CIEL | Team

Meet the team that can support you and the development of your livestock business and products.

Meet the people working at CIEL and how their experience and expertise can support your ambition and ideas.

Within the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock, our team is made up of people with expertise from across farming and food production.

Each bring know-how and enthusiasm to support our Members and address today’s grand challenges of livestock farming, including the overall improvement and sustainability of the food production supply chain.

  • Building networks and identifying opportunities
  • Supporting industry and scientific collaboration
  • Funding assets, research and development
  • Brokering partnerships
  • Guidance and advice
  • Reporting and resources

Call us: +44 (0) 1904 217 493 or ask us a question via our web enquiry form.

Need advice and help with securing funding or have an idea and want to connect with one of our Members and research partners?  

Just get in touch…

    Phil Bicknell

    After joining the CIEL  team in 2021 as Head of business development, Phil became director in April 2023. He is responsible for steering CIEL’s strategic development to ensure we successfully deliver on our vision to accelerate innovation in the livestock and aquaculture sectors.

    Growing up on the family livestock farm, Phil is an agricultural economics graduate from the University of Reading and his career includes a range of agri-food roles. Phil led the 50 strong market intelligence team at the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board, equipping farmers and processors with the insight to manage market volatility, profitability and policy change. He was also chief economist at the National Farmers Union, spearheading the evidence to support a range of lobbying activity. Phil’s other roles included specialising in agri-trade issues at the US Department of Agriculture and advising a range of agribusiness clients with Bidwells.

    Dr Grace O’Gorman, Head of Innovation and Animal Health Specialist

    Grace is CIEL’s Head of Innovation and an animal health specialist. She leads the innovation team, facilitating use of CIEL-supported research capability and developing CIEL’s thought leadership activity to accelerate innovation. Grace grew up on a beef farm, is a Nuffield Farming Scholar and has veterinary research and industry experience across the animal health sector. She is the driving force behind CIEL’s activity on animal health, raising the profile of how improved health and welfare supports livestock productivity and enhances the resilience and sustainability of the sector.

    Dr Mark Young,  Innovation Specialist

    Mark is CIEL’s Innovation Specialist, coming to CIEL in 2016 after 15 years as senior geneticist for Beef and Lamb New Zealand. He has a wide-ranging knowledge of animal science with particular interests in meat production and the application of genetics to improve livestock, for the ruminant sector in particular. Mark provides expert technical support to project development and delivery while also identifying opportunities for innovation, guiding development of thought leadership activities and representing livestock industry interests.

    Dr Fiona Short, Innovation Manager – Nutrition

    Working within the innovation team, Fiona provides scientific insight and translation of technical research to support industry members and help ensure its impact is realised across the supply chain. Fiona has spent the majority of her career working in the animal health and nutrition industry, specialising in monogastrics, with over 17 years in research and a further six in industry.

    Katerina Karpasitou, Sustainability Project Manager

    Katerina provides insight about the environmental sustainability dimension of current and future CIEL projects, in order to support industry members and help build momentum from a sustainability perspective. She has an MSc from Lancaster University in Environmental Management and came to CIEL after working for Agrecalc, a carbon calculator for agriculture.

    Paddy Tarbuck, Innovation Manager Sustainability

    Paddy Tarbuck, Innovation Manager – Sustainability: Paddy is the driving force behind CIEL’s sustainability agenda for the livestock sector, supporting efforts relating to sustainability and Net Zero Carbon goals. He has an MA from King’s College London in Climate Change and came to CIEL from an AquaTech start-up in Singapore, and has previous experience in business sustainability strategy and climate risk management. Paddy is determined to tackle the climate and ecological emergency by focusing on holistic solutions to food systems and land use. 

    Helen Brookes, Head of Business Development

    Helen and the business development team are responsible for CIEL’s Industry Members. Focusing on supporting Members to network and collaborate on industrial research along with identifying funding opportunities to support new innovations. The team also manages several projects across the agri-tech sector. Supports CIEL’s knowledge exchange activities to drive engagement in research is a key growth area within  the teams remit. Helen has more than a decade’s experience working across both Research & Development and Knowledge Exchange teams, complemented by experience in the commercial and research sectors of the agricultural industry. She is passionate in driving the adoption of innovation and moving the behaviours of the industry forward to face challenges and create opportunities.

    Dr Annie Williams, Business Development Manager

    Annie is the first-point of contact for existing CIEL Members and for bringing new Members on board who are focussed on collaborative research. She’s on hand to help Members identify new funding opportunities, build partnerships around those opportunities, and transform ideas into active projects. Annie’s valuable combination of commercial and research experience is matched by her enthusiasm for driving the livestock industry forward.

    Martin Sutcliffe, Aquaculture Specialist

    Martin is responsible for leading CIEL’s strategic and practical engagement with the aquaculture sector across the UK. He joins CIEL from the Dorset Coast Forum, having held a number of roles within the independent strategic coastal partnership for several years. He has a passion for the ocean and a deep understanding of how organisms interact with their environments, both in captivity and the wild. His commercial aquaculture experience includes working on Life Support System (LSS) design and hatchery development for Lumpfish.

    Katie Davies, Business Development officer

    As Business Development Officer, Katie will focus on supporting current CIEL Members and identifying opportunities for potential new Members. Katie has a passion for animal health and welfare, having graduated from Harper Adamas University with a veterinary nursing degree.  Wanting to pursue these topics further in the livestock sector, Katie took on the role of Dairy Knowledge Exchange Manager with AHDB on the HerdAdvance program, working with farmers across Wales on topics such as fertility, lameness, and disease control. This experience along with working on her home farm dairy beef enterprise, allows Katie to bring a practical view to her role and the CIEL team.

    Nikki Dalby, Business Research and Delivery Manager

    Nikki is responsible for identifying and managing research projects. Prior to CIEL, Nikki worked at Fera Science Ltd and has 25 years technical and management experience working in food and chemistry-related sectors.

    James Burchell, Project Manager

    James is responsible for planning and implementing research projects. James has previously been a Defra project manager, with responsibilities for REACH and Plant Protection Products legislation, and a project manager on numerous renewable energy projects.

    Polly Douglas, Project Manager

    Polly has a background in aquaculture and novel ingredients for the animal feed market.  She has a wealth of experience in innovation and project management and is passionate about sustainable food production.  She will be supporting some of the activities across the Project and Business Development teams.

    Katie Clark, Project Manager

    Katie is a PRINCE2 qualified project manager. Prior to working at CIEL, Katie was a Services and Operations project manager for a Biotech specializing in tissue culture and microbiology. This involved managing varied projects, extensive stakeholder management, logistics and marketing assistance. Katie’s career of over 15 years prior to this was in Forensic Science, conducting biology and chemistry evidence examination, DNA interpretation and crime scene attendance. 

    Sam Leckie-Gardonyi, Admin and Events Co-ordinator

    Sam co-ordinates our attendance at external events, conferences, workshops and meetings. He also provides general support to the business and wider teams.

    Ellie Wilson, Project Support Officer

    Ellie provides project support by getting involved with planning, monitoring and implementation. She grew up on, and continues to have an involvement in, her family’s small holding. Prior to joining CIEL, Ellie studied genetics at university and has worked in agricultural research, most recently as a plant pathologist at Fera Science Ltd.

    Sarah Nightingale, Projects and Knowledge Exchange Manager 

    Sarah is involved in project management with a focus on knowledge exchange to increase the impact of projects on the wider agricultural landscape. With over 10 years’ experience working in commercial management and marketing roles in the animal health and livestock nutrition sectors, Sarah has a passion for sharing information that will help optimize the productivity and profitability of farm livestock. 

    Natasha Andrews, Digital Marketing Officer

    Natasha is responsible for coordinating and steering CIEL’s digital marketing function across its social media platforms website and e-communications.

    Lyndsey Kendall, Head of Finance and Business Services

    Lyndsey is our key point of contact for all finance and reporting matters. In addition to managing the relationship with Innovate UK, she is responsible for coordinating our joint investments in research capability, leading CIEL’s audit and risk activity and overseeing IT and administrative functions. Lyndsey brings considerable financial experience to the team, having worked as a Financial Controller within the UK energy sector.

    Ben Caulfield, Assistant Finance Officer

    Ben is responsible for all the financial processing in CIEL and plays a key role in supporting CIEL’s reporting requirements. Prior to joining CIEL, Ben worked within the finance team at Hunters Property Group.

    Simon Brown, Reporting and Compliance Officer

    Simon’s focus is on the reporting of research projects and driving the quality of exploitation reporting with our research partners. His career background is within healthcare and education to include performance, analysis, governance, safety and contract compliance.

    Tatjana Shelar, Purchase Ledger Clerk

    Tatjana oversees the purchase and sales ledger for CIEL. She is the main contact for all supplier and customer finance queries. Prior to CIEL Tatjana worked for many years in a similar role in the hospitality industry.

    Kate Evans, Office Manager

    Kate delivers administrative services for CIEL and has a broad range of administrative skills. Kate previously worked for many years in Human Resources, mainly in the Oil and Gas Industry, Manufacturing and the NHS.

    CIEL Board

    CIEL is overseen by an independent, non-executive Board, which provides strong corporate governance and business support.

    The team of Board Members encompasses all key areas of expertise and networks across the livestock supply chain. Each Board Member is a respected industry figure with relevant and complementary business skills and experience.