Group Members

Members of the Equality and Diversity Committee

Rhaana Starling





Dr Rhaana Starling (Chair) Prof. Paul O'Brien (Head of Department)
Dr Richard Alexander Rosie Johnson
Dr Gillian Butcher Daxa Patel
Dr Sarah Casewell Dr Rosie Leigh
Nicolle Finch
Dr Mark Wilkinson


Dr Darren Wright

Dr Rhaana Starling - Chair

Rhaana is a Lecturer in extragalactic astronomy and Head of Year 3 Teaching, and previously held a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin fellowship. She has chaired the EDWG since 2014. Rhaana was a member of the Royal Society Diversity Committee 2013-2016.

Prof Paul O'Brien

Paul is Professor of Astrophysics and Space Science, and Head of Department of Physics and Astronomy. His research interests are directed at investigating compact objects in the universe, and he is currently involved in the development of a number of new observing facilities. Paul is committed to tackling equality and diversity issues in the department through our Athena SWAN and IOP Juno action plans. He has a mentoring role on the Aurora Leadership Programme.

Dr Richard Alexander

Richard is a Reader in Theoretical Astrophysics, and currently holds an ERC Consolidator Grant. His research looks at the dynamics of accretion discs across a wide range of scales, with a focus on planet formation and the assembly of planetary systems. Richard was one of the first physicists to take advantage of the UK's extended paternity leave scheme, and his experiences were was highlighted as an example of good practice by the IOP's Juno programme. On the EDWG his main responsibility lies in supporting the career development of early-career researchers.

Dr Gillian Butcher

Gillian is a postdoctoral research associate and the representative of the Space Science and Instrumentation (SSI) Group. She has been a research associate for fifteen years. She sits on various university, national and international committees concerned with women in physics and contributes to outreach activities.

Dr Sarah Casewell

Sarah is a postdoctoral researcher providing science support for the Leicester Institute of Space and Earth Observation. She is also a member of the X-ray and Observational Astronomy group, and is the postdoctoral representative on the College Research Committee.  She is a member of the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Women in SET focus group. Sarah has wide interests related to Athena Swan activities, particularly those related to postdoctoral training and career progression, as well as attracting a larger percentage of women into science, and ensuring their retention.

Nicolle Finch

Nicolle is a postgraduate student in the X-ray and Observational Astronomy group.

Rosie Johnson

Rosie is a postgraduate student in the Radio and Space Plasma Physics group and her research focuses on the aurora of Jupiter. Rosie is involved in a number of outreach activities such as mentoring at Space School UK (a week long summer residential hosted by the University of Leicester) and she has participated in Soapbox Science which is a novel public outreach platform for promoting women scientists and the science they do. Rosie joined the EDWG to help create an equal environment in which anyone can study physics or work in the department.

Daxa Patel

Daxa is a member of the Professional Services division, and supports the activities of the group.

Dr Rosie Leigh

Rosie is the Earth Observation Science group representative and coordinates the outreach programme in Earth Observation Science.

Dr Mark Wilkinson

Mark is a Reader in the Theoretical Astrophysics Group.

Dr Darren Wright

Darren is a Reader and Head of Year 1 Teaching, working in the Radio and Space Plasma Physics (RSPP) Group. He acts as their primary outreach officer and is the coordinator of the public-facing Leicester Physics Centre. Darren is the departmental Equalities Officer and former chair of the EDWG.


New members are always welcome. Contact Rhaana Starling (rlcs1).

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