Dr David Collins

Photo of Dr David Collins

MEng (Imperial) PhD

Official Fellow
Mike Ashby Associate Professor in Materials Science


I am an Associate Professor in Materials science in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, a role I started in November 2023. Here I lead the ‘Multiscale Behaviour of Engineering Alloys’ research group and help to manage our Rolls-Royce Materials UTC. Before this appointment, I spent time at several other universities in the UK. My undergraduate studies were at Imperial College, where I graduated with an MEng in Aerospace Materials in 2008. After that, I came to Cambridge to complete my PhD (again in the Materials Department, so this is now my second stint in the university!). During this period, I worked on jet engine materials called ‘superalloys’, using a wide range of experimental and modelling methods to understand material behaviour at the nanometre length scale. From 2012, I joined the Department of Materials at the University of Oxford on a collaborative project with BMW to understand new ways to manufacture automotive alloys. During my time in Oxford, I was also a Lecturer at St Anne’s College where I acted as a tutor for Material Science. In 2017, I was awarded a Birmingham Fellowship at the University of Birmingham, then later Associate Professor (2020). I have been fortunate to have my work contributions recognised by the Institute of Materials (IOM3); I was awarded the Silver Medal (2020) and elected as a fellow (FIMMM) in 2022.

Teaching Interests

I have a broad interest in teaching all aspects of materials science in courses taught to undergraduates studying Natural Sciences or Engineering. My specialism relates to the mechanical properties of materials: I deliver lectures related to this including a IA Natural Sciences course as well as other courses in the Materials Department. I hold a PGCHE (Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education) and was awarded the title of FHEA (Fellow of the Higher Education Academy) in 2019.


My research explores microstructure-property relationships at a range of length scales both in established and new engineering alloys. Through the discovery of the underlying science that governs alloy behaviour, my work aims to transform structural performance of materials through advances in our understanding of metallic material behaviour. I am interested in ferrous and non-ferrous alloys used for various structural applications, spanning aerospace, automotive, defence, nuclear energy and healthcare sectors.