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Dr Rachael Spraggs

Senior Collaborations Manager
Areas of expertise
Asphaltenes, emulsions and wax Basins and structural geology Corrosion, Erosion and Scale Geophysics Governance Nanotechnology Petrophysics and Geomechanics Sedimentology
8.24 Priestley Building
Earth and Environment

Having completed a PhD in Geochemistry at the University of Leeds in 2007, I worked for Grontmij (now Sweco) before returning to the University as a teaching and research fellow.  I have been working at the University in a variety of research support roles since 2009 and started to work for the Petroleum Centre (formely CiPEG) towards the end of 2009.  My role has evolved over this time and I am now the Executive Director and am responsible for the smooth running of the Centre and also to identify opportunities for research, training and consultancy projects for academics at Leeds. To do this I promote Petroleum Leeds internally and externally through the website, social media and conference attendance. By developing new links with industrial partners and maintaining existing relationships, Petroleum Leeds has raised the profile of applied research at Leeds. This position requires that I operate across, and communicate with, all sectors of oil and gas technology sector and that I take a keen interest in new technology, and the overall workings of the Oil and Gas industry.  As part of this role I also support the research activity of the Institute of Functional Surfaces (iFS) in the School of Mechanical Engineering.  The institue is underpineed by scientific and engineering excellence across core areas of expertise; tribology, corrosion and surface engineering.  The reserach team consists of over 75 people engaged in projects across the length scales and at TRL levels from the basic science through to application and commercialisation.

In August 2018 I was appointed Co-Director of the Institute of Applied Geoscience in the School of Earth and Environment with Prof. Nigel Mountney.  The institute is a group of scientists researching fundamental geoscience with application and impact towards energy, environmental, industrial and infrastructural problems. The institute has a diverse research base, strong international profile and is highly multi-disciplinary. It comprises six core research groups, covering Sedimentology, Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology, Petrophysics, Geomechanics and Reservoir Modelling, Basin Structure, Applied Geophysics and Minerals and Ore Geology.  My role as Co-Director is to provide leadership for the institute by proactively encouraging the highest quality research, fostering research impact and developing a strong research culture and environment. I represent the interests of the Institute at School level and actively facilitate cross-Institute and external links, including internationally.

Please contact me directly with any enquiry for petroleum, iFS or applied geoscience related research, training or consultancy projects at Leeds.


  • Director Institute of Applied Geoscience, School of Earth and Environment
  • Executive Director, Petroleum Leeds
  • Business Development, Institute of Functional Surfaces, School of Mechanical Engineering

Research interests

Petroleum Leeds has a diverse funding portfolio of over £10m we support over 60 PhD students and more than 10 Research Fellows with expertise spanning geology, geophysics, surface engineering, sustainability and particle science.

We have a flexible approach and can provide a range of collaborative research including specific projects to address a business need and pre-competitive joint industry projects.  We work across disciplines and collaborate with University and Industrial partners worldwide. Our experts contribute to professional bodies, act as advisors to national and international centres and their research generates demonstrable impactboth to the industry and beyond.  We also offer postgraduate training and continued professional development through our portfolio of standard and bespoke Masters level courses. These include; Exploration Geophysics, Petroleum Production Engineering and Structural Geology with Geophysics.

Research strengths include: