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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Students are supported by a supervisor who will guide their learning on both individual assignments and the group project. Assignment supervisors also contribute to the learning of the cohort as a whole by delivering sessions in their individual areas of expertise. Assignment supervisors will support Postgraduate Certificate students for the duration of the course. They will support Master’s student through the first year. Biographies of some of our most recent supervisors can be found below. Supervisors may change for future cohorts. Read more about our supervisors thoughts on the importance of sustainability education for built environment leadership In year two of the Masters students are supported by a dissertation supervisor. Find out more about our dissertation supervisors here.


Dr Tim Forman

Tim Forman

Dr Tim Forman is a Senior Research Associate and Senior Teaching Associate at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. Tim is a Course Director of the Interdisciplinary Design for the Built Environment (IDBE) postgraduate courses, and he leads research into the exemplary retrofit and refurbishment of the Entopia Building by CISL.

Tim has a multi-disciplinary background in the built environment sector, with experience in architecture, construction and engineering contexts. Tim’s research and teaching interests relate to the professional practice agenda for a rapid transition to sustainability and resilience priorities. Tim is particularly interested in challenges associated with existing buildings and designing and constructing them to meet changing climate conditions and social needs. Tim’s teaching and research are focused on the roles of designers, engineers, constructors and operators in meeting these challenges and on the value of interdisciplinary collaboration in delivering more successful projects and more sustainable buildings and cities.

Prior to joining CISL, Tim spent several years as a Research Associate at the Centre for Sustainable Development in the Department of Engineering and as a Teaching Fellow with the MPhil Engineering for Sustainable Development course in 2019 and 2020.

Tim is a regular participant in forums and roundtables on sustainability and strategy for industry and policy, and he works as a consultant to industry on sustainability practices, strategy and assessment.

William F Lyons

Bill Lyons is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Resilience and Security at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont. He is also the Founder and Chief Executive of the Fort Hill Companies LLC, a professional planning, design, and construction management firm based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Over the last 20 years, Bill’s practice has included service to a wide variety of clients, including federal, state, and local governments; institutional investors and portfolio managers; and traditional real estate developers, owners, and operators. Bill’s practice has a global scope, having served clients on five continents and in 19 countries. He is currently supporting the activities of the United States Agency for International Development in South Sudan, where he currently resides. In Boston, Bill directs planning and design activities for a significant portfolio of real estate development projects in the city’s Seaport District. 

Bill is a licensed attorney, professional engineer, urban planner, and real estate broker. He uses his diverse background to challenge traditional planning and design approaches and provide thought leadership for sustainable strategies in the urban context. He also lectures on construction, legal, and engineering topics. He holds academic appointments at Wentworth Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts – Amherst, and Norwich University. His research interests include urban climate resiliency, sustainable mobility, and the nexus between climate resilience, sustainability, and human security. Bill retired from the United States Army in the rank of Colonel as the Deputy Director of Logistics for the United States Army Corps of Engineers. 

Bill holds a Juris Doctor, a Master of Studies in Sustainability Leadership, a Master of Transportation and Urban Systems, a Master of Strategic Studies, and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He is currently a candidate for a PhD in Transportation Engineering. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Institute of Transportation Engineers and a member of the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation in the UK.

Paul Michael Pelken

Paul Michael Pelken is an experienced registered architect, academic, and innovator with a consistent 20 year track record of award winning and patented developments in design, architecture, and engineering.

He has extensive experience working on projects ranging from industrial design to large scale architectural structures, and has practiced in Germany, Italy, the UK, USA and China. His work has been widely published and exhibited. He is driving change at the interfaces of academic and industry led developments, incl. EPSRC funded work at UCL, research supervision at the University of Cambridge, and Visiting Professorships at Nanjing University and Southeast University.

Most recently he secured significant Innovate UK "KTP" and "Transforming Construction Challenge" grant funding in his industry role, and is co-inventor of 5 pending industry patents. Prior to assuming leadership roles to manage Research & Development portfolios in the construction industry, he was a tenured Research Professor at Syracuse University, Research Fellow at the New York State - Center of Excellence for Energy and Environmental Systems, and Director of SU's London Architecture Program. He has published over 30 papers, and has lectured and contributed to over 40 conferences internationally including several invited keynotes in the UK, USA, Germany, Finland and Colombia.

Michael is founding partner of London based P+ Studio and Consulting, and Innovation Director for Keltbray Group. In 2017 he joined the faculty at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, and was made Senior Associate in 2018. In 2019 he was appointed as Honorary Visiting Professor at City, University of London, followed by appointment as Visiting Professor at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, in 2021.

Dr Judith Plummer-Braeckman

Judith Plummer-Braeckman

Judith completed a PhD at the University of Cambridge considering the optimisation of the process of planning and developing large infrastructure projects, including the economic, social, environmental and institutional effects of delays in project development.  With CISL she has been engaged in the FutureDAMS research project which explored how global capital flows can influence the emergence of more sustainable hydropower infrastructure.   Judith is a tutor on both the Masters in Sustainability Leadership and the Masters in Interdisciplinary Design and the Built Environment as well as being an Affiliated Lecturer at the Department of Engineering. 

For the majority of her career, Judith has worked on large infrastructure and engineering projects in developing countries with the aim of bringing sustainable improvements in living standards and reductions in poverty. Judith's principal area of expertise is in the structuring, financing and economic development of infrastructure utilities and projects. Whilst working at the World Bank, she was jointly responsible for developing and implementing a strategy for re-engagement of the World Bank in the construction of large water infrastructure. Judith continues to advise the World Bank on sustainable infrastructure development.

Professor Francesco Pomponi

Francesco is Professor of Sustainability Science at Edinburgh Napier University, where he heads the Resource Efficient Built Environment Lab (REBEL). His academic expertise lies in life cycle assessment, embodied and whole life carbon, and the circular economy. Within the built environment his work revolves around low-carbon buildings, measurement, management and mitigation of environmental impacts, and passive design. 

He has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications and secured in excess of £1.5M in funding from the EPSRC, the Royal Academy of Engineering, UKRI, Innovate UK and the EU. He is an Editor of Elsevier’s Sustainable Production and Consumption and editorial board member of various international journals. 

Outside academic work, Francesco has acted as advisor and peer-reviewer for the International Energy Agency (IEA), for which he also represents the UK within the Annex 72. He has reviewed for the IPCC, LETI, CIBSE, and a number of other national and international bodies. In 2017 he contributed to the landmark RICS professional statement on whole life carbon in the built environment and in 2020 he led and co-authored the embodied carbon roadmap for Scotland. In 2021, to further maximise the impact of his work he has also taken on the role of Head of Carbon Maths at Extantia Capital, a leading VC climate tech fund based in Berlin that aims to fund companies able to achieve deep decarbonisation and contribute to solving the current climate crises. 

Francesco is an elected Steering Committee Member of the UK’s Whole Life Carbon Network, a Fellow of the RSA and of the Higher Education Academy, and is available for consultancies and to hear from motivated and talented prospective PhD students.

Dr Renard Siew

Renard Siew is Board of Advisor to the Centre for Governance & Political Studies (CENT-GPS) where he is responsible for advancing the organisation’s work in the field of climate change and sustainability.
He is the Founder of Accelerating Climate Action and has served as Co-Chair of the Climate Change & Disaster Risk Management Working Committee under the Global Young Academy and UNEP-FI’s Collective Commitment on Climate Action. In 2020, he was appointed an SDG Champion-Climate Action by the World Economic Forum (WEF). He is a member of the WEF Expert Network Group on sustainability and serves on the WEF Global Future Council on SDG Investment. He was accepted into the Forbes Fellowship Programme in 2018 and attended the inaugural UN Climate Action Summit in New York in 2019. He has also lectured and been appointed Industry Advisor for various universities.

Prior to this, he was involved in the implementation of the sustainability agenda for a number of public-listed corporations (Sime Darby, CIMB) and was a postdoctoral fellow & researcher at the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets (CEEM) contributing thought leadership in: sustainability/ integrated reporting, ESG integration, socially responsible investment (across different asset classes: equities, infrastructure and property/real estate), climate change and sustainable construction for the building/infrastructure sector. Renard is a graduate of UNSW, CISL (Postgraduate in Sustainable Value Chains) and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. In 2013, he was selected as one of 15 scholars to attend the PhD Academy at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). He has published in many international refereed journals. In 2014, he won a Highly Commended Paper award by the Emerald Literati Network and was inducted into the prestigious Global Young Academy as recognition of his research impact.

Dr Sarah Fitton

Sarah is founder and Director of Aurora Engagements Ltd.  Aurora Engagements is a small, flexible, and responsive consultancy working with clients to understand how best to meaningfully engage with stakeholders and how the social value of their built environment projects can be identified, created, articulated, maximised, measured and reported.  Sarah specialises in, but is not limited to, projects concerned with flood infrastructure and with communities at risk from flooding.  Some of her clients include the Environment Agency, Thames Water and Defra.  

Sarah spent 12 years working in industry at Arup in the fields of town planning, transport planning and social value.  Her project experience ranged from large masterplans to small planning applications, to social value strategy development, to the development and facilitation of stakeholder engagement events.  She also completed a PhD in the Centre for Sustainable Development at the University of Cambridge in 2013 examining the social value of infrastructure.  Her research examined how the social value of flood infrastructure was articulated and perceived by both industry and communities and how the stakeholder engagement process impacted the perception of social value.  She continues to carry out research in this area and has had a number of journal articles published and continues to publish her work both academically and in industry publications.

Sarah is a Chartered Town Planner with the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), a guest lecturer on social value for the CEM (Construction Engineering Masters) course at the University of Cambridge and a dissertation supervisor for the IDBE course.  She is a member of the Environment Agency’s Stakeholder Engagement and Communications Community of Practice (SECCOP) and a member of the BREEAM Social Impact Technical Working Group.