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Professor of Engineering Design, University of Sheffield

Martin Mayfield has 24 years’ practice as a designer of engineering systems at Mott MacDonald and as a Director of Arup (Education Leader for the UK, Middle East and Africa, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Leader for North West and Yorkshire and lastly Sheffield office Leader). These roles entailed leading teams of over 60 professional Engineers from a range of disciplines, working on a diverse array of projects in the UK and overseas. During this time, he built an industrial research portfolio (>£3m) including Multi- Systems Modelling Structures for Future Cities and Integrated Infrastructure Frameworks for Cities. These roles entailed leading teams of professional engineers from a range of disciplines, working on a diverse array of projects in the UK and overseas. During his time at Arup he worked on infrastructure projects, stadia, airports, niche sustainable buildings.

Martin returned to academia, when he took up a Chair in the Department in 2013. He was made the Infrastructure Research Leader for Engineering at Sheffield and is leading the Sheffield component of the UKCRIC initiative. Together with Dr Densley Tingley he leads the RISE (Resources, Infrastructure and built Environments) research group which now includes 14 researchers working across the nexus of technology and infrastructure to enable the creation of a built environment that allows humanity to thrive within the carrying capacity of the planet, and, in so doing, restore the balance between humanity and natural systems.

Martin’s work in the Department aims to understand how to engineer sustainable solutions, by adopting a systemic approach to problems and identifying the leverage points in dynamic systems that allow us to create paradigm shifts in our use of energy and resources. To do this, engineers must appreciate the environmental and physical complexities that need to be addressed, the social and economic context of the challenge, and crucially, how these interrelate.

By focusing on the role of engineering in society, Martin aims to understand the interaction between human and natural systems and, therefore, create solutions and develop our infrastructure in a manner that allows humanity to flourish. He recognises the opportunities presented by Complexity Science to improve the resilience and performance of complex adaptive systems such as future energy systems, cities and our national infrastructure. His expertise spans a diverse array of systems engineering, sustainable design, climate change mitigation and adaptation, mission critical systems, city systems and mapping infrastructure interdependencies. This includes system of systems resilience studies for a range of organisations including cities and banks. He has designed a wide range of resilient energy and infrastructure systems such as stadia, data centres and city quarters.


  • 2013–present
    Professor of Engineering Design Infrastructure Leader, University of Sheffield