Catapult board boosted with digital, policy and regulatory experience
Former MP Laura Sandys and Ofcom director Cristina Data will join Energy Systems Catapult board as non-executive directors, while Hannah Bronwin is set to become Commercial Director.
Cristina is Director of Spectrum Information and Analysis at the UK’s communications regulator Ofcom and has responsibility for providing spectrum insight on market trends, through the use of data. Cristina is also leading Ofcom’s work to make spectrum available for 5G, looking at the role 5G will play, alongside other technology developments such as AI and edge computing, in enabling innovation across a wide range of industry sectors.
Laura is a policy and business advisor specialising in the energy, food and resources sectors. She is a senior independent director at gas network company SGN Ltd; Chair of the Government’s Energy System Data Taskforce; Chair of the Food Foundation; and Co-Chair of the IPPR Environment and Justice Commission. Between 2010 and 2015, Laura was Conservative Member of Parliament for South Thanet.
Hannah joins the Catapult in the newly created role of Commercial Director and joins the Board as an Executive Director. Hannah spent 10 years at leading law firm, Linklaters, advising on energy projects in the UK and internationally. She is currently at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), where she is Deputy Director responsible for Nuclear Financing.
Laura Sandys said: “Working with Energy Systems Catapult on the Energy Data Taskforce and Reshaping Regulation programmes has always been inspiring. I have seen first-hand the type of innovative thinking and action that the Catapult brings to the UK energy sector.
“My aim is to continue challenging the Catapult to provide technical excellence, help guide innovators to market and provide thought-leadership to decision-makers.”
Cristina Data said: “The transformation of the energy system will be led as much by the digitalisation of energy as the decarbonisation agenda.
“I am delighted to be joining the Catapult board. I hope to bring insights from my experience of working in an industry at the heart of helping many organisations use innovative technology to ensure they are fit for a digital future. With harnessing the power of digital services being so crucial to the transformation of the UK’s energy system, I’m really looking forward to playing my part at this exciting time for the sector.”
Hannah Bronwin said: “Energy Systems Catapult has developed a range of capabilities that can help UK innovators lead the world in clean energy innovation.
“We want to work with UK businesses, large and small, to help them create new products and services that will capture the opportunity of clean growth.”
Energy Systems Catapult chair, Nick Winser CBE, said: “We launched the Energy Systems Catapult four year ago and even in that relatively short space of time, the sector’s shift in focus towards digital energy and the clean growth agenda has been astounding.
“To that end, the board felt the need to strengthen our oversight in two key areas – data and regulatory change.
“I am thrilled to welcome the calibre of Non-Executive Directors that we have secured in Laura and Cristina, and look forward to working with them to provide the kind of thought leadership both the Catapult and the industry needs.”
Energy Systems Catapult chief executive, Philip New, said: “We are delighted with the appointment of Hannah to our executive team as our first Commercial Director.
“Hannah brings extensive and varied experience spanning the regulatory, legal and energy fields and she will significantly reinforce the Catapult’s ability to ensure UK businesses and consumers capture the opportunities of clean growth as we accelerate the transformation of the UK’s energy system.”
Laura is currently a Senior Independent Director at SGN Ltd; Chair of the Government’s Energy Data Taskforce; Chair of the Food Foundation; and Co-Chair of the IPPR Environment and Justice Commission.
She runs the Reshaping Regulation Programme with Imperial College and Energy Systems Catapult and was a member of Government’s Cost of Energy Review chaired by Prof Dieter Helm.
Laura has been appointed a member of the Government’s CCUS Council and is a Member of Imperial College’s Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage Advisory Group.
She is an advocate of the low carbon economy, promoter of increasing demand reduction policies and innovator in food systems policies.
Working with the Catapult on the Energy Data Taskforce, she is involved in identifying new technological opportunities and learning from small companies with new ideas.
Laura is a former chair of the European Movement UK and former Conservative Party politician who served as the Member of Parliament for South Thanet between 2010 and 2015. Before Parliament, Laura founded and sold two companies advising energy and regulated businesses.
Cristina is the Director of Spectrum Information and Analysis at Ofcom. She and her team are responsible for providing insight on market trends and their impact on spectrum demand across all sectors.
She has led the developments of Spectrum Group information and data strategy, focusing on making the data on spectrum use more accessible; identifying additional data necessary to inform Ofcom spectrum policies, and ensuring that they have the most appropriate analytical tools.
Cristina has also been overseeing Ofcom’s open data strategy to ensure the release of relevant information in open format for ease of reuse. She has been in this role with Ofcom since August 2014, having previously been their Head of Operational Efficiency (2008-2014) where she was part of the Organisational Development Directorate, in charge of all change and efficiency projects across operational and regulatory areas.
Before joining Ofcom, Cristina worked for Red Bee Media where she had overall responsibility for market and competitor intelligence, market research and market sizing for strategic targeting. Prior to this she held group strategy/performance management positions at both Orange (now EE) and Telefonica.
Cristina is a passionate supporter of diversity in STEM and regularly speaks and attends conferences on this subject.
Cristina is married and has two young daughters.
Hannah Bronwin will be joining us in September from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, where she is Deputy Director for Nuclear Financing, leading the work for the department assessing a new approach to funding and financing GW-scale new nuclear.
Whilst at Linklaters, Hannah structured and executed complex, innovative deals to deliver energy and infrastructure projects in the UK and globally, working with the private sector and government. Her work included advising Thames Water on structuring the £4bn Thames Tideway Tunnel project, advising project companies and lenders on the financing of new-build CHP biomass plants and offshore wind projects in the UK, advising National Grid on its role as delivery body under the Electricity Market Reform and advising on various project financings in emerging markets.
Hannah is a trustee for Restless Development (a youth-led international development NGO) and is also doing a Masters degree in Economics and Policy of Energy and Environment from University College London.