Published on 09 January 2019
A Professor of Materials Engineering and research team lead for composite and advanced materials, Alan joined the University on a fixed-term contract in 1983, becoming a permanent staff member in 1984. His first role was as Lecturer in Materials Science in the Department of Physical Sciences, at what was then Sunderland Polytechnic. Alan became Professor of Materials Engineering in 2004.
Processes and materials testing was the focus of Alan’s work, which he pioneered for a number of sectors. His research was specifically around composite and advanced materials and he led the ‘Universal Materials Testing’ unit at Sunderland for a number of years. Always upbeat, his colleagues described Alan as a loyal colleague, and one of the UK’s most accomplished professors of composite materials.
Alan was an under-graduate and post-graduate programme leader and is remembered as an engaging, supportive and helpful teacher who was generous with his time, giving advice and guidance to students - particularly during final project and dissertation periods.
Professor Alastair Irons, Academic Dean of the Faculty of Technology said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague Alan. He was a dedicated academic and a patient, supportive teacher who always ensured his students reached their potential. His illness progressed quickly and took him from us too soon; our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. Alan was well liked and respected: within our Faculty he was the ‘Father of the House’ and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”