Meet the Team

Each member of the Smith Institute team is a highly qualified professional consultant mathematician, in terms of personal skills, industrial experience, and academic certification.

Combined, the team covers a range of specialisms within mathematics, including engineering, mechanics, modelling, numerical analysis, operational research, theoretical and computational physics, optimisation, signal analysis and processing, simulation, and statistics.

We believe in providing a professional, comprehensive, and friendly service, and look to build effective working relationships with our clients.  We aim to deliver high-quality research-led products which meet the specifications of our clients on time, and are trustworthy in this objective as demonstrated by clients returning to us for repeat contracts.

Please read more about each of our team members and their interests by clicking on the pictures displayed here, and do not hesitate to get in contact with any of us if you would like to start up a conversation or make an enquiry.

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  • Dr Andrei Bejan

  • Dr Zoë Kelson

    Dr Zoë Kelson
  • Dr Jakob Blaavand

  • Dr Andrei Bejan

    Technical staff MSc PhD

    Dr Andrei Bejan joined the Smith Institute in May 2015 as a member of technical staff.

    Previously, he worked at the University of Cambridge as a postdoctoral research associate in network modelling affiliated with Cambridge Computer and Statistical Laboratories as well as Clare College, applying statistical modelling to study transport traffic, communication and energy systems.

    He holds an MSc in Statistics from the University of Warwick and a PhD in Statistics from Heriot-Watt University, and his areas of interest include stochastic modelling, statistical inference and experimental design problems.

    Outside of work Andrei enjoys playing guitar, Percussion instruments and recorders.


  • Dr Zoë Kelson

    Business Development Manager BSc PhD CStat CMath FIMA

    Dr Zoë Kelson joined the Smith Institute in 2012.

    Previously she worked at Cardiff University, as a Lecturer in Statistics for the School of Mathematics and as a Research Associate and Statistician for the School of Medicine.  Prior to this, Zoë worked as a Senior Decision Science Analyst at HBOS plc., building models for credit risk and marketing.

    Zoë holds a PhD in modelling the progression of treatment scenarios in the HIV/AIDS epidemic from Cardiff University.  She is a Chartered Statistician of the Royal Statistical Society (RSS), where she is committee member of the Business and Industrial Section (BIS). She is also a Chartered Mathematician, Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), where she is member of both the Professional Affairs Committee (PAC) and Council. Her research interests include areas of modelling, operational research, and medical and forensic statistics.

    Her non-mathematical interests include sport (badminton and running in particular), travelling the world, piano playing on occasion, going to comedy gigs, reading books (mostly thrillers) on holiday, and food (she likes food).

  • Dr Jakob Blaavand

    Mathematical Consultant BA MSc DPhil

    Dr Jakob Blaavand joined the Smith Institute in September 2015, having completed his DPhil in differential and algebraic geometry at the University of Oxford, and taught undergraduates there and at Aarhus University, Denmark, for a total of 7 years.

    He has given over 30 public lectures popularising mathematics, on topics including knot theory and the maths of Google.

  • Dr Melvin Brown

  • Dr Robert Leese

  • Torran Elson

    Torran Elson
  • Dr Melvin Brown

    Quality Manager, Technical staff MSc MSc PhD CPhys CSci

    Dr Melvin Brown joined the Smith Institute in 2001.

    Previously he worked for British Energy, Nuclear Electric, Dowty Fuel Systems and Rolls-Royce, in the areas of sensitivity and uncertainty analysis, failure modes and effects analysis, and dynamic simulation.

    Melvin holds a PhD in the foundations of quantum mechanics from the University of London, an MSc in Nuclear Reactor Technology from the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, and an MSc in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics from the University of Liverpool. Melvin is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Physics.

    Outside work, Melvin has wide ranging musical interests, as a part-time organist and as a singer of choral and solo works.  He also enjoys bellringing - particularly when the striking is good!  He and his wife are keen hill-walkers.

  • Dr Robert Leese

    Director MA PhD FIMA

    Dr Robert Leese has been Director of the Smith Institute and a member of its Council since 1999.

    He previously held Research Fellowships at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and a visiting position at Brown University.

    Robert holds a PhD in mathematical physics from the University of Durham and has been a Fellow of St Catherine's College, Oxford, since 1993. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and a member of the Peer Review College of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

  • Torran Elson

    Technical Staff BA MSc

    Torran Elson joined the Smith Institute in 2013 as a member of technical staff.

    Previously, Torran worked for Maritime Strategies International (MSI) as an analyst, creating and improving econometric trade models. Prior to this he worked as a field geophysicist on seismic survey vessels, as a trade analyst at Clarksons Research Services and as a climbing guide in the Canadian Rockies.

    He holds a BA in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in Theoretical Physics from King's College London. His Master's degree was gained part-time whilst working at MSI; he received the prizes for best overall mark and best dissertation. Torran is also Visiting Fellow of the University of Bristol.

    Outside of work Torran can regularly be found rock climbing or half way up a mountain. In addition he enjoys the challenge of middle distance running, regularly competing for his local club.

  • Dr Claudia Centazzo

    Dr Claudia Centazzo
  • Dr David Wyncoll

  • Dr Vera Hazelwood

  • Dr Claudia Centazzo

    Business Development Manager MSc PhD

    Dr Claudia Centazzo joined the Smith Institute in 2006 as Business Development Manager.

    Previously she was an Assistant Lecturer at the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Belgium.

    Claudia holds a PhD in category theory from UCL and an MSc in Mathematics from Dalhousie University in Canada. Claudia is the co-author of a book chapter on categorical foundations, published by Cambridge University Press in 2004, and she is also fluent in Italian, French and Spanish.

    Outside work, Claudia likes outdoor sports: a jog, a game of Ultimate frisbee, or a swim are her favorite options.  She loves cooking: Italian, British and "impro" cuisine, although she could do without having to do it every day for her ravenous boys!  Claudia also enjoys travelling and putting her knowledge of languages to use.


  • Dr David Wyncoll

    Mathematical Consultant MMath PhD

    Dr David Wyncoll joined the Smith Institute in January 2017.

    He previously worked as a Senior Statistician in the flood management group of HR Wallingford providing statistical support across the company, particularly focusing on estimating the likelihood of large-scale coastal flooding.

    David holds an MMath in Mathematics from the University of Bath and a PhD in Statistics from Lancaster University on extreme value modelling and sequential Monte Carlo algorithms.

    His interests outside of work include travelling the world and playing rock music on electric bass and guitar.

  • Dr Vera Hazelwood

    Project manager, Business Development Manager, Technical staff MSc PhD PhD

    Dr Vera Hazelwood joined the Smith Institute in 2005. She holds a PhD in Engineering from the University of Southampton, and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from Kiev State Shevchenko University. Vera's technical areas of expertise are the mathematical modelling of complex systems, optics of liquid crystals, nonlinear phenomena, numerical methods for solving differential and integral equations and Monte-Carlo techniques.

    Vera holds a PRINCE2™ Practitioner qualification in project management, an ISEB ISTQB certificate in Software Testing, and won the Institute of Physics prize for Best PhD Thesis in Computational Physics in 2006. Vera was awarded Best Newcomer in the 2010 Impact Awards for her role in managing the expansion of Industrial Maths Internships and in September 2012  was appointed to the Chair of the IoP's Computational Physics Group Committee.

  • Michael Hobson

  • Dr Tim Boxer

  • Dr Michelle Ledbetter

    Dr Michelle Ledbetter
  • Michael Hobson

    Mathematical Consultant MMath

    Michael Hobson joined the Smith Institute in August 2016, having completed his MMath degree at Warwick University with his dissertation centering around Voting Theory and Social Choice.

    Beyond his studies, he worked at Capco as a Summer Associate, creating predictive financial models.

    Furthermore, he spent time in Sudan, interning with both the UNHCR and British Council in Khartoum. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, skiing and sailing.  In addition, sometimes he can be found in Cornwall or Devon trying out the surf on one of the many beaches.

  • Dr Tim Boxer

    Project Manager, Technical staff MSc PhD

    Dr Tim Boxer joined the Smith Institute in 2002.

    Previously, he worked for ArjoWiggins as a Diagnostic Engineer, where he worked on time series and signal analysis, flow through compressible porous media and linear elastic beams.

    More recently Tim's interests have developed into the areas of probabilistic modelling and decision making under uncertainty. Tim holds a PhD in modelling industrial processes from UMIST, and an MSc in Industrial Applied Mathematics from the University of Southampton.

  • Dr Michelle Ledbetter

    Technical staff BSc PhD

    Michelle Ledbetter joined the Smith Institute in 2014 as a member of technical staff.

    Previously, Michelle worked for HR Wallingford as a flood risk scientist, developing flood risk software and decision support tools. Prior to this she undertook a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project with the University of Exeter and HR Wallingford developing tools for long term decision making in flood risk management.

    She holds a BSc in Mathematics from the University of Exeter and a PhD in Engineering which focused on the use of Real Options, Multi-objective optimisation and decision making under severe uncertainty.

    Outside of work, Michelle enjoys outdoor activities such as hill-walking, cycling and camping with the ambition to one day do the Tour du Mont Blanc! She is also learning to play the piano.

  • Dr Anna Railton

  • Dr David Allwright

  • Dr Georgina Lang

  • Dr Anna Railton

    Technical Staff BA MSc PhD

    Dr Anna Railton joined the Smith Institute in March 2015.  She holds a PhD in Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, which focussed on the stability of vortices in astrophysical discs, a MSci in Astrophysics and a BA in Mathematics, all from the University of Cambridge.

    Outside of work Anna enjoys building and riding bikes, reading Sci-Fi, playing the piano, listening to Radio 4 and cooking with increasingly obscure ingredients.

  • Dr David Allwright

    Technical staff BA PhD

    Dr David Allwright joined the Smith Institute in 2000.

    He holds a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge and worked as a Research Fellow on control theory at the Universities of Cambridge and Toronto.

    David's technical interests then expanded at Topexpress Ltd to include signal processing, acoustics, vibration and other areas of fluid and solid mechanics, and then further, to other wave phenomena and probabilistic and Markov models at the University of Oxford and the Smith Institute.  David joined the Smith Institute's Scientific Board when it was established in 2014.

  • Dr Georgina Lang

    Mathematical Consultant MMath DPhil

    Dr Georgina Lang joined the Smith Institute in February 2016. Previously she worked as a mathematician at a research and development consultancy, applying mathematical modelling techniques to a broad range of engineering and scientific applications.

    Georgina holds an MMath and DPhil in mathematics from the University of Oxford, where her research focussed on modelling the mechanical behaviour of biological tissues.

  • Dr Heather Tewkesbury

    Dr Heather Tewkesbury
  • Dr Caroline Edwards

  • Dr Rachael Warrington

  • Dr Heather Tewkesbury

    Business Development Director BSc PhD FIMA

    Dr Heather Tewkesbury joined the Smith Institute in 2001, has been Business Development Director since 2006 and a member of Council since 2010.

    Previously she worked as Modelling Development Manager for Cadbury Trebor Bassett, applying mathematics across all areas of the business.

    Heather holds a PhD in modelling heat transfer from the University of Birmingham. She is a Chartered Mathematician, Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, member of the Advisory Board for Warwick University's MathSys CDT and was an impact assessor for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. She is a member of the TechUK Main Board and of the UK Quantum Technologies Strategic Advisory Board.

    Her interests outside of work include playing violin and viola (but not at the same time), making cakes for friends and family, and kayaking.

  • Dr Caroline Edwards

    Technical staff MSc PhD MIMA

    Dr Caroline Edwards joined the Smith Institute in 2008.

    Caroline holds a PhD in structural topology optimisation and an MSc in Modern Applications of Mathematics both from the University of Bath.

    Caroline's areas of interest include numerical analysis, linear solver techniques, linear elasticity and finite element modelling.

    Outside of work Caroline enjoys baking cakes, ice-skating, travelling to new places and hopes to make it to the Southern Hemisphere one day.

  • Dr Rachael Warrington

    Mathematical Consultant

    Rachael Warrington joined the Smith Institute in October 2016. Before this, she was carrying out PhD research on modelling the effects on building temperatures of phase change materials (things that melt and solidify).  She did this work at the University of Cambridge, where she also completed an MMath degree.

    Outside of work, she enjoys knitting, dressmaking (her favourite project so far has been making her wedding dress), and being part of her local church.

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