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Personal profile

Vision Statement

My vision is for a harmonious, interconnected world that understands how to use technology to break down barriers and bridge divides.

Research Interests

Human society is increasingly reliant on complex, software-intensive systems, but our ability to comprehend and describe them is failing to keep pace with the technology. The result is increasingly chaotic, ad hoc networks of systems that behave in unexpected ways.

Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) extensively employ networked technologies and have great potential to benefit society: they can reduce accidents, provide mobility to those unable to drive, and reduce pollution. CAVs also create great challenges: they are massively complex, vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and pose threats to privacy. For them to operate securely, and therefore safely, CAVs must be developed and operated using advanced methods that exceed the existing capabilities of many of the organisations involved.

My research focusses on methods for developing secure connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs). I am interested particularly in how collaborating organisations can establish the conditions necessary for creating, maintaining, and retiring secure CAV technology. This is a massive challenge in an environment characterised by rapid innovation, conflicting needs, complex supply chains, and evolving legislative frameworks. The task is made yet more difficult by the lack of an agreed definition of acceptable security against which success can be measured.

I am exploring model-based methods for developing high-integrity vehicle systems and the application of formal methods at enterprise level for the assurance of development processes. My goal is to demonstrate how CAVs can be made more secure by applying rigorous engineering practices to multi-organisational business systems.


I am an innovative systems and software engineer with a passion for improving the way we create complex systems. Before starting my PhD full time, I ran my own consultancy, Omflow Limited, specialising in requirements-led engineering for international businesses. Omflow was actively engaged in research with multiple university partners, focusing on improving how global teams work together to deliver complex, high-integrity systems.

Since studying Electronic and Computer Engineering to Master's level in Leeds and Germany, my multifaceted, international career has taken me on a fascinating journey. After a period programming Formula 1 car control systems, I took a sabbatical travelling the world that culminated in me guiding whitewater rafts down a 7 metre waterfall. Next, I developed automated gearbox systems for a German Tier 1 automotive supplier, before launching a technical language services business serving German engineering companies. A return to active engineering saw me developing processes and tools for the UK powertrain research centre of a major Chinese car maker. My experiences here informed my decision to launch Omflow to provide international businesses with a holistic approach to reducing the costs and risks of complex projects.

In my spare time, I work actively to share the wonder of engineering and technology with young people as a volunteer Schools Liaison Officer. I am the co-founder of Derby’s Robot Day, which last year attracted over 850 visitors. I also practice yoga and enjoy gardening.

Education / Academic qualification

Electronic and Computer Engineering, MEng, University of Leeds

10 Oct 199310 Jul 1997

External positions

MBSE Patterns Working Group member, International Council on Systems Engineering, United Kingdom chapter

18 May 2016 → …

Schools Liaison Officer, The Institution of Engineering and Technology

10 Oct 2012 → …


  • QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
  • Formal methods
  • TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
  • Systems Engineering
  • Software Engineering
  • SysML
  • TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
  • Cybersecurity
  • Security
  • QA76 Computer software
  • Software engineering
  • TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 2016 2017

The Nuts and Bolts of becoming an Expert Translator

Powley, S. J. 19 May 2017

Research output: Research - peer-reviewAbstract

Nuts (fasteners)

Multilingual Systems Engineering

Powley, S. J., Perry, S. & Powley, R. 15 Nov 2016

Research output: Research - peer-reviewPaper

Systems engineering