Dr Jonathan Bean


While working as a researcher at the University of Cambridge, Jonathan Bean was the first researcher to identify both the need and opportunity for a new material modelling platform to accelerate the uptake of new materials to address the climate crisis. Building on this and his background in Materials Science and Theoretical Physics he become the driving force behind the establishment of Materials Nexus.

His career has been focused on his twin interests into both the theoretical and practical engineering sides of materials. Following an internship at aerospace company Airbus, designing and building equipment within the team evaluating new components for aircraft engines, his PhD research at the University of York was on advanced modelling techniques for polycrystalline materials.

In addition to his full-time role at Materials Nexus he is involved in a number of different small-scale roles as an advisor and mentor including on Global Talent Mentoring and the Leaders in Innovation Fellowships run by the Royal Academy of Engineering. He also teaches Materials Science for Engineers at Trinity College, Cambridge and is a Visiting Fellow at London South Bank University.

Robert Forrest


Robert Forrest is a PhD student in the Centre for Doctoral Training in Computational Methods for Materials Science at the University of Cambridge, with interests in automation and machine-learning, particularly applied to materials discovery. With distinctions in both his MPhil in Scientific Computing (Cambridge, 2019) and MPhys in Theoretical Physics (York, 2018) Robert brings excellent technical understanding and programming prowess to the team.

In addition to his experience as a computational physicist, Robert has developed additional skills as a full-stack developer, with experience in web development and design, DevOps CI/CD, database management, systems administration, and containerisation. He also has experience in teaching and science communication, gained in particular at the International Centre for Life science museum and other outreach events.

Nic StirkMBE


Nic is a Chartered Director, a Fellow of the IoD and a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business with over 25 years' senior executive experience in high-tech industry. With experience from private-sector start-up to established technology business he is a skilled business strategist and leader across all facets of organisations including sales, marketing, operations and finance.

He worked as Networks and Operations Director for ESAT Telecom in Dublin and CableTel (now Virgin Media) in Northern Ireland before founding SLA Digital in 2005. He turned this into a highly successful business delivering high value, strategic projects for some of the leading mobile phone and communication service providers in the world, notably in Europe, the Middle East and South-East Asia. Following a successful exit from SLA in 2018 he now works full time for Materials Nexus alongside some additional small-scale roles, including being on the board of Groundwork NI, a Belfast based charity that works with communities to enhance their lives, places and prospects

Dr Jon Pillow


Jon Pillow has over 20 years’ track-record of innovation and technical leadership in R&D for disruptive material-based applications. He combines strong technical understanding across a broad range of material technologies with a highly inventive approach to problem solving that has led to over 45 patent applications.

Following a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Oxford he played a leading role in two Oxbridge start-ups – most recently as a Senior Principal Scientist for CDT ltd in Cambridge. Working initially to improve the process and energy efficiencies of plastic electronics, he made significant contributions towards the successful achievement of the technical goals needed to commercialise solution-processed OLEDS. More recently he worked on several different areas related to energy storage, energy efficiency and CO2 utilisation, performing both technical and business evaluations to develop new ideas into commercial opportunities.

Materials Nexus