Dr. Jonathan Francis

Head of John Tyndall Institute / Head of UCLan Nuclear Research

School of Engineering

Computing and Technology Building, CM023

+44 (0) 1772 89 3229


Subject Areas: Engineering, Fire and Fire Safety, Nuclear

Dr Jonathan Francis is Principal Lecturer and Head of UCLan Nuclear Research. He is keenly interested in Fire, Nuclear and Process Mechanical Engineering with emphasis on applications of fluid mechanics, thermal dynamics and industrial ventilation. Jonathan has extensive experience of collaborating with industry in vocational courses, staff development and applied research. He is also an experienced research degree supervisor and is willing to consider fresh applicants.

Full Profile

Dr Francis was educated in Hull, where he attended Trinity House Navigation School before entering a marine engineering cadetship with P & O. With three years of sea-going experience, Jonathan returned to Hull where he took his first degree in 1990 after completing a sandwich degree at the local polytechnic, gaining experience at Capper Pass & Sons (tin smelting and semi-precious metal recovery / separation processes). He then moved to Manchester and following a period with National Vulcan Safety Products Ltd, in 1995 completed a PhD in the Division of Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics at UMIST.

Dr Francis came to Central Lancashire in 1995 to continue his research and to develop modules for the Building Services and Fire Engineering programmes, rising to Principal Lecturer and Head of a Research Institute. Jonathan has a long association with the nuclear industry. Since 1997 he has had a continuous applied research activity, some of which has been funded by the nuclear industry and aimed at nuclear process safety. He established the first foundation degree to operate from the Sellafield site and from the university's Westlakes campus.

In 2008 Jonathan was appointed Head of John Tyndall Institute for Nuclear Research where he has built a team of experienced academic and professional staff to support the growth in nuclear-related work that was being experienced by UCLan. Further success led in 2011 to the creation of UCLan Nuclear with an expanded portfolio of work and staff, retaining John Tyndall Institute as the research arm of the group.

Until 2011, Jonathan also led UCLan's involvement with the nuclear skills agenda, collaborating with national companies, sector skills council bodies and local educational and training partners to produce innovative demand-led courses; and culminating in the development of the Working Higher foundation degrees (for more information see http://www.cogent-ssc.com/working-higher/). The immediate success of those courses did not change Jonathan's preference for teaching, learning and particularly research. A delight in the engineering science of his field and the pleasure of seeing (and coaching) students (to) attain their targets are in his view the twin great attractions of an academic career.


Francis, J. (2005) Pressure-Relief Valve Design, Encyclopedia of Chemical Processing. Taylor & Francis, pp. 2423-2437.

Refereed Journal Publications

Whitty, J.P.M., Francis, J., Howe, J. & Henderson, B. (under review) Computational modelling of structural integrity following mass loss in polymeric charred cellular solids. International Journal of Applied Mechanics. Trans ASME.

Francis, J. & Chen, A.P., (2012) Observable characteristics of flashover. Fire Safety Journal, 51, 49-52.

Francis, J., Zhang, G., & Parker, D. (2012) Case study: vortex amplifier assemblies for glovebox applications containing radiological hazard. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part E-Journal of Process Mechanical Engineering, 226, (E2), 157-174.

More publications


1996 £30,000 (+ subsequent £10,000) “Compartment fire ventilation and effect of lining thermal inertia” – UCLan internal.

1996 £20,000 “Monitoring equipment support for existing and planned compartment fire research projects” – EPSRC.

1997 $5,000 “Compartment fire project” - SFPE (studentship support).

1998 £51,000 (+ in-kind support to the value of £10,000 in equipment and staff time).

“Design and performance studies of vortex amplifiers “ – BEL BNFL.

2000 £12,000 (fees + investment of £30,000 in equipment) “Air-to-air heat pump recovery and storage” – Industrial University with Blackburn College.

2000 £1,500 “Undergraduate research student project” – Nuffield Foundation.

2001 £8,000 (fees + in-kind support with access to experimental facilities and staff time, to an estimated value of £15,000) “Whirling flames” – Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service.

2001 £25,000 (fees + in-kind support for creation of experimental facility and staff time, to an estimated value of £10,000) “Flashover studies” - collaborative research project with Chinese People’s.

Armed Police Academy

2005 £50,000 (+ in-kind support in staff time and access to BTC facilities, to an estimated the value of £60,000) “Design for low leakage in vortex amplifiers” – BNFL and LS Trillium.

2007 £60,000 “Development of FdSc Nuclear Related Technology” (a Higher Level Skills Pathfinder award to the faculty but secured as Principal Investigator through personal negotiation) – NWUA (ultimately HEFCE).

2007 £60,000 “Development of FdSc Nuclear Project Management” (a Higher Level Skills Pathfinder award to the faculty but secured as Principal Investigator through personal negotiation) – NWUA (ultimately HEFCE).

2008 £94,132 KTP “Tool to assess opportunities for and to deliver carbon reduction, sustainability and commercial benefits” – TSB and LS Trillium.

2009 £199,000 (+ in-kind support to an estimated value of £50,000 for Industrial Champion salary) “Working Higher Consortium partner” – COGENT/HEA (ultimately HEFCE).

2009 £95,000 “Development of Postgraduate qualifications in nuclear safety case” (a Higher Level Skills Partnership award) – NWUA (ultimately NWDA).

2009 £95,000 “Fire in and around Nuclear Radiant Structures” (PhD studentship) - Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

2012 £89,924 "NNL - CASE Building on the success of generic design assessment" (PhD studentship) - EPSRC, with Geoff Vaughan.


Dr Francis was registered as a Chartered Engineer in 1997 by the Institute of Marine Engineers, and is now a member of the Energy Institute, serving as a member of the ICP panel and assessing applications for corporate membership from candidates with non-accredited qualifications and experience.

Teaching Activities and Responsibilities

SC4107 Research Methods

SC4109 Project (Dissertation)

Guest lectures on various modules


Thermal dynamics and fluid mechanics in Nuclear and Process Mechanical Engineering:

theoretical, experimental and computational studies of engineered safety components, especially -

(a) Vortex Amplifiers, (b) Pressure Relief Valves (c) Fire Protection Equipment

empirical, experimental and computational studies of compartment fire, swirling flame and flashover

theoretical studies of flashover and the internal environment during fire, including smoke flow

predicting environmental conditions for waste packages subject to fire in a nuclear waste repository

Energy-Related Research:

Far field wake effects with wind farms.

Static & dynamic response of structures to impact and cyclic loading (including high temperature).

Office energy benchmarking and building services systems (including heat pump applications).