Meet the team

Professor Emma Barrett

SPRITE+ Director (The University of Manchester)


Emma is Professor of Psychology, Security, and Trust and the University of Manchester’s strategic lead for Digital Trust and Security. Her role involves developing a multi-disciplinary community of researchers to apply their expertise to all aspects of digital security.

Before joining UoM in March 2018, Emma was Research to Practice Fellow at the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST) at Lancaster University, leading efforts to ensure that CREST’s research activities focused on end user requirements and fostering strong links between academics and stakeholders. From 2003-2015, she led a UK Government research unit of 25 specialist staff and contractors that developed and applied behavioural, psychological, and social science research to a range of security and defence issues. She was awarded the OBE in 2010.

Emma is a Chartered Psychologist. She completed her doctorate in Psychology at the University of Birmingham and holds a MSc in Investigative Psychology, a Conversion Diploma in Psychology, and a BSc in Anthropology. She is the co-author of Extreme: Why some people thrive at the limits (Oxford University Press, 2014), and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Professor William Lee

SPRITE+ Co-Director (Imperial College London)


Bill is Co-Director of the Imperial’s Institute for Security Science and Technology and Ser Cymru Professor of Materials in Extreme Environments at University of Bangor. His research interests include use of ceramics in extreme environments including as Ultra-High Temperature Ceramics in re-entry vehicles. Bill has networked extensively with DSTL, AWE, and other Government agencies and across a range of industrial sectors including defence, manufacturing, nuclear and security. He was head of Imperial’s Materials Department (2006-10), Director of the Centre for Nuclear Engineering (2011-16) and Director (2013-16) of a CDT in Nuclear Energy (EP/L015900/1) with Cambridge and Open Universities.

Bill has initiated successful multidisciplinary centres in radioactive waste Immobilisation Science (at Sheffield with BNFL), Advanced Structural Ceramics (EP/F033605/1), Engineering and Manufacturing Studies (with AWE) and currently is a member of two EPSRC programme grant consortia in materials for extreme environments (EP/K008749/1) and transpiration cooling in hypersonic vehicles (EP/P000878/1).

Bill has advised UK Government as a member of Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board, Deputy Chair of the DECC advisory Committee on Radioactive Waste Management, and special advisor nuclear to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee (2013).

Dr Stacey Conchie

SPRITE+ Co-Director (Lancaster University)


Stacey is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Lancaster University and director of the behavioural science group within Security Lancaster. Her main interest is how trust shapes socio-emotional exchanges, especially in high-risk security and safety settings.

Stacey has worked with a number of industry and government partners to understand the impact of trust on safety- and security- related behaviours. Using field and experimental methods, she has helped agencies understand the role of trust in leader-follower exchange, the changing nature of trust following micro and macro interventions, the measurement of trust using implicit and explicit methods, both offline and online, and the impact of distrust on team performance and how this may be addressed.

Stacey is a Chartered Psychologist, a member of the UK’s Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats, and an incoming board member (as communications director) of the First International Network of Trust.

Professor Sakir Sezer

SPRITE+ Co-Director (Queen’s University Belfast)


Professor Sezer is the Director of Research and the Head of the Networked System Security at the Centre for Secure Information Technology (CSIT). He is a world-renowned authority in high-performance network processing and Internet security technologies. His research is leading major advances in the field of high-performance content and security processing, spanning cybersecurity related topics in malware, embedded systems, IoT, ICS and network security, in collaboration with leading corporations in the US and UK. Professor Sezer is also co-founder and CTO of Titan IC Systems Ltd, and is a member of various research and executive committees.

Professor Vladimiro Sassone

SPRITE+ Co-Director (University of Southampton)


Vladimiro is Professor of Cyber Security, holds a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair and leads the University’s cyber security activities. He is Director of the NCSC/GCHQ Academic Centre of Excellence for Cyber Security Research, and of the Cyber Security Academy, a partnership between Academia, Industry and Government to advance cyber security through research, innovation, education and training.

Vladimiro’s research expertise is on cyber security, including social and human factors, cyber-crime, data privacy (anonymity and anonymisation), internet-of-things, trust, provenance, blockchain, internet computing, foundations of computation. He has authored about 250 publications, reaching an h-index of 37 and around 3800 citations (source PoP). Since 2014, he has secured in excess of £3.8m in research funds. Vladimiro has developed large networks of collaborators in academia, industry and government, including The Cabinet Office, FCO, DBEIS, NCA, ICO, NAO, FCA and Bank of England, and worked with governments internationally, Italy, Malta and West Bengal, and nationally, NCSC/GCHQ, DSTL, the Regional Organised Crime Units and Hampshire Police. He is Chief Scientific Officer at the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finances.

Professor Mark Elliot

SPRITE+ Expert Fellows Co-ordinator (The University of Manchester)


Mark Elliot has worked at University of Manchester since 1996, mainly in the field of statistical confidentiality, founding the international renowned Confidentiality and Privacy Research Group (CAPRI) in 2002, and has managed numerous research projects within CAPRI remit.

He is one of the key international researchers in the field of Statistical Disclosure and collaborates widely with non-academic partners, particularly with national statistical agencies where he has been a key influence on disclosure control methodology used in censuses and surveys and where the SUDA software that he developed in collaboration with colleagues in Computer Science at Manchester is used. In 2012, he has led the UK Anonymisation Network, which has 600 members and provides advice, consultancy and training on anonymisation.

Aside from Confidentiality, Privacy and Disclosure, his research interests include Data Science Methodology and its application to social science. He is director of the University’s new interdisciplinary MSc in Data Science and the doctoral programme in Data analytics and society.

Dr Natalie Theodoulou

SPRITE+ Project Manager (The University of Manchester)


Natalie conducted her undergraduate studies in Chemistry at the University of Oxford before joining GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as a Medicinal Chemist. During her 5 years at GSK, Natalie completed her Industrial PhD in Chemistry (in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde) and worked on a variety of drug discovery programmes for cancer, respiratory and infectious disease. In addition to her lab work, Natalie supervised undergraduate and postgraduate students and worked with researchers from various institutions on academic-industry partnerships and collaborative networks. Natalie undertook a leading role in the GSK Chemistry community through the organisation of international conferences, training events and academic lecture programmes.

Following a position in the Technology Transfer Office at the University of Salford, Natalie joined the University of Manchester as a Research Impact Officer in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. In this role, Natalie supported academics to deliver impact from their research and managed various funding schemes and multidisciplinary research networks.

Natalie has since joined the SPRITE+ team as Project Manager, responsible for managing all operational activities to ensure delivery of the work programme.

Dr Dmitry Dereshev

SPRITE+ Digital Content Manager (The University of Manchester)


Dmitry Dereshev is a Research Associate at the University of Manchester, creating and managing digital content for SPRITE+. His portfolio includes data science projects, publications on human-robot interaction, and award-winning national and international outreach work.