C4D - Core Team


Prof Leon Williams

Director of the Centre for Competitive Creative Design (C4D) at Cranfield University, Leon specialises in areas of research in Prestige Design and Creative Innovation.

Academically trained as a goldsmith with a doctorate from the RCA; his work has been showcased internationally from Universidade do Porto, Portugal; to Galerie Ra, Amsterdam; Milan, Korea and Hong Kong. He has led as Principal Investigator more than 50 research funded projects and supervised many postgraduate researchers to competition from the RCA/Rochester/Cranfield (at MSc by Research/MPhil/PhD level). He is also the course tutor of the internationally acknowledged Innovation and Creativity MDes by Bloomberg Businessweek.


Current activities

He has a wide knowledge base in 'technology development' but focuses his attention on the ever-changing disciplines that yield high impact for technological change and creative innovation. For this reason, precision engineering, novel materials, craftsmanship techniques and new technology development take high priority within his current research. However, most of his professional consultancy engagement focuses on problem solving for the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sectors, as his research and development processes are valued for being rapid and pragmatic. He focuses on developing design-led strategic tools, creative insight and working solutions to large and small enterprises, simulating ideas whilst bringing them to reality using proven R&D methodologies combined with new rapid development mechanisms.

Dr Fiona Charnley

Senior Lecturer in Circular Innovation, Fiona coordinates the design and delivery of the masters courses, utilising expertise in Circular Economy, innovation and sustainability. 

Dr Charnley leads a pan-university community of practice at Cranfield to develop research and teaching programmes to support the transition towards a Circular Economy. Fiona aspires to position Cranfield University as an internationally leading centre for the Circular Economy. This is being achieved by establishing a portfolio of multi-disciplinary research projects demonstrating the implementation of circular design, manufacture and technology across industrial sectors.

Current activities

Dr Charnley leads a number of research grants investigating new industrial systems for more sustainable and circular models of production and consumption. Grants that Fiona is currently working on include:

  • The RECODE Network: Consumer Goods, Big Data and Re-Distributed Manufacturing [EP/M017567/1] consisting of five universities and over 15 industry partners, investigating the role of big data in re-distributed manufacturing. See: www.recode-network.com

  • Circular 4.0: Digital Technologies to Enable a Circular Economy [EPSRC Network Plus Feasibility Study] an investigation into how data, acquired through the latest advances in digital technologies can shape decisions about the design, manufacture and utilisation of consumer products to accelerate the implementation of more circular approaches in manufacturing.

  • Energy Resilient Manufacturing II: Small is Beautiful [EP/P012272/1] this project aims to develop a novel methodology and modelling toolkit, to enable energy resilient manufacture with the production of castings at maximum yield rates with minimal energy and material usage.

  • Immortal Manufacturing [EP/R020957/1] this three year project aims to develop innovative manufacturing methods to enable the reliable and scaleable production of evolvable bio-hybrid systems that possess the inherent ability to sense and repair damage, so-called 'immortal' products.

Additionally Fiona is pioneering the development of skills and capabilities necessary for circular production within leaders of the future through the development of new educational courses. She collaborates with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to deliver the Schmidt-MacArthur Fellowship to 19 international universities. 

Fiona is the Design Programme Director within the Centre for Creative Competitive Design and oversees the delivery of three Mdes courses that address a wide spectrum of approaches and practical application of creativity and innovation for design. As well as teaching across these courses she has also developed the world's first executive masters course in the field of a Circular Economy 'Technology Innovation and Management for a Circular Economy'. This online course will provide professionals, from across industrial sectors, with technological knowledge, system-level understanding and personal competency to design, evaluate and manage the implementation of transformational solutions for the future.

Dr Matt Collins

Lecturer in Breakthrough Innovation, Matt has over 25 years of design and innovation experience in industry, across a wide range of sectors, from transport and aerospace to consumer products and medical devices.


After graduating from Coventry University's world famous transport design course in 1993 he spent 6 years working for design consultancies, in the UK and Europe, developing road, rail and aerospace concepts and solutions. From 1999-2015 he successfully owned and operated his own design consultancy before choosing to join Cranfield, after obtaining his PhD there in 2015. During this period, he worked with many leading UK and overseas organisations, some of which are listed below, delivering unique and often breakthrough innovations. In addition, he co-invented the Gtech cordless floor sweeper, which went on to become a world-wide best seller, and more recently invented the highly successful PWB600 workbench which is currently licenced to, and sold by, Robert Bosch GmbH throughout Europe. 

Dr Mariale Moreno Beguerisse

Dr Mariale Moreno is a Lecturer in Data-Driven Innovation. Since completed her PhD in Sustainable Consumption and Design in 2013, Mariale has specialised in using and refining a mix methods approach to interpret and analyse consumer data from digital and ethnographic sources to enable innovation. During her academic career, Mariale has acquired extensive expertise in implementing qualitative approaches within collaborative research on quantitative data and data analytics. By taking this collaborative approach, Mariale is able to analyse different data streams to identify different user/company patterns, behaviours and preferences relevant to create commercial opportunities and value creation activities within the Circular Economy, the Sharing Economy and/or the Digital Economy; all new forms of economic activities currently considered as trending areas of research.  She has led research activities in collaboration with Royal Mail, DS-Smith, Cisco, The Clearing, Philips, ENSO, Walmart and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to find business opportunities by developing human-centred design interventions. In the past, she collaborated at the CIE-MAP Research Centre, an EUED inter-university research project between industry and academic partners looking at reducing materials and energy demand. She has also collaborated at the Royal Society of Arts and the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design on topics around behavioural change. Dr Moreno leads the community of practice in Data-Driven Innovation, which aims to be a pioneer in conducting transformational research and deliver educational programmes that could help organisations to make better decisions through the application of data-driven models that can drive meaningful innovations.

Current activities

Dr Moreno currently research projects with industrial partners including: 

  • Unlocking the Sharing Economy for Royal Mail

  • Knowledge base capital tool for DS Smith Recycling division

  • Networking Value with Armadillo Merino - https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/case-studies/research-case-studies/wool-clothing

  • Engagement of retail customer in circular economy - Walmart

Dr Adriana Encinas-Oropesa 

Lecturer in Design and Materials, Adriana’s research interests include the strategic development and evaluation of materials and methodologies as innovative solutions through a sustainable vision. She holds an Industrial Design BSc from the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Mexico; an MSc in Industrial and Product Design from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain and a PhD in Advance Materials from Cranfield University. 

Working closely with Industry, Adriana has over 15 years of experience evaluating performance and degradation of materials at Cranfield. She has over 40 technical publications and has also contributed to the development of new British Standards for materials testing.

Adriana holds an Associate Fellowship from the UK Higher Education Academy (HEA) and is a member of the Mexican National System for Researchers CONACyT (SNI).

Dr Bhavin Engineer

Research Fellow in Mechanical Design Engineering

Between the years of 2009 and 2017, Bhavin worked within a subsidiary of an engineering consultancy. His role was primarily of a design and development Engineer looking at product development of next generation ultrasonic guided wave inspection systems for the oil and gas industry. During his time there, he also achieved a doctorate which specialised in the characterisation of ultrasonic sensors. Which developed his experience in providing design assistance for research and development projects as well as a successful track record in writing proposals for research funding.

He is currently leading the mechanical design of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sponsored Nano Membrane Toilet as well as researching Human Centred Design and Humanitarian Design and lecturing on design methods. 

Dr Pedro Talaia

Research Fellow in Control Systems Engineering

Dr. Pedro Talaia received his PhD in Applied Mechanics from the University of West Bohemia, Czech Republic, and has been a Marie Curie Scholarship holder. He was awarded his degree and Mechanical Engineering, with a major in Industrial Automation, and his Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering in applied Product Development, by the Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal.
He has been involved in several national and international projects, with experience in several countries. During his career, he has worked in the domains of transport, safety, bio-mechanics, orthopaedics, aircraft and defence.

Current activities

Dr. Pedro Talaia is a Research Fellow in Control Systems Engineering within the Cranfield Centre for Competitive Creative Design (C4D). 

He is a member of the design team within the “Breakthrough Innovation Hub”. His work is focused on instrumentation and control, applied to product testing, real-time monitoring, remote sensing and diagnostics, and IoT (Internet of Things).

His major role on Cranfield's “Nano Membrane Toilet”, sponsored by the “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation”

Merryn Haines-Gadd

Research Assistant in Self-Repairing Product Design 

Merryn is a design, innovation and sustainability researcher and has embodied this role in various capacities within industry and academia over the last 11 years.

Originally trained as a 3D Designer at the Arts Institute Bournemouth, after graduating Merryn co-founded a studio collective developing eco-focused products and furniture, while also working with an innovation consultancy developing her skills in problem solving and innovation tools.

She returned to academia and received a master’s in Design and Innovation for Sustainability from Cranfield University where she collaborated with industry partners OXFAM and Whirlpool throughout her studies resulting in a publication in Design Studies. Continuing her career in industry led academic research, Merryn undertook PhD which was an AHRC funded research collaboration between Philips Lighting and University of Brighton exploring the integration of Emotionally Durable Design and Circular Design thinking into the new product development process of consumer lighting.

Merryn also freelanced as a researcher and web and graphic design while undertaking her studies with clients such as GKN hybrid power and Knowledge Transfer Network. 

Current Activities 

Merryn is currently a researcher assistant working on the EPSRC funded consortium ‘Manufacturing Immortality’ where she is investigating the design opportunities and Circular Economy implications of implementing self-healing materials within product development.


Okechukwu Okorie

Research Assistant in Circular Technology 

Okechukwu Okorie holds a BEng(Hons) degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria and an MSc in Engineering Management from the University of South Wales, (formerly the University of Glamorgan), United Kingdom. He is completing a PhD at the Sustainable Manufacturing Systems Centre, Cranfield University which he began in 2015. Previous work experience include Condition Monitoring Analyst and Asset Care Maintenance Engineer at Diageo Nigeria (Guinness Nigeria Plc). Here he led projects including integrating maintenance planning with condition monitoring analysis and logistics, adoption of SAP from Maximo for maintenance planning as well as design of new warehousing facilities.  He has also worked as a Supply Chain Development Analyst for Damco, United Kingdom. Okechukwu Okorie is currently a Research Assistant in Circular Technology at Cranfield University.

Current Activities

His PhD research is focused on integrating digitisation with the circular economy where he focused on the circular strategy of remanufacturing of sensor-embedded products. This work utilised a mixed-method approach, employing system dynamics modelling tool as well as qualitative research methods. In this PhD research, he has published three journal articles and one conference paper and one book chapter. As part of his PhD, he has won two conference-based awards. He regularly presents his work at conferences and industry-based webinars.

A Research Assistant in Circular Technology, he is currently the Lead Researcher in the 3 year EPSRC sponsored projected Circular 4.0: Data Driven Intelligence for a Circular Economy (EP/R032041/1). He had previously contributed to the EPSRC Circular 4.0 feasibility studies. Circular 4.0 is an EPSRC-sponsored investigation into how data, acquired through the latest advances in digital technologies can shape decisions about the design, manufacture and utilisation of consumer products to accelerate the implementation of more circular approaches in manufacturing.


Research interests include the Circular Economy & Sustainability, Circular Value Chains, Digital Manufacturing, Remanufacturing, Design for Remanufacture, Modelling and Simulation of Manufacturing Systems, Data-Enabled Decision Making, End-of-Product Life Cycle Assessment, Computer-Aided Design, Condition Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance.

Sasha Quill

Administrator to C4D


Sasha is the thematic administrator to the Centre (C4D) and supports the Academics with their administrative requirements.

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