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Charles Hatchett Award 2019 Panellists’ Biographies

Mike Hicks

Chair of the International Panel

Dr Mike Hicks FREng was the global Head of Materials Engineering at Rolls-Royce plc. He retired at the beginning of 2015, having been with the company for 37 years and was widely recognised as the company’s authority on aerospace materials.

Mike was awarded a Rolls-Royce Engineering Fellowship in 2002 for his work in Materials and was appointed as Senior Fellow in 2012. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2007. He was presented with the T.B. Marsden Award by the IOM3 in 2004 and the Specialist Gold Medal from RAeS in 2014. He is a former President of the IOM3 and is now the Chair of their Executive Board.

He is on the Industrial Advisory Groups of Swansea and Cambridge Universities. He was Vice-chair of the Materials KTN and was also on the Board of a JV coatings company, TSTL, formed between RR and Chromalloy. He has worked on a number of Government, EPSRC and IOM3 Committees and was a UK representative on the NATO AVT Materials and Structures Committee.

He is currently a Director of Stratford Materials Consultancy. He is also an Honorary Professor at the Universities of Birmingham and Swansea and has authored a number of external publications.


Alec Mitchell

Emeritus Professor of Metallurgical Engineering, University of British Columbia

Dr. Alec Mitchell was educated at Oxford University in the UK, graduating with B.A., M.A. and D.Phil degrees in Chemistry and Metallurgy in 1961. Following graduation, he worked as a lecturer at the University of Sheffield until 1967. He then moved to Canada, as Professor of Metallurgical Engineering at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, working in that position until 1994. At that time, he became Director of the Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Laboratories at UBC, in charge of research groups working on metallurgical processes, composites, electronic materials and devices and biomaterials. He retired from full-time faculty commitments in 2001. He is presently Emeritus Professor of Metallurgical Engineering and collaborates in research programmes and graduate lectures at the university.

During his career, Dr. Mitchell has been responsible for research progress and industrial development on special alloy production using electroslag melting, vacuum melting and casting techniques. He has also worked extensively as a consultant with industry worldwide, particularly in aerospace, joining teams working on the development of techniques and specifications for the production of the alloys used in airframe and aero-engine components. He has acted as an advisor to several governments, including the American National Materials Advisory Board and has published more than 200 technical papers on topics related to the production of specialty alloys, principally by ESR and VAR remelting techniques. He has been the recipient of several international awards, including one from the American Vacuum Society for services to the vacuum melting and casting industry, and in 2008 was awarded the annual prize for research excellence by the Japan Titanium Society.


David Porter

Research Director, University of Oulu

Dr. David Porter obtained MA and PhD degrees in Materials Science from the University of Cambridge in 1972 and 1976. He then spent six years at the University of Luleå in Sweden as a post-doc researcher and teacher. One of the courses he taught led to the publication of the first edition of the text book 'Phase Transformations in Metals and Alloys', which, as a third edition, is still a popular text.

After many years in the academic world, David moved into applied R&D in industry. From 1981 to 1984, he worked as a researcher and product developer for the Norwegian aluminium company Årdal og Sunndal Verk. After that he moved into steel R&D at the Finnish steel company Rautaruukki, where he held various positions in the company’s research organisation helping to develop high-strength low-alloyed steel strip and plate. The time at Rautaruukki included a two-year secondment to the company’s subsidiary Fundia Special Bar, in Sweden, to help with the development of long products (2004-2006).

From 2011 to 2016, David was Professor of Physical Metallurgy with an emphasis on steel at the University of Oulu in Finland. During this time, he headed a research unit with a staff of 30, published 70 papers and taught five Masters courses. He retired in July 2016 but still works part-time at the university as Research Director.


Delia Milliron

McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas

Delia J. Milliron is a Professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. She also serves as an Associate Editor for the journal Nano Letters. Dr. Milliron received her PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2004. From 2004 to 2008 she worked for IBM’s research division, initially as a postdoctoral researcher and subsequently as a member of the research staff. In 2008, she joined the research staff at the Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, where she served as the Director of the Inorganic Nanostructures Facility and later as the Deputy Director. Dr. Milliron’s awards include a Sloan Research Fellowship, a DOE Early Career award, a Resonate Award from Caltech’s Resnick Institute, a Norman Hackerman Award from the Welch Foundation, and the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Engineering from The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas. Her research is motivated by the potential for nanomaterials to introduce new functionality and to reduce manufacturing costs of electrochemical, optical, and electronic materials. Her group’s activities span from the fundamental chemistry and assembly pathways of nanomaterials to device integration and characterization.


Jun Takahashi

Chief Researcher, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation

Dr. Jun Takahashi received his Master of Science in Physics from Tohoku University in 1989. He started his research career at Nippon Steel Corporation in 1989. He received his Doctor’s degree in Engineering on SiC single crystal growth and characterization from Tohoku University in 1997.

Dr. Takahashi has worked for more than 25 years as a researcher in the field of materials science and has specialized in steel research using atomic-scale characterization for the last 15 years. He, along with his co-authors, Kazuto Kawakami, Jun-ich Hamada and Ken Kimura, received the Charles Hatchett Award in 2017 for their paper, ‘Direct Observation of Niobium Segregation to Dislocations in Steel’.


Nuria Sanchez

Technical Coordinator, ArcelorMittal Global R&D

Dr. Nuria Sanchez got her Master of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Vigo (Spain) in 2006 and obtained her degree of Doctor of Materials Engineering in 2010 from Ghent University, where she investigated the mechanical anisotropy of pipeline steels using crystal plasticity models. The same year, she joined OCAS / ArcelorMittal Global R&D in Ghent, Belgium. Since then, she has led the development of new steel grades for oil and gas pipelines, including pipelines with low temperature toughness and pipelines for sour service. 

Dr. Sanchez participated in and coordinated multiple international research collaborations with universities, mainly through the coordination of MSc and PhD theses, and other research institutes and industries through JIPs, or funded institutional collaborations such as RFCS. Her main field of research focuses on the physical metallurgy of steel during industrial processing such as recrystallization, precipitation, grain growth or phase transformation. Other areas of research include: austenite reconstruction, fracture toughness of steel and degradation of the fracture toughness in severe sour service conditions, prediction of steel properties, after forming, using crystal plasticity modelling and microstructural based models.

Currently, Dr. Sanchez is technical coordinator of the development program of hot rolled steel for energy applications at ArcelorMittal Global R&D in Ghent.


Wilian Labiapari

Research Coordinator, Aperam Research Center

Dr. Wilian Labiapari is the research coordinator of the stainless steel team in the Aperam Research Center in Timóteo-MG, Brazil. Studying tribocorrosion on stainless steels, he received a PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 2015, in UFU – Federal University of Uberlândia. Since 1988, whilst working with stainless steels in Aperam, South America (ex-Acesita), Dr. Labiapari built his experience associating industrial knowledge and academic studies. He started in the melt shop on secondary refining of steel, VOD and Ladle Furnace for seven years. In 1996, he changed his role, being transferred to the Research Center. As a researcher, he works on the development of cold rolling, annealing and pickling processes. In 2003, he concluded his MSc in Transformation Metallurgy, in UFMG – Federal University of Minas Gerais, studying deep drawing of stainless steels. Since 2006, he has been supporting the commercial team with marketing development and technical assistance.

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