Personal profile

Research interests

I am a Research Fellow with the Royal Academy of Engineering (2021-26), focused on swarm robotics for infrastructure monitoring. I have a background in complexity sciences and collective animal behaviour which I draw on for inspiration in my work.

Deploying swarms into the 'real world' is challenging, and my approach to solving this involves using smaller numbers of robots (e.g. 4-10) than one might usually think of as a 'swarm'. More sophisticated, ROS-based robots can navigate their environment effectively and coordinate with teammates. 

My experimental work is at Fenswood Farm, Long Ashton. I also sometimes visit the Bristol Robotics Laboratory. My university home is in the Department of Engineering Mathematics, and I am affiliated with the Collective Dynamics group.

My current postdoctoral research associates are:

  • Nicola Webb, part of the Human-Robot Satisficing Trust ('HuRST') project

My current PhD students are:

In 2017 I spent a year at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department, working on animal social networks. I returned to Bristol as an EPSRC Doctoral Prize fellow and then a UK Intelligence Community fellow, before taking up my current RAEng fellowship. My PhD research was concerned with the exploration and decision-making behaviour of house-hunting Temnothorax ants, within the field of behavioural ecology and complexity sciences, as an EPSRC-funded PhD student. I was interested in how the behavioural interactions of individual worker ants allows collective problem-solving abilities to emerge. 

In between science degrees, I studied economics and worked in financial regulation (risk management). The theme of optimising risk-return trade-offs have been recurrent in my work with animal behaviour and robotics.

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Cabot Institute City Futures Research


  • swarms
  • ants
  • social spiders
  • robotics
  • complex systems
  • networks
  • personality
  • collective behaviour


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