Meet the team

Meet the people innovating through data


Prof. Paul Watson


Paul is now Director of the National Innovation Centre for Data, having previously served as our Research Director for a number of years. His research interests centre on the design of integrated data analytics solutions and exploiting functional programming for stream processing. As well as being Director of the Centre, Paul is also Professor of Computer Science at Newcastle University and a Fellow of The Alan Turing Institute, among other things. 


Barry Hodgson, MBA

Director of Strategy
Barry leads on strategy and operations for the National Innovation Centre for Data. He has deep experience of entrepreneurship and innovation in the software industry and portfolio management of large-scale research projects in academia.
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Richie Ramsden

Technical Director

Richie joins us in the new role of Technical Director having previously headed up the Data Science Innovation Incubator at multinational paint company AkzoNobel. He is interested in innovation and leadership and loves nothing more than asking how? and why? over and over again in order to identify real business need. When he isn't busy figuring out how data science can deliver value to clients, Richie enjoys music, sewing, homebrewing and fly fishing.


Georgia Carr


Georgia is responsible for managing the development and implementation of all operational structures and processes, enabling successful delivery of the business plan. She is also responsible for (among other things) contract and client relationship management, governance, human resources and reporting. Georgia holds a degree in Biomedical Sciences and has a background in operations and recruitment. She's also a former ballroom dancing champion!

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Alison Bell, MA

Marketing and Communications Lead

Alison is responsible for shaping and implementing our marketing and communications strategy, covering everything from branding and content creation to social media and website management. She is also the main point of contact for any PR-related activities. When she isn't busy communicating the great work that the team does to the world, Alison enjoys solo travel, singing, and repeatedly falling off her surfboard at Longsands Beach in Tynemouth.

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Ellen Gourley

Operations Administrator

Ellen joined us from Newcastle University's central finance department and is responsible for undertaking a diverse array of operational and administrative tasks to keep the team on track. When she isn't busy keeping us all right, Ellen enjoys music, shopping and socialising. She is also partial to a spot of travel.


Dr Jacek Cala

Senior Data Scientist

Jacek’s (yatsek) background is in scalable computing, with broad experience in workflows, application deployment, recomputation and programming. His PhD focused on adaptive deployment of component-based applications in distributed systems. He combines his role at NICD with academic research at Newcastle University.

Scalable Computing & Optimisation


Stephen Dowsland, MSc

Senior Data Scientist

Stephen’s background is scalable computing, specialising in data analytics, software deployment, containerisation, design and development for the cloud and programming. He has worked across sectors from international airlines to local authority town planning.

Data Engineering & Cloud Computing


Dr Jonathan Law

Senior Data Scientist

Jonny specialises in Bayesian statistical modelling, R programming, functional programming, streaming data and time series analysis, communicating complex ideas and machine learning. His PhD focused on Bayesian time series modelling of high-volume streaming data and probabilistic programming.

Statistics & Machine Learning


Louise Braithwaite, MSc

Data Scientist

Louise completed the Newcastle University Data Science MSc in 2020 and joined the team shortly after. Her technical background is in exploratory data analysis in R and data visualisation.

Data Visualisation


Dr John Brennan

Data Scientist

John’s background is in machine and deep learning, focusing on neural networks, graph embeddings, machine vision, Python programming and distributed computing systems. His PhD focuses on detecting communities within complex networks.

Deep Learning & Cloud Computing


Graham Cole, MSc

Data Scientist

Graham joined the NICD team after completing the MSc Data Science at Newcastle. His interests centre around the interpretability and communication of data science and its application in an organisational context, with a particular focus on operational readiness and the upskilling of senior leaders.

Data Readiness & Education


Dr Matthew Edwards

Data Scientist

Matt’s background is in statistics, specialising in spatiotemporal statistics, Bayesian learning, natural language processing, causal inference, R programming and machine learning. His PhD centred on multivariate space-time modelling of climate data in collaboration with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Statistics & Machine Learning

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Dr Paul Goodman

Data Scientist

Paul joined us from Newcastle University's School of Engineering, having been a lecturer in Intelligent Transport Systems, with a background in transport engineering, environmental modelling and cooperative systems. At the Centre, Paul undertakes general data analysis, geospatial data analysis and data visualisation. When he's not at work, Paul spends his time looking after a small clowder of feral cats that adopted him several years ago.

Geospatial Data Analysis & Visualisation


Dr Hollie Johnson

Data Scientist

Hollie's technical background is in Statistics and she has previously worked in software development roles. Her PhD focused on topological event history analysis for global climate data. Outside of work she enjoys cycling, powerlifting and exploring the North East.

Statistics & Machine Learning


Dr Antonia Kontaratou

Data Scientist

Antonia’s technical background combines statistics and computer science. Her PhD focused on scaling Bayesian modelling techniques. She is interested in machine learning and she is currently programming in R and Scala.

Computational statistics

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Dr Fergus McClean

Data Scientist

Fergus joined us from Newcastle University's School of Engineering and has a background in environmental modelling, with a focus on workflow orchestration, interactive visualisation and geospatial data engineering. His PhD research investigated the impact of using global datasets for flood inundation modelling and involved designing a cloud-based framework for running simulations. When he isn't busy coding, Fergus enjoys kayaking, hill-walking, surfing and climbing.

Data Engineering & Visualisation


Dr Peter Michalák

Data Scientist

Peter’s background is in computer and software engineering, having previously worked as an R&D software developer for a multinational IT company. His PhD focused on design, implementation, and automated computational placement of distributed streaming applications for real-time data analysis.

IoT & real-time streaming systems


Dr Maciej Misiura

Data Scientist

Mac’s background is statistics; he possesses considerable experience in Bayesian inference, time series forecasting, meta-analysis and modelling biological systems, which he acquired during his PhD research in the field of smart farming. His current business interests are centred around developing AI tools. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and playing chess. 


Statistics & Machine Learning


Dr Saleh Mohamed

Data Scientist

Saleh’s technical background is in stream processing and deployment on cloud and IoT infrastructure, cloud computing, distributed systems, machine learning, Java and R programming. He is technical lead on the Arrow Project which supports SMEs through government-funded data projects.

IoT & Cloud Computing

Do you want to work with us as a data scientist?

We're always on the lookout for passionate PhD or Masters-level data scientists with the expertise to help people develop the data science skills they need to drive organisations forward. By working with us you would be helping to prepare the UK economy for a future in which managing and analysing data and gleaning essential insights makes the difference between success and failure. If you're interested in joining our mission and would like to know more, why not get in touch?


NICD Fellows

We work with many talented people across the public and private sector and some of those are offered fellowships with NICD to reaffirm the close links they have with us.


Our Discovery workshop

Our Discovery workshops enable you to explore the potential of your data and understand the benefit you could gain before committing to a full-scale project.