School of Engineering

Staff Profile

Dr Sara Walker

Senior Lecturer


Google Scholar Profile


BSc(Hons) Physics, 1988-1991, Leicester University

Post Graduate Certificate in Education, 1991-1992, Leicester University.

MSc Environmental Science, 1993-1994, Nottingham University, thesis: "Impact of thermal comfort on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome".

PhD, 1997-2003, De Montfort University, thesis: "The impact of domestic electricity supply competition on the application of renewable energy technologies in the UK".


Dr Walker spent eight years at De Montfort University, where her research and teaching focussed on renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, and where she also completed a PhD part time. This PhD investigated the impact of electricity sector deregulation on renewable energy market share. During that period with De Montfort University, Dr Walker worked on a number of research projects around renewable energy and energy efficiency, primarily funded by the European Commission.

Dr Walker then moved out of academia and into industry, with a five year period in energy related consultancies. This consultancy work for Econnect and IT Power included contribution to the influential report “Potential for micro-generation: study and analysis” published by Energy Saving Trust for the DTI. Dr Walker also worked on high profile projects for commercial clients, such as London Array.

In 2007, Dr Walker joined Northumbria University and continued her research on renewable energy and energy efficiency. She also developed new programmes, including the MEng Building Services Engineering, and successfully ran programmes, managed staff and developed research and business outreach. Her first role was as Subject Director for the Building Services team. Following a restructure she took on the role of Director of Research and Engagement for the Department of Architecture, Construction and Engineering. Later she was promoted to a Faculty role, as Director of Business and Engagement for the Faculty of Engineering and Computing..

In September 2015 Dr Walker joined Newcastle University in the School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering. She was Degree Programme Director for the MSc Renewable Energy Flexible Training Programme (REFLEX) and MSc Renewable Energy and Enterprise Management (REEM) until 2017. In 2017 she became Director of Expertise for Infrastructure research.

Faculty roles

Building as a Lab academic lead (Jan 2016 - Aug 2017)

Faculty Estates Strategy Group (Apr 2016 - Aug 2017)

EPSRC Prosperity Outcomes Award Panel (Aug 2016)

Engineering Excellence Organisation Group (Sep 2015-Jan 2016)

School roles

Director of Infrastructure (Aug 2017 - present)

Degree Programme Director (Sep 2015 - Mar 2017)

School Learning & Teaching Committee (Sep 2015 - Aug 2017)

Chair Athena Swan SAT (Jun 2016 - Aug 2017)

Chair Equality and Diversity Group (Jan 2016 - Aug 2017)

Member Athena Swan SAT (Sep 2015 - Jan 2016)




I am currently interested in concepts of resilience as they are used in other disciplines, and whether these concepts are transferable to the energy sector. The energy sector in 2050 is likely to be very different to it’s current state and the existing concept of resilience and supply security may not fit with this future. I am also interested in renewable energy technology performance, and energy policy.

Current projects:

Co-Investigator and Associate Director for the National Centre for Energy Systems Integration.

The £20m EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI) is primarily funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Siemens. The balance of funding comes from industry and academic partners.  The Centre brings together energy experts from around the world to help unravel the energy network and understand future supply and demand. The Centre draws upon the expertise of leading academics from the universities of:

  • Newcastle
  • Heriot-Watt
  • Sussex
  • Edinburgh
  • Durham

The Centre paves the way to a flexible smart infrastructure, empowering customers and giving them greater control of their energy use. It allows industry to meet the tough new low carbon targets. Providing us with robust messages about the real world, the aim is to understand how we can optimise the energy network, drive down customer bills and inform future government policy.

Grant Ref:           EP/P001173/1

Principal Investigator for Building as a Power Plant (£167,000)

  • The local electricity distribution networks may need to be managed in a more active way in future
  • Demand side management is one possible active management methods
  • DSM is usually done by large industrial loads, at electricity transmission network scale
  • However, there is the potential for an individual building to offer services to the local electricity distribution network
  • This project will investigate the feasibility of the Urban Sciences Building (Newcastle University) to offer services. The building is an interesting case study since it includes electricity generation, storage and demand, and thermal generation, storage and demand

Grant ref:                 EP/P034241/1

Previous projects:

Urban scale building energy network (EPSRC), £24,000

e-mobility NSR (Interreg), €6.5m

Charge Your Car (Zero Carbon Futures), £100,000

Retrofit Reality (Housing Corporation and Gentoo), £30,000

Distributed generation with high penetration of renewable energy sources (DISPOWER) (Framework Programme 5), €17m

Deriving optimal promotion for increasing the share of RES-E in a dynamic European electricity market (Green-X) (Framework Programme 5), €1m

Tradable renewable energy certificate know-how and inititatives network (TRECKIN), €1m

Large scale self-financing of energy efficiency measures in Leicester and Barcelona (Altener), €1m



Programme leadership:

Sep 2015 - Mar 2017 : Degree Programme Director for Renewable Energy Flexible Training Programme (REFLEX) and Renewable Energy, Enterprise and Management (REEM) Masters degree programmes.

Module leadership:

SPG8006 Wind and hydro energy technology

SPG8009 Renewable energy: Policy, Politics and Practice

SPG8014 Introduction to hydro, wind, wave and tidal technology

SPG8024 Quantifying energy decision making

Other Teaching:

MSc dissertation projects