Innovations that move humanity forward

17 September 2020

4:00-5:15pm London

Virtual roundtable

Meeting overview

What are some of the exponential technologies used to tackle the world’s biggest challenges and build a better future for all? We will discuss breakthrough solutions using accelerating technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and digital biology and how they are being used to drive positive change in areas such as health, environment, security, education, energy, food, water and space.

Mark’s presentation will focus on the challenges and innovations in the Aerospace sector, the drive for more sustainable (zero emissions) aviation, high speed flight (does the world need it?) and the technologies that will to open up opportunities for a new space economy, including the development of next generation highly reusable space launch systems. We will also discuss how Reaction Engines is contributing to these areas along with others, the vision, breakthrough technology developments and the benefits to humanity if they are successful in opening up new sectors.

Zeb will explore the value of innovating with the resources you already have. Often innovation is caste as an endeavor that requires extensive R&D budgets, and is expected to deliver revolutionary technologies, and game changing improvements. That kind of innovation has its place. Equally as important, and far more accessible is the innovation that is forced to be done with the limited resources that you already have. Designing hardware and software in the beginning for adaptability allows you to use it unforeseen ways. Adapting existing tools for new applications often solves problems in a fraction of the time and budget. When you are orbiting Earth at 28,100 km/hr, or on the surface of the Moon, or responding to a global pandemic, this may be the only option available.

Artificial Intelligence is impacting all areas of society, from healthcare and transportation to smart cities and energy. AI isn’t an industry, it will be part of every industry. NVIDIA invests both in internal pure research and platform development to enable a diverse customer base, across gaming, VR, AI, robotics, simulation, graphics, HPC, healthcare & more. Alison will highlight some of the work she’s been involved in with planetary defence & creating a digital ecosystem for the Planet, enabling countries to strengthen their economies by utilising cloud compute and harnessing the significant power of Earth observation data and analysis of it. She will also provide insights into how academia, enterprise and startups are applying AI, with a glimpse into state-of-the-art research from collaboration Alison is involved in with elite-class labs around the world.


Mark Thomas

CEO @ Reaction Engines


Mark Thomas has been Chief Executive Officer of Reaction Engines, a private British technology company, since 2015. In this role he is leading development of advanced aerospace propulsion systems for hypersonic and next generation space access systems, and building an exciting applied technologies business.

Mark has grown the Company from 60 to over 200 employees, secured significant investments from Strategic, Financial and Government Investors and expanded operations in the UK and US.

Reaction Engines has won numerous business, aerospace and innovation awards and built successful relationships with global Aerospace & Defence Companies, Government Agencies and Innovators.

In 2019 the Company performed a breakthrough demonstration of Hypersonic (Mach 5+) cooling technology in the US, opening the door to new high speed aerospace possibilities.

Before joining Reaction Engines, Mark graduated from Cambridge University with an Engineering degree and spent 25 years working in the Defence and Civil Aerospace businesses of Rolls-Royce plc. During this time he led a number of key programmes for Rolls-Royce, working closely with customers and industry partners worldwide to design, develop and support new military and commercial aero-engines.

Notable roles included Chief Experimental Engineer, Chief Engineer – Military Engines and Technical Director of the Eurojet Turbo GmbH consortium. Mark’s last role with Rolls-Royce was leading all Civil Aerospace Future Programmes and Technology Demonstrators.

He is a Chartered Engineer, mentor and Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Reaction Engines is a privately held technology company that is unlocking the future of hypersonic flight, next generation space access and revolutionising thermal management. The Company is based in Culham, Oxfordshire, UK and Denver, Colorado, US and employs over 200 staff across its sites, principally developing SABRE™ – Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine, a revolutionary new class of aerospace propulsion. The Company is supported by the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency and the US team is working with DARPA, US Air Force and leading Industry Partners. In addition to private capital funding, Reaction Engines has received investment from BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Boeing HorizonX. The Company’s proprietary precooler technology is truly transformational, delivering world-leading heat transfer capabilities to enable hypersonic flight, improve performance in motorsport, convert waste heat into renewable electricity and support more sustainable aviation.

Zebulon Scoville

SpaceX Demo-2 Lead Flight Director @ NASA


Zebulon Scoville holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Science in Aero/Astro Engineering from Stanford University. He currently serves as a Flight Director at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. He is the lead Flight Director for the SpaceX Demo-2 mission which was the first to launch astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the Commercial Crew Program. As a Flight Director he leads an international team of governmental and private partners in all aspects of mission planning, and real-time execution.

He was the lead Flight Director for ISS Increment 52, multiple cargo missions to ISS, several spacewalks (EVAs), and emergency operations on ISS. Previously, Zeb was the Lead for the EVA Task Group where he was responsible for all operational, technical, and personnel aspects of that organization. During his time in that role, 34 spacewalks were executed which completed the assembly phase of ISS, and restored critical system functionality after several critical malfunctions. Zeb was also the operations lead for multiple desert and underwater analog missions.

Earlier in his career Zeb served as a Flight Controller and  Trainer  for the EVA group where he supported 16 Shuttle, and numerous ISS increment missions and was the Lead EVA Officer for Shuttle missions STS-123, STS-128, and STS-131.  After the Columbia accident, he helped develop Space Shuttle Thermal Protection System (TPS) inspection and repair techniques in support of the Return to Flight effort. Zeb enjoys mountaineering, SCUBA diving, and is a private pilot.

Alison Lowndes

Artificial Intelligence EMEA @ NVIDIA


Alison B. Lowndes
Joining in 2015, Alison spent her first 2 years as a Deep Learning Solutions Architect and is now responsible for NVIDIA’s Artificial Intelligence Developer Relations across the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, Africa). She is a mature graduate in Artificial Intelligence combining technical and theoretical computer science with a physics background & over 25 years of experience in international project management, entrepreneurial activities and the internet. She consults on a wide range of AI applications, including planetary defence with NASA, ESA & the United Nations and works closely with the community of Machine Learning researchers around the world, remaining knowledgeable in state of the art across all areas of research. She also advises on NVIDIA’s GPU Computing platform, around the globe.
Twitter: @AlisonBLowndes.

Alex McCracken

Managing Director @ Silicon Valley Bank


Alex McCracken is Managing Director for Corporate Relationships at Silicon Valley Bank. With over 20 years’ experience in financing technology companies at all stages of growth, Alex joined Silicon Valley Bank in 2010 and works closely with Corporates and VC Funds to introduce relevant SVB technology clients for partnerships or funding.

Prior to SVB, Alex was Investment Manager at venture capital fund TTP Ventures, where he invested in and managed a number of portfolio companies. In 2001, Alex also co-founded TISS Ltd. to develop a range of security systems for commercial vehicles. As Managing Director, Alex raised several rounds of venture capital funding and helped TISS to grow and achieve global sales to logistics companies including TNT, DHL, UPS and Mercedes. He successfully exited the business in 2007 after selling his stake to a Family Office.

This meeting is open to Innovation Partnership members and partners. If you wish to apply to join please email