Dr. Helen Freeman


I currently have three roles at the University of Leeds, UK: network manager for the Future Urban Ventilation Network (FUVN), in the Faculty of Engineering, institute manager for the Leeds Institute for Fluid Dynamics, and policy engagement manager for the Future Leaders Fellowship Development Network. I have an academic background in materials science and environmental engineering and a passion for science communication and research impact.

The Future Urban Ventilation Network (FUVN) is a UKRI funded research network, under the SPF Clean Air Programme (PI Prof. Cath Noakes). FUVN brings together researchers and practitioners across the UK to develop a new “Breathing City” methodology to manage exposure to air pollution by considering the airflows between indoor and outdoor environments. I work Monday Tuesday and Wednesday in this role.

The Leeds Institute for Fluid Dynamics is a cross-disciplinary research institute bringing together the expertise of over 200 members of staff, postdoctoral researchers and PhD students with teaching and research interests in fluid dynamics. The institute was established in 2018, and builds on a 50 year interdisciplinary track record of research in fluids. We provide a hub to facilitate world-leading research and education in fluid dynamics and to bring interdisciplinary perspectives to complex flow challenges. I work Thursdays in this role.

The Future Leaders Fellows Development Network is a UK-wide programme providing leadership and career development opportunities to Future Leaders Fellows (FLFs) and UKRI-nominated Early Career Researchers. the network currently hosts over 500 Future Leaders Fellows and Early Career Researchers, supporting their development as leaders both within their teams, institutions and sectors through the delivery of training, community networking and expanding their understanding of the wider research environment. I work Fridays in this role

In 2021 I held a Parliamentary Academic Fellowship with the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology working on a research briefing associated with low carbon building materials.The output of this fellowship was a POSTbrief titled ‘Reducing the whole life carbon impact of buildings

Prior to this I worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in materials science and electron microscopy at the University of Leeds (2018-2020) and the German research centre for geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam (2016-2018). I have a BSc in Physics (2010) and a Masters in Environmental Energy and Engineering (2011) from the University of Manchester. I completed my PhD in radiation damage of nuclear graphite at the University of Leeds (2016).


  • Network Manager for the Future Urban Ventilation Network
  • Institute Manager for the Leeds Institute for Fluid Dynamics
  • Policy Engagement Manager for the Future Leaders Fellows Development Network

Research interests

Air quality and ventilation https://breathingcity.org/

Fluid dynamics https://fluids.leeds.ac.uk/

Policy Engagement https://www.flfdevnet.com/ 





  • BSc Physics, University of Manchester
  • MSc Sustainable and Environmental Technology, University of Manchester
  • Space Studies Programme, International Space University
  • PhD Nuclear Engineering, University of Leeds

Professional memberships

  • IOP
  • RMS
  • IOM3

Research groups and institutes

  • Cities, Infrastructure and Energy