktr Marketing & Communications Manager

Federica Monacelli-Ashton CMktr

Marketing & Communications Manager

Federica is a Chartered Marketer with extensive international work experience in the Marketing and Communications fields of higher education, research, financial services, fashion and retail organisations. Heading up the Marketing & Communications team at the NSC, she is responsible for developing, implementing and leading all marketing and communications activities to build the centre’s profile nationally and internationally. As a recognised STEM Ambassador, Federica volunteers to inspire and assist young people in exploring future career pathways in STEM fields. In her spare time, she enjoys nature walks, travelling and remaining close to her Southern Italian roots by tirelessly working to perfect her pizza dough and traditional desserts. 

Dr Andrei Petrovski

Cyber-Physical Systems Lead

Andrei’s expertise combines the fields of both computing and engineering. On the computing side, his expertise lies in data analytics, computational modelling and optimisation, computational intelligence and machine learning, decision support and digital transformation. From an engineering perspective, he has vast experience in computer-assisted measurements, fault diagnosis, predictive control and maintenance, cybersecurity and system resilience and sensor and computer networks. Andrei has led several projects where these technologies have been used for remote monitoring, improving versatility and capabilities of instrumentation and automation systems and protecting operational technologies. Andrei leads the NSC’s Cyber-Physical Systems research programme, aimed at accelerating digital transformation and the protection of physical systems through their virtualisation and cybersecurity. Throughout his career, Andrei has published over 90 peer-reviewed papers in leading AI, cybersecurity and industrial cyber-physical systems journals and conferences. In his spare time, Andrei enjoys playing football, tennis, travelling and reading. 

Professor Jinchang Ren Transparent Ocean Lead

Professor Jinchang Ren

Transparent Ocean Lead

Jinchang’s expertise lies in image processing, computer vision, big data analytics and machine learning. His research focuses on extracting patterns from image, video and sensor data and applying machine learning to derive useful information for smart decision-making. Applications of his research include non-intrusive testing in condition monitoring, smart manufacturing and asset management, quality grading and assessment in food and drink, pharmaceutical, forensics and the energy sector, big data driven precision agriculture and smart cities, geoscience and remote sensing, and medical imaging. Jinchang joined the NSC from the University of Strathclyde, he is now the Transparent Ocean Lead at the NSC and acts as Director of the NSC International Academy and Hyperspectral Imaging Lab. He supports the delivery of NSC objectives in enabling a digital and smart subsea, monitoring subsea energy installations and data validation of digital twins as well as environmental sensing. Jinchang is passionate about hyperspectral imaging, computer vision and deep learning, especially in supervising junior researchers for success. Outside of work, he enjoys reading, travelling, movies and music.    

Dr Yijun Yan Transparent Ocean Research Fellow

Dr Yijun Yan

Transparent Ocean Research Fellow

Yijun is an expert in spectroscopy, image processing and artificial intelligence (AI). His research focuses on the application of optical-based, non-destructive inspection and monitoring in various industrial sectors. Yijun is a key member of the Transparent Ocean team and supports the team's growth by attracting funding, establishing the Hyperspectral Imaging Lab and recruiting. He also contributes to increasing the NSC’s influence by actively attending international events, making impactful publications on international journals and conferences and hosting special issues on prestigious journals. Outside of work, he spends his spare time doing sports and raising pets.  

Dr Junayed Hasan Transparent Ocean Research Fellow

Dr Junayed Hasan

Transparent Ocean Research Fellow

Junayed specialises in signal and image processing, computer vision, big data analytics, machine learning and explainable AI (XAI). His research focuses on analysing feature space, pattern extraction and multimodal information fusion from sensor data (image, vibration and acoustic), as well as using machine learning and XAI to make smart decisions. Applications of his research include non-destructive testing in condition-based monitoring, smart built-environment, big-data-driven sleep analysis and medical imaging. In 2021, Junayed earned his doctorate in Computer Engineering from the University of Ulsan in the Republic of Korea. During his PhD, he was awarded the prestigious Brain Korea fellowship from the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea, as well as multiple research awards for his outstanding scientific contributions. Junayed joined the NSC as a Researcher and contributes to the accomplishment of NSC goals in digital and smart subsea, Scottish house energy systems and smart energy-efficient built environment projects. Outside of work, he enjoys poetry, travel and graphic design.  

Ping Ma

Transparent Ocean Research Fellow

Ping Ma is a researcher in the fields of image processing, computer vision, AI, multimodal data fusion and machine learning. Her research focuses on using machine learning and AI to extract patterns from multimodal image and sensor data for smart decision-making in various applications, including geoscience and remote sensing, precision agriculture and smart cities, wetland mapping and offshore energy installation monitoring. Ping Ma is a vital part of the Transparent Ocean team and helps drive its growth through funding acquisition and the establishment of the Hyperspectral Imaging Lab. She is dedicated to achieving the goals of the NSC in the fields of digital and smart subsea and energy-efficient built environments. Ping Ma also boosts the NSC's reputation by regularly attending international events, publishing in international journals and conferences and making meaningful contributions. Outside of work, she has personal interests in reading, travelling and sports.

Professor James Njuguna Integrated Energy Lead

Professor James Njuguna

Integrated Energy Lead

James is an internationally recognised researcher in materials engineering and specialises in composite materials. He is intrigued by the way things are made, how they fail, materials used, improvement options and the decisions made in developing a specific product. James enjoys working with industry on real life challenges in materials applications, products design and development. His innovative research into lightweight structures and polymer nanocomposites underpins advances in materials tailoring, structural-property relationships, thermo-mechanical performance, structural design and optimisation strategies in the design and manufacture of components. Prior to joining the NSC, James worked at Cranfield University, University of London and Cracow University of Technology. At the NSC, he oversees the Integrated Energy programme and is also a Research Strategic Lead at RGU’s School of Engineering. In his spare time, James volunteers for charitable causes that deal with child education support and animal welfare groups. He also enjoys football, gardening, writing and culture.  

Jemma Reynolds Integrated Energy Research Assistant

Jemma Reynolds

Integrated Energy Research Assistant

Jemma has experience in feasibility study, techno-economic analysis and social and environmental impact assessment in renewable energy development. She holds a MSc in Renewable Energy Management from Robert Gordon University, with a further background in social sciences. Jemma began her PhD journey in 2022, focusing on subsea hydrogen storage solutions with an integrated energy prospective. Jemma also runs the North-East of Scotland Manufacturing Forum and has recently been involved in techno-economic and environmental impact assessment of renewable energy initiatives in Orkney Islands, being published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2022. Outside of work, Jemma enjoys surfing, sailing and all things outdoors. 

NSC Team Member Auwalu Mohammed Integrated Energy Research Fellow

Auwalu Mohammed

Integrated Energy Research Fellow

Auwalu has broad technical knowledge and experience in oil and gas engineering, materials selection and design, finite element modelling and optimisation, design and delivery of engineering research projects with expertise in machine learning and data processing. His research interests are related to energy transition, carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS), hydrogen storage, renewable energy vectors, machine learning and data analytics, pipe-in-pipe systems, subsea pipelines and umbilicals, structural integrity of composites pressure vessels and optimisation. Prior to joining the NSC, Auwalua held various roles, including Lecturer and Research Project Coordinator in the Department of Petroleum Engineering at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Nigeria, Drilling and Well Engineer and Scientific Managing Editor. Auwalu is a registered engineer with COREN Nigeria and earned a PhD in engineering which focuses on investigating casing buckling in shale gas wells using FEA and machine learning. In his spare time, Auwalu enjoys community support, reading and travelling. 

NSC Team Member Xiaojing Gao KTP Associate

Dr Xiaojing Gao

KTP Associate

Xiaojing is a KTP Associate in the School of Engineering at RGU and holds a PhD in Maintenance for Developing a Health Ready Subsea Production Systems and their Through-Life Support Solutions, an MSc in Mechanical Engineering and a BEng in Mechanical Manufacture and Automation. Her main research interests are related to the subsea/offshore industry, system engineering, risk assessment and reliability and safety analysis. At present, Xiaojing is working on the design of a novel Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) system for the decommissioning of concrete mats from the seabed. The system will eliminate the need for divers, improving health & safety outcomes and standardising operational costs. 

Dr Ciprian Zavoianu

Net Zero Operations Lead

For the past 10+ years, Ciprian’s research interests have included theoretical and practical concepts of artificial intelligence (AI). His research is primarily concerned with evolutionary computation algorithms and their application on complex real-world problems that have solutions predicated on combining simulation, optimisation and data-driven modelling. Ciprian was awarded a PhD in Computer Science in 2015 from the Johannes Kepler University Linz (JKU) in Austria with a thesis focused on developing and enhancing multi-objective evolutionary algorithms used for solving computationally intensive optimisation problems. Over the years, Ciprian’s research has been applied internationally for improving hi-tech manufacturing processes, discovering optimal trade-offs in the design of various electrical and mechanical assemblies, modelling and optimising multi-modal transport networks. He has published over 35 peer-reviewed articles in leading AI conferences and journals including: GECCO, PPSN, CEC, Knowledge-Based Systems, Applied Soft Computing, Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence and Information Sciences. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing and basketball.  

NSC Team Member Thanh Nguyen Net Zero Operations Senior Research Fellow

Dr Thanh Nguyen

Net Zero Operations Senior Research Fellow

Thanh received his PhD degree in Computer Science with the Academic Excellence Award from the School of Information & Communication Technology, Griffith University, Australia in 2017. He has research experience in machine learning, pattern recognition, computer vision and optimisation, making novel contributions to a range of predictive machine learning methods, including ensemble learning, multi-label learning, deep learning and incremental learning. Thanh has published 40+ peer-reviewed publications in high-quality journals and conferences. He has won several prestigious awards such as DICTA 2017 DSTG Best Technical Paper Award, ICMLC 2014 Certificate of Merit Award and Endeavour Fellowship from the Australian government. Thanh and his research team at the NSC specialise in industrially applied machine learning and decision support, working with a diverse range of SMEs. Major application areas for this research are hydrocarbon allocation, predictive modelling and maintenance in energy systems, medical images, flow metering systems, subsea monitoring and diagnostic analytics for ocean energy industries, and object detection and collision avoidance. In his spare time, Thanh enjoys reading and watching live sport. 

NSC Team Member Lee Christie Net Zero Operations Research Fellow

Dr Lee Christie

Net Zero Operations Research Fellow

Lee has worked as a Research Fellow on themes of optimisation and AI at Robert Gordon University and University of Stirling. He has been working in this area of research since completing his PhD in 2016 on the topic of pseudo-Boolean optimisation. Recent work with industrial partners includes various projects building efficient transport models and optimising transport networks. He has interests in decentralised computing, machine learning, functional programming and API design. He also teaches Python for business analytics and is part of the steering group for the Aberdeen Python User Group. In his spare time, he studies Japanese as a second language and enjoys retro gaming. 

Dr Atakan Sahin

Net Zero Operations Research Fellow

Atakan’s research areas include the fields of Computational Intelligence, Statistical Process Control, Machine Learning and Control Theory with a special interest in Fuzzy Logic Theory, Numerical Optimisation, Intelligent Systems and their applications in industrial processes, as well as supply-demand systems. He brings a different perspective to the Net Zero Operations team with his background in fuzzy modelling and control theory. Atakan was awarded his PhD in Pure and Applied Chemistry from the University of Strathclyde in 2020 as part of the European Union Horizon 2020 Innovative Training Network Project, ModLife. Prior to joining the NSC, he worked on process monitoring in additive manufacturing at the University of Sheffield, funded by Innovate UK. In his spare time, Atakan enjoys discovering new music ranging from classical to indie, CrossFit and weightlifting.

NSC Team Member Joan Santos Net Zero Research Assistant

Joan Santos

Net Zero Operations Research Assistant

Joan's research interest lies primarily in evolutionary computing. His research is mainly based on the study of dynamic optimisation problems, with special interest in permutation problems and online evolutionary algorithms. Joan joined Robert Gordon University in 2018 from the University of the Basque Country and has been involved in his doctoral research ever since. He has several publications in high-quality conferences, including ‘IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC)’ and ‘Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO)’. In his free time, Joan enjoys cooking, music and sports. 

NSC Team Member Truong Dang Net Zero Research Assistant

Truong Dang

Net Zero Operations Research Assistant

Truong received his honours degree in Information Systems from the School of Information and Communication Technology at Hanoi University of Science and Technology in 2018, where he was also awarded the Academic Excellence Award. Since 2019, Truong has been working as a Research Assistant at the NSC as part of the Net Zero Operations Research Team. Truong’s research focuses on topics in Machine Learning and Computational Intelligence. He has been participating in fundamental research relating to deep learning, ensemble learning and evolutionary computation. A natural application for this work is in medical images and videos segmentation, subsea monitoring and diagnostic analytics for ocean energy industries. Outside of work, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. 

NSC Team Member Daniel Dobos KTP Associate

Daniel Dobos

PhD Student

Daniel received his BSc degree in Mechatronics from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in 2018. In 2019, Daniel graduated from Cranfield University with an MSc degree in Autonomous Vehicle Dynamics and Control. Daniel has previously worked as a Research and Development Engineer, developing software for unmanned aerial vehicles in Switzerland. At present, Daniel is a Software Engineer and PhD student. Recently, he successfully completed a joint Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP) with RGU and Accord Energy Solutions Limited. Daniel's research areas include fault detection for hydrocarbon processes, machine learning and deep learning topics. In his free time, he likes to play tennis and work with drones. 

NSC Team Member Joseph Collins KTP Associate

Joseph Collins

KTP Associate

Joseph’s expertise lies in materials science and engineering, with nine years working in the energy sector in Aberdeen. His research focuses on applying computational algorithms to real-world problems at the Port of Aberdeen. At present, he is working towards building a digital twin that can assist harbour staff in their daily operations. Joseph has previously worked on designing high pressure subsea tools for maintaining pipelines using 3D modelling tools and computer aided design. Joseph has previously worked in R&D environments, writing calculations for determining the effectiveness of prototype thermal insulation and working with client facing teams to explain company products. In his personal name, he likes reading and hillwalking in the Aberdeenshire countryside.