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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 vehicles 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. Connected vehicles 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, connected vehicles must be developed and operated using advanced methods that exceed the existing capabilities of many of the organisations involved.


My research focusses on methods applicable across the secure connected vehicle lifecycle. I am interested particularly in how collaborating organisations can establish the conditions necessary for creating, maintaining, and retiring secure connected vehicle 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 applying the same methods used for developing high-integrity vehicle technology to the enterprise itself. My goal is to demonstrate how connected vehicles can be made more secure by using rigorous engineering practices to describe and organise multi-organisational business systems. My study uses model-based systems engineering methods to identify and describe patterns of good practice that help achieve this goal.


The study explores how collaborating organisations can establish the conditions necessary for creating, maintaining, and retiring secure connected vehicle technology. Each collaborating organisation can use the resulting suite of patterns to map their individual enterprise practices to a common framework. This mapping will allow comparative benchmarking of capabilities that improve security within and across the organisations involved. It also facilitates fully traceable auditing against the various security standards applied in the multiple industries that contribute to the connected vehicle lifecycle.


Collaboration between automotive OEMs, electronics and software suppliers, communications providers, insurers, legislators, service partners, third-party app developers, dismantlers (and more) is essential for secure products. Yet being able to easily identify and assure good practice across collaborating organisations that do not share a common body standards remains a significant challenge. My study aims to provide the means to address this challenge.



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

IET Automotive & Road Transport Systems Executive Team

Jan 2018 → …

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
  • Methods
  • Modelling
  • Conceptual
  • Patterns
  • Cybersecurity
  • Cyber
  • Security
  • Design
  • Enabling
  • TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
  • Systems Engineering
  • Software Engineering
  • SysML
  • Cyber
  • Security
  • Cybersecurity
  • TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
  • Cybersecurity
  • High integrity
  • Cyber
  • Security
  • Safety Critical
  • Capability
  • Compliance
  • Assurance
  • Standards
  • Guidelines
  • QA76 Computer software
  • Software engineering
  • Cybersecurity
  • Cyber
  • Security
  • Patterns
  • TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
  • Cyber
  • Security
  • Cybersecurity
  • Capability

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Research Output

  • An Evaluation Ontology Applied to Connected Vehicle Security Assurance

    Powley, S., Perry, S., Holt, J. & Bryans, J., 27 Sep 2019, INCOSE International Symposium: The Proceedings of the Annual INCOSE International Symposium. 1 ed. USA: Wiley, Vol. 29. p. 37-52 16 p. (INCOSE Proceedings).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding

  • INCOSE Practitioners Challenge 2019: Clean Water and Sanitation in the Ganges River Basin

    El-Haloush, O., Powley, S., Kaushik, Y., Flanigan, D. & Sitomer, J., 12 Nov 2019, In : Insight. 22, 3, p. 28-33 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

  • What's in a Name?

    Perry, S. & Powley, S., 20 Nov 2019, Proceedings - Annual Systems Engineering Conference 2019: Celebrating the Future of Systems Engineering. INCOSE UK, 7 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding

  • The Nuts and Bolts of becoming an Expert Translator

    Powley, S. J., 19 May 2017.

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

  • Prizes

    Barry Gidden Bursary

    Stephen John Powley (Recipient), 14 Feb 2019

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)