Skip to main content

DEI Professors in Practice

Our Professors in Practice are experienced professionals with extensive experience gained by working in the Energy Industry. These individuals share their skills directly with researchers and the academic community bringing practical insights, experience and distinction to academics and fellows of the DEI. Such an approach encourages the integration of public policy and business practice into research methods.

To contact any of our Professors in Practice then please email 

Professor Brent Cheshire CBE- former UK Chairman of Ørsted [formerly DONG Energy]

Brent is a Durham University Geology Alumnus and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Durham University in 2012. Brent has over 40 years’ experience in leading roles in the energy industry. Brent is supporting the Engineering department to develop a world-leading Advisory Board and is advising the department on research and training, to ensure they are effectively responding to challenges with the energy sector.

Prof Helen Goodman, Independent Energy Advisor & Parliamentary Liaison

Helen was MP for Bishop Auckland 2005-2014. Prior to that, she was on the Treasury Select Committee 2015-17; Public Accounts Committee 2005-07 and on the Committee for the ground-breaking Climate Change Act of 2008. She initiated Parliamentary debates to mandate ministers prior to the Paris summit and on Geothermal Energy. Helen is also a Professor in Practice in the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham.

Professor Alan Lowdon OBE, Director of Strategic Development, National Offshore Wind Institute, Massachusetts & Durham University Professor in Practice

Alan has over 30 years' experience of the international energy and utility sectors- corporates, start-ups, and RTOs. He currently advises the National Offshore Wind Institute in Massachusetts, the UK Government’s innovation agency and the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab. 

Andrew Wright, former Board member leading the Energy Systems Division in Ofgem.

Andrew, a Durham University graduate, has 30 years of experience in the energy sector, including 10 years’ experience working in various roles at the national gas and electricity regulator Ofgem. Most recently he led the Energy Systems Division in Ofgem, responsible for ensuring regulation kept pace with the rapid changes in the energy system. Through the DEI, Andrew is a Professor in Practice for Durham University Business School and the Department of Engineering.

Barbara Vest OBE, Independent Specialist Advisor

Barbara, an independent Special Advisor, worked in the energy sector until August 2020. In December 2019 Barbara was awarded an OBE for services to the Energy Industry in the Queen's New Year’s Honours. In July 2020 Barbara was appointed a Life Member of the Executive Council of the House of Commons All Party Parliamentary Group for Energy Studies.