National Physical Laboratory

Distinguished Visitor Programme

The National Physical Laboratory's Distinguished Visitor Programme invites renowned experts and leaders from the business world, academia, government and the third sector to work with NPL on a part-time basis. The Distinguished Visitors will work closely with NPL scientists to deliver specific projects and contribute to NPL's culture of innovation.

The Programme launched in 2016 and NPL currently has four Distinguished Visitors: Professor Richard J Parker, Simon Devonshire, Sir Colin Dollery and Professor Roy Sambles. Professor Parker, recently retired from Rolls-Royce, will help NPL within the advanced manufacturing environment. Simon Devonshire, Entrepreneur in Residence for the UK Government's Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), will bring his specialist skillset to creating even more impact from NPL's excellence in science and engineering. Sir Colin Dollery, from GSK, will bring his medical and scientific expertise to support the research being carried out at NPL's National Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectroscopy Imaging (NiCE-MSI). Professor Sambles, Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Exeter and President of the Institute of Physics from October 2015 to September 2017, will support and challenge NPL on science and technology to enhance NPL's scientific capabilities.


Sir Colin Dollery FRCP FMedSci

Sir Colin DollerySir Colin Dollery joins NPL as a Distinguished Visitor to bring his medical and scientific expertise to support the research being carried out at the National Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectroscopy Imaging (NiCE-MSI).

Sir Colin obtained a first-class honours degree in Physiology and an honours degree in medicine from the University of Birmingham, before going to the Royal Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital. He became Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and of Medicine and Dean of the school, whilst also becoming Pro Vice-Chancellor for Medicine at the University of London.

In 1996, Sir Colin joined SmithKline Beecham to work with the laboratory-clinical interface, and stayed on when the company merged with Glaxo-Wellcome (to form GSK). He was on the GSK Portfolio-Investment Board, the Global Safety Board and the Scientific Review Board, before retiring at the end of 2016.

As Senior Consultant GSK R&D Sir Colin worked closely with the NiCE-MSI at NPL, and the research to reduce drug attrition and improve drug efficacy. He was particularly involved on the on the new 3D OrbiSIMS project to study intra-cellular organelles and in his new Distinguished Visitor role, will continue to support this research.


Simon Devonshire OBE

Simon DevonshireSimon Devonshire is joining NPL as a Distinguished Visitor to bring his entrepreneurial approach and zeal to support NPL in creating even more impact from its excellence in science and engineering.

Simon is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and Non-Executive Director. He is currently the Entrepreneur in Residence for the UK Government reporting to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and manages a portfolio of Non-Executive Directorships and Board Advisory roles.

Simon brings a mixture of commercial experience that combines both large scale corporate directorship and early stage dynamic start-ups. For five years he ran the business division of O2 UK a €1bn pa company. He co-founded and ran Wayra Europe, the business accelerator that belongs to Telefonica, building seven start-up accelerators in five countries and investing in 234 fast growth digital businesses. He helped create the social venture One Water, and helped scale-up Zopa the world's first on-line lending and borrowing exchange. Devonshire was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen for services to enterprise, enterprise promotion and humanitarian issues, in the 2016 New Year's Honours List.


Professor Richard J Parker CBE FREng FRAeS FIMechEFInstP

Ric ParkerRichard (Ric) Parker joins NPL as a Distinguished Visitor to support NPL in identifying and creating even greater impact within the advanced manufacturing environment. Ric retired as Director of Research & Technology, Rolls-Royce Group in April 2016, where he was responsible for direction and co-ordination of Research & Technology programmes across all the Rolls-Royce businesses, worldwide.

He joined Rolls-Royce in 1978, and held various posts, including Chief of Composites and Ceramics, Chief of Compressor Engineering, Managing Director – Compressor Systems and Director of Engineering & Technology, Civil Aerospace. Ric gained a CBE for Services to Engineering in 2013 and was named the European CTO of the Year in 2014. In 2015, he was awarded the Royal Aeronautical Society Gold Medal.


Professor Roy Sambles FRS FInstP

Professor Roy Sambles FRS FInstPRoy Sambles joins NPL as a Distinguished Visitor to support and challenge NPL on science and technology to enhance NPL's scientific capabilities.

Roy has been Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Exeter since 1991, when he was awarded the first ever internal promotion to a chair. His early research concerned Conduction Electron Spin resonance and spin waves in the alkali metals as well as studies of electron scattering in thin metal films. Over the past 30 years, he has worked on the optical properties of liquid crystals; explored the interaction of light with structured metal surfaces (plasmonics); pioneered work on molecular rectification and elucidated the fascinating photonic structures in butterfly wings. In 2002, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for his contribution to a broad range of research on the fundamentals of melting, spin waves in metals, molecular rectification, liquid crystal optics and plasmonics. The latest among several awards has been the Faraday medal of the Institute of Physics in 2012.

Over the last 10 years he has turned his attention to metamaterial surfaces for the control of sound, microwaves and more recently fluid flow. He is Director of the large EPSRC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Electromagnetic Metamaterials at Exeter, which commenced in April 2014, now supporting over 60 PhD students.

Roy has recently been President of the Institute of Physics from October 2015 to September 2017.


Contact: Communications

Last Updated: 3 Oct 2017
Created: 18 Jan 2017

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