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Meet our Infrastructure Systems team

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The Infrastructure Systems sector team are a highly experienced group bringing together the synergistic areas of:

  • Connected Transport
  • Urban Living and Smart Infrastructure
  • Energy 

Through the Innovate UK funding and connecting models, we are supporting disruptive infrastructure innovations that help create the vibrant communities, integrated transport and sustainable energy systems that will enable people to thrive in tomorrow’s more connected societies.

Our sector is working to help UK businesses develop technologies to enable infrastructure systems to be developed in a more integrated, resilient, efficient, flexible and investable way.

Take a look at who is in our team.

Ian Meikle - Director of Infrastructure Systems

Ian Meikle, Head of Infrastructure Systems

I have been Director of Infrastructure Systems at Innovate UK since April 2016. This includes leading Innovate UK's energy, connect transport and future cities programmes of work. I sit on the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) board, and oversee public investment in four Catapults including sitting as observer on their boards: Energy Systems, Offshore Renewable Energy, Transport Systems and Future Cities. ​I have been at Innovate UK since 2009 – initially I ran the Low Impact Buildings programme and more recently I was Head of Agriculture and Food - this included setting up the four AgriTech innovation centres funded by the AgriTech Industrial Strategy. ​My working background includes a broad range of sectors: financial services, insurance, manufacturing, low carbon consultancy, third-sector, construction, IT and retail.​  ​




Stephen Hart - Senior Programme Lead for Connected Transport

Stephen Hart, senior Programme lead for Connected Transport

I am an automotive electrical and mechanical design engineer and programme manager, with a strong background in systems engineering. Recently, I have delivered an innovation strategy for High Speed 2, whilst on a recent secondment with the programme, and have established and driven intervention activity for the UK Marine and Rail industry. I have also set out a framework for integrated transport whilst delivering the ITSS (Intelligent Transport Systems and Services) Innovation Platform.



Karla Jakeman -Innovation Lead for Connected Transport & Communications  

Karla Jakeman​ - Connected Transport & Communications Innovation Lead for Infrastructure Systems

I joined Innovate UK Transport Systems team in January 2015 working in the multi modal field of Connected Transport/Intelligent Mobility and Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. The re-named Connected Transport team is now part of the wider Infrastructure Systems Sector. I support the team in leading the Connected Transport area in the UK, using enabling technologies to leverage a smarter, greener and more sustainable transport system for the efficient movement of people and goods around the world.  Prior to this I have 15 years’ experience working for a large automotive company in Design Quality.​


Twitter: @Karla_Jakeman

Kelvin Davies -Innovation Lead for Connected Transport

Kelvin Davies​ -Innovation Lead for Connected Transport

I am responsible for supporting Innovate UK’s initiatives relating to connected transport & intelligent mobility, particularly rail & light-rail. The role requires providing support to projects across transport, including activities to deliver smart-ticketing, vehicle light-weighting, predictive maintenance technology and enhancing the experience of the traveller.


Dr Mike Pitts - Head of Urban Living and Smart Infrastructure

Dr Mike Pitts - Head of Urban Systems                   

​I am the Head of Urban Systems covering the priority areas of Urban Living and Smart Infrastructure. I previously led on embedding sustainability across Innovate UK’s strategy and programmes since November 2012. I have led Clean and Cool entrepreneur Missions in 2013 to Brazil and 2015 to San Francisco. I also ran the Resource Efficiency programme during 2013/14. ​


Twitter: @pittso​


Sarah Tromans - Senior Innovation Lead for Urban Living

Sarah Tromans​ - Senior Innovation Lead for Urban Living

I joined Innovate UK in 2013 to establish the Future Cities Catapult - a world leading technology and innovation centre designed to help UK businesses develop high value, integrated urban solutions. In 2014, I became Innovation Lead in the Future Cities sector, supporting UK businesses to develop the products and services that cities will require in the future, and export them globally. ​Now as Senior Innovation Lead for Urban Living, I work in the Infrastructure Systems directorate, engaging with government departments, industry groups and UK organisations to innovate and invest in the opportunities from the integration of city systems. ​


Twitter: @SarahTromans​


Dr James Taplin Innovation Lead for Urban Living

Dr James Taplin​ – Innovation Lead for Urban Living​

I joined Innovate UK in August 2014 to help shape and drive the new urban living innovation programme. With an academic background in ecology and environmental economics, the importance of understanding systems and the ways in which they interact to create strength and resilience has been a common thread running throughout my work. This has been bolstered by working with a wide range of stakeholders both here and overseas – including government, business, and the third sector.​​


Twitter: @james_taplin​

Niraj Saraf Innovation Lead for Urban Living

Niraj Saraf​ – Innovation Lead for Urban Living​

I joined Innovate UK in July 2014. I have over 20 years’ experience of policy, strategy, and programme development across public, private, and voluntary sector organisations in the UK and internationally. I am clear that cities are ultimately about human flourishing and in order to support this we need to think not just about smart technology but also smart citizens (enabling people to act e.g. through access to data), and smart organisations (those which are open to collaboration and new business models.


Twitter: @NirajKSaraf


Simon Hart​ – Senior Innovation Lead for Smart Infrastructure​ & Management Officer BIM Task Group

Simon Hart​ – Senior Innovation Lead for Smart Infrastructure​ & Management Officer BIM Task Group

I joined Innovate UK in July 2014 to head up the Built Environment Platform. My career brings over 14 years' experience in engineering consulting and management across digital technology, mechanical engineering and manufacturing.​ I spent 7 years in Automotive Systems Engineering as an Electronics Engineer. I am a regular speaker on the London tech scene with a passion for IoT, Digital Construction and Smart Home technology.


​Twitter: @simonBIM


Dr Rick Holland  - Innovation Lead for Built Environment​ & Regional Manager for North West England

Dr Rick Holland​ - Innovation Lead for Built Environment​ & Regional Manager for North West England

I have led high-profile programmes and competitions since joining the built environment team in 2012. My portfolio includes the free-to-use digital toolkit for Level 2 Building Information Modelling (BIM); a £4m programme for solutions to improve the whole-life performance of buildings; and the suite of analysis reports and freely accessible data following the £17m Retrofit for the Future programme.​ In addition, I am Innovate UK's regional manager for North West England; managing our relationship with strategic innovation stakeholders across the region such as LEPs and Growth Hubs.


Twitter: @RickInnovate​


Amanda Druce - Programme Lead for Digital Built Britain

Amanda Druce​ - Programme Lead for Digital Built Britain

I joined Innovate UK in November 2016 as Programme Lead for Digital Built Britain, within the BIM Task Group which brings together expertise from industry, government, public sector, institutes and academia.  My role involves managing internal and external relationships, technology strategy and delivery with BIM Task Group, partner organisations and stakeholder networks, steering projects to successful outcomes for the UK economy. ​


Ewa Bloch​ - Innovation Lead for Urban Living and International

Ewa Bloch​ - Innovation Lead for Urban Living and International

I have been working with Innovate UK since April 2011. I have over 18 years of experience in managing, monitoring and evaluation of international projects and programmes, in the field of infrastructure, environmental protection and socio-economic development. I am particularly interested in sustainable, healthy and resilient cities. Within the team, I am responsible for European and global activities on future cities and sustainable urban development. I am also the UK representative on the Programme Committee for Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 5 (Climate action, environment, raw materials and sustainable cities) and the UK National Contact Point for the Programme. 


Twitter: @ewa_bloch

Zöe Fitzgerald​ - Urban Systems Analyst

Zöe Fitzgerald​ - Urban Systems Analyst​

I joined Innovate UK in 2015 as an Analyst in the Infrastructure Systems sector. This involves providing analysis on the Urban Systems portfolio and keeping track of our funded companies. I also cover the theme of resilience across Infrastructure Systems.​


Twitter: @z_fitzg

Rob Saunders - Head of Energy

Rob Saunders, Head of Energy

I lead the energy programme at Innovate UK, helping UK businesses grow as they develop solutions to delivering affordable clean and secure energy supplies of the future.​ I’m an engineer by training and learned about innovation while running R&D teams in food and packaging multinationals before retraining in energy, joining Innovate UK in 2011.



Harsh Pershad​ - Senior Innovation Lead for Energy Supply

Harsh Pershad​ - Senior Innovation Lead for Energy Supply

I joined Innovate UK as a Lead Technologist in 2014, with a focus on hydrogen and fuel cells, cleaner and more efficient production and use of conventional fossil fuels, carbon abatement technologies for power and energy-intensive industries. ​On behalf of Innovate UK, I am an advisor for several partnerships including the H2FC Supergen Hub, UK CCS Research Centre, Energy Technologies Institute, UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, and Advanced Power Generation Technology Forum. ​

LinkedIn:  ​

Twitter: @HarshPershad

Derek Allen - Innovation Lead for Energy

Derek Allen​ - Innovation Lead for Energy, Generation & Supply

I joined Innovate UK on secondment from industry when it was first established in 2007, where I developed the initial strategy of the energy team. I joined Innovate UK on a full time basis in 2012. Since then, I have overseen Innovate UK’s engagement across a range of energy technologies including fossil fuels, renewables, fuel cells, nuclear and oil and gas. In 2014, I was responsible for establishing the Energy Catalyst, a co-funded programme with EPSRC and DECC. Currently I have specific responsibility for the nuclear and oil and gas sectors and Innovate UK’s engagement with the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI)



David Hytch - Innovation Lead for Energy

David Hytch​ - Innovation Lead for Offshore Renewables

I joined Innovate UK in June 2013 and am an Innovation Lead for Energy, specialising in offshore renewable technologies. My role includes the development of Innovate UK’s fund and connect activities in the offshore wind, wave and tidal stream industries including the support of active projects, coordination of innovation landscape, and development of innovation programmes and events.​


Mark Thompson​ - Innovation Lead for Energy Systems

Mark Thompson​ - Innovation Lead for Energy Systems​

I joined Innovate UK in February 2015 as Lead Technologist for Energy Systems.  I have a background in engineering, manufacturing, technology commercialisation and energy network innovation.  My specific areas of activity and expertise are: ​​

  • Bringing together the necessary ingredients and parties to deliver energy user value propositions and disruptive business models. ​​
  • Supporting the development of innovations that enable greater energy system flexibility, including smart grids, storage, demand side response​
  • Developing opportunities for electric and plug-in vehicles as transport and the energy system converge​​
  • Delivery of low carbon heat, and energy efficiency in buildings​​
  • Energy user behaviour and increasing their engagement in the energy system​​


Twitter: @markrmthompson ​​


Michael PriestnallInnovation Lead for Energy Catalyst

Michael Priestnell​ – Innovation Lead for Energy Catalyst ​

I joined Innovate UK in 2014 as Lead Technologist for the Energy Catalyst – a programme focused on commercialising UK innovations to address the trilemma of affordable, secure and low-carbon energy​. I am a chartered chemist and materials scientist with a career background in industrial & entrepreneurial energy R&D and business & technology consultancy.​

Alice Goodbrook–Energy Analyst

Alice Goodbrook​ –Energy Analyst

I am an analyst for the Energy Team at Innovate UK. This includes managing the Energy Team project portfolio and analysing the impact of the investments made by the infrastructure systems sector.​ I spend most of my week on the road across the UK, meeting companies and attending events while also leading the Solar Era-net Co-fund competition. I have been at Innovate UK since 2015.

LinkedIn: ​

Twitter: @AliceGoodbrook

Bryan Forbes- Innovation Lead for SBRI and Lead Customer

Bryan Forbes​ - Innovation Lead for SBRI and Lead Customer​

I joined Innovate UK in 2009.​ I came with a background in the IT Industry where I had extensive experience in Sales, Business Development and Account Management. As an SBRI Account Manager, I have been responsible for developing and managing engagements with target Public Sector Bodies. In 2016, with the re-organisation of Innovate UK into sector teams, I joined the Energy team within Infrastructure Systems as Innovation Lead for SBRI and for Lead Customer projects.​


Twitter: @bryanSBRI

Ian Millard -Innovation Lead for SBRI and Lead Customer

Ian Millard - SBRI and Lead Customer Innovation Manager

I am responsible for developing and managing Lead Customer and SBRI programmes in Urban Living and Built Environment, and supporting SBRI across several government departments.

I have been at Innovate UK since 2014 – initially as an SBRI account manager but now covering a wider range of funding competitions within Infrastructure Systems.


Christian Inglis​ - Senior Innovation Lead for Growth and Scale

Christian Inglis, energy systems programme lead

I lead Innovate UK’s growth and scale programme for infrastructure systems and focus on connecting our innovator community to private investment programmes. This is delivered through a number of activities including investment showcases, entrepreneur missions and alternative finance with a focus on supporting infrastructure systems businesses to enable them to grow and scale more effectively. ​

I have been at Innovate UK since 2007, joining to develop and deliver the nanoscale technologies and advanced materials strategies utilising my materials science background. In 2012, I moved into the energy team to develop and lead its energy systems programme, before taking my current role in December 2016.


Twitter: @chringlis​


Heidi Bridger - Senior Innovation Lead for Family Connections

Heidi Bridger - Senior Innovation Lead for Family Connections

Mine is a cross cutting role in the Infrastructure Systems Sector Group with a focus on the team’s strategic relationship with the wider Innovate UK family and elements of our five point plan. I have responsibility for the relationship with four Catapults: Energy Systems, Offshore Renewable Energy, Transport Systems and Future Cities. Also working with colleagues to develop and deliver international and regional strategies for the sector group.

I have been at Innovate UK since 2014 – initially working as the relationship manager for Offshore Renewable Energy and Satellite Applications Catapult.


David Elson​ - Innovation Lead for Driving Impact

David Elson​ - Innovation Lead for Driving Impact

My role involves coordinating the development of the team strategies, creatively demonstrating the impact of our activities on the sector and overseeing the Infrastructure Systems financial portfolio.​ I previously led our programme of support to the UK marine and maritime industry and continue to be active in this area. Prior to joining Innovate UK, I worked with a number of organisations as a Chartered Naval Architect.​


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