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Michael Aspinall supervises 2 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Dr Michael Aspinall

Senior Lecturer in Digital Electronics

Michael Aspinall

Engineering Building



Research Interests

Dr Aspinall's research began during his degree in Mechatronic Engineering (2005) with contributions towards the design and implementation of an advanced neutron spectrometer funded by an EPSRC Instrumentation Development Award (GR/R38538/01). His PhD (2008) was sponsored by the Think Crime! EPSRC research project (EP/C008022/1) which formed the DISTINGUISH consortium. His work here specifically focused on real-time digital assay of mixed radiation fields with prominent developments in real-time, digital pulse-shape discrimination of neutrons and gamma rays. Further extensive work led to the embodiment of these findings into technology with a TRL 9 that has served several nuclear establishments supporting additional research in nuclear safeguards, non-proliferation, neutron imaging and fast-neutron multiplicity analysis. Most notably he oversaw the delivery of the bespoke processing hardware and software for the ADRIANA liquid scintillator array at Lancaster University as part of the National Nuclear User Facility (NNUF) (EP/L025671/1). From 2017 to 2021 he was part of a £1.6M EPSRC funded (EP/P018505/1) TORONE project that developed remotely operated instrumentation for the characterisation of extreme nuclear environments. He held an EPSRC UK-Japan Civil Nuclear Research Programme Phase 6 project to develop radiation tolerant criticality monitoring instrumentation (EP/T013532/1). As an embedded researcher applying transformative technologies for a NERC funded (NE/W007320/1) project, he is developing instrumentation to enable the field deployment of a novel waterborne tritium detection technique developed also at Lancaster University. He is a NERC Senior Member of the Constructing a Digital Environment (CDE) Expert Network 2022/23, previously a CDE Embedded Fellow 2021/22. He currently leads the STFC SWIMMR S5 projects (ST/W001810/1 and ST/X002241/1) to design, implement and deploy a new generation of ground-level neutron monitor (NM) to enhance the space weather monitoring capabilities of the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre (MOSWOC). He also leads an EPSRC UK-Japan Civil Nuclear Research Programme Phase 9 project to develop radiation tolerant robotics for remote inspection (EP/X022331/1), working closely with experts from the University of Manchester, Okayama University and Kobe City College of Technology.

Career Details

Senior Lecturer in Digital Engineering, August 2020 - present

Details: Lancaster University, Engineering Department.

Director of Postgraduate Teaching, undergraduate project supervision (x3), postgraduate project supervision (x1), PhD supervision (x2), PDRA supervision (x1). Convenor of two undergraduate modules; Engineering Project Managment and Fundamentals in Digital Electronics.


International Senior Lecturer in Digital Engineering (LUC-BJTU), May 2017 - July 2020

Details: Lancaster University, Engineering Department.

Lancaster University College at Beijing Jiaotong University (LUC-BJTU) is a joint institute established near Weihai, Shandong province, China.

"This joint institute offers the chance to study in China for a degree designed and accredited in partnership by two leading UK and Chinese universities. Lancaster University College at Beijing Jiaotong University offers degree programmes to both Chinese and international students. Courses are taught by Lancaster University and BJTU academics and graduates receive a qualification from both universities, as well as a joint academic transcript."

I currently deliver three undergraduate modules at the LUC-BJTU institute for the Electronics and Communications Engineering degree programme. These include Computers and Control, Fundamentals in Digital Electronics and Digital Electronics. 


Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering, December 2015 - April 2017

Details: Aston University started the Biomedical Engineering degree in September 2014. I started lecturing on the program in September 2015 and took a permanent position in December 2015. I was the first-year tutor, personal tutor of sixteen students across the three year-groups and supervise two third-year projects. Whilst in my position at Aston University I;

  • Designed and taught entirely new modules and assisted in curriculum design
  • Applied for and secured external funding
  • Conducted and disseminated research
  • Attended international conferences
  • Initiated internal Presentation of Research, Evaluation and Planning (PREP) meetings
  • Led introductory summer classes for sixth-form students
  • Established industry relations for fourth-year student placements and demonstration visits
  • Led innovation in teaching and learning
  • Acted as the Student Representative for the 2015/16 PGCert cohort
  • Trained as a STEM Ambassador and provided voluntary support for local events
  • Represented Aston University at the Big Bang Fair 2016 and the World Skills Show 2016

Contact: Prof James Wolffsohn, Pro vice chancellor, School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, B4 7ET.


Senior Systems Engineer, January 2010 - November 2015 (reduced to 1 day per week from December 2015 - present)

Details: Hybrid Instruments Ltd. is a Lancaster University spin out company specialising in solutions for real-time digital acquisition and analysis of signals arising from radiation detectors. My PhD research has been at the core of Hybrid's technology since 2008.

Contact: Dr Frank Cave, Commercial Director, Hybrid Instruments Ltd., The Gordon Manley Building, Lancaster Environmental Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YW.


Research Associate, October 2008 - December 2009

Details: Neutron spectrometer design upgrade and characterisation

Contact: Professor Malcolm Joyce, Head of Engineering Department, Lancaster University.


Design Consultancy, April 2008 - June 2008

Details: Neutron spectrometer design and manufacture

Contact: Dr Frank Cave, Commercial Director, Hybrid Instruments Ltd.


Research Assistant, June 2004 - August 2004

Details: Neutron spectrometer development

Contact: Professor Malcolm Joyce, Head of Engineering Department, Lancaster University.


Drawing Oce Assistant, Summer 2000, 2001, 2002

Details: Site measuring, CAD drawing

Contact: Mr Graham Wallace, Jenkins Design Services Ltd.

Research Grants

Support of several industry-based grant applications and awards totalling over £600k. I was the engineer responsible for the delivery of the digital analysers as part of the ADRIANA apparatus funded by an EPSRC/DECC equipment grant of £1,040k.

Current research grants

DERIvATE - Deployable ElectRochemIcally Assisted Tritium dEtection, Principal Investigator, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC, Embedded Researchers applying Transformative Technologies) (ST/W001810/1), 6 months, £55k,  started 8th November 2021.

GLEEM - Ground Level Enhancement Event Monitor, Principal Investigator, Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) (ST/W001810/1), 12 months, £174k,  started 28th June 2021.

Neutron time-of-flight spectroscopy, Principal Investigator, Joy Welch Educational Charitable Trust, 4 months, £4k, Awarded 14th April 2020.

REACTION - Radiation tolErant rApid CriTicality mONitoring, Primary Investigator, EPSRC (EP/T013532/1), 30 months, £247k, started 1st November 2019.

Past research grants 

Measurement of water borne tritium via electrochemical preconcentration, Principal Investigator, FST Impact Fund, 2 months, £3k, completed August 2021.

PISA - PosItion sensitive neutron detection by pulse Shape Analysis, Principal Investigator, UK NDN, 24 months, £35k, completed June 2021.

TORONE - TOtal characterisation for Remote Observation in Nuclear Environments, Co-Investigator, EPSRC (EP/P018505/1), 36 months, £1,579k, completed July 2021.

Rapid, interference free measurement of waterborne tritium, Principal Investigator, Joy Welch Educational Charitable Trust, 4 months, £4k, completed July 2020.

ARM - Advanced Real-time Multiplicity, Principal Investigator, National Nuclear Laboratory Ltd. (NNL), 12 months, £5k, completed March 2019.


HEA Fellow, Distinction in the Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, Aston University, November 2016

PhD, Real time digital assay of mixed radiation fields, Lancaster University, November 2008

BEng, First Class Honours, Mechatronic Engineering, Lancaster University, July 2005

Thesis Title

Real time digital assay of mixed radiation fields

Supervised By

Professor Malcolm J. Joyce

Other Interests and Hobbies

International distance runner, represented England, marathon best time of 2 hr 20 min.

Co-author, illustrator and publisher of two running related books.

Enthusiastic home improver. Keen gardener, cyclist and yogi.

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