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Faculty members

Faculty members

Another unique feature of the World Solar Challenge is that it is supported by its own Scientific Faculty, responsible for reviewing, debating and ultimately establishing the rules, regulations and qualifying processes for the Challenge.


Under the stewardship of Event Director Chris Selwood and the Management team at the South Australian Tourism Commission, this unique event continues to push the boundaries and challenge participants.

Emeritus Professor John Storey - Chief Scientist

Qualifications: BSc(hons) in physics, PhD in chemistry

Primary area of interest: Ensuring that the event continues to challenge the smartest minds on the planet to apply innovative solutions to solar car design.

Years on the Faculty: Foundation Member of the Faculty

John competed in the first World Solar Challenge in 1987 as a member of “Team Marsupial”.  He has not missed an event since, acting as a technical scrutineer and, more recently as, an inaugural member of the Scientific Faculty.  Following his 1993 book “Solar Racing Cars” (with Art Schinckel and Chester Kyle), he co-wrote “Speed of Light”, an analysis of the 1996 World Solar Challenge and summary of the state-of the-art in solar car technology.  When not soaking up the Central Australian sunshine, John is sometimes found on the high Antarctic plateau, where he and his colleagues operate the world’s only solar powered radioastronomical observatory.

Dr David Rand AM – Chief Energy Scientist

Qualifications: BA, MA, PhD, DSc – all from the University of Cambridge. Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE). Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Primary area of interest: Ensuring that the event continues to attract participation and thereby bring comfort to an ageing scientist in the sure knowledge that the quest for a sustainable world is in safe hands.

Years on the Faculty: Foundation Member of the Faculty

David was invited to formulate the battery regulations for the inaugural World Solar Challenge in 1987.  He has served as the Battery Technical Officer, and later as the Chief Energy Scientist, for all events to date.  The innovations on display in the World Solar Challenge are at the heart of all electric vehicles, whether they be powered by batteries alone or by hybrid engines.  This is why the particular emphasis that the World Solar Challenge places on setting technical regulations that always enable teams to use cutting-edge batteries in real-life operating conditions is so important.  With the steady improvement in the performance of the various battery chemistries, David’s role is to revise the regulations, from year to year, to reflect those conditions more accurately.  This is a challenge in itself, but one that David relishes.  There is strong evidence that the battery lessons learnt from the World Solar Challenge have contributed to the automotive industry’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint through progressive electrification of road vehicles.

Paul Gwan – Chief Scrutineer

Qualifications: Dip Mech Eng, BSc

Primary area of interest: The overall adherence to the World Solar Challenge regulations from all competing teams.

Years on the Faculty: 8 events

Paul has been involved with the World Solar Challenge since 1996 when he was instrumental in developing the CSIRO in-wheel solar car motor and is currently the Chief Scrutineer. His role is to confirm that solar cars entered for the race meet the relevant regulations. Paul is also a member of the World Solar Challenge Faculty and the Technical Committee.

Dr Peter Pudney - Chair of the Technical Committee and Judge

Qualifications: BAppSc (Computer Studies), MAppSc (Computer Studies), PhD (Applied Mathematics)

Primary area of interest: Energy-efficient transport

Years on the Faculty: 3 events

Peter first became involved in the World Solar Challenge in 1993, when he was asked by the Aurora Vehicles Association to help them determine the best way to manage their energy system. He joined the team for the 1993 event, and was hooked. From 1996 until 2009 he was the race manager and strategist for Aurora, except for 2007 when he drove the route with a small green electric car called Trev. He completed his PhD, "Optimal energy management for solar-powered cars", in 2000. He also helped design and build cars with Aurora and with the South Australian Solar Car Consortium. In 2011 Peter was asked to be a Judge for the Event, and since then he has chaired the Technical Faculty.

Dr John K Ward - ASSISTANT CHIEF Scrutineer and Technical Faculty Member

Qualifications: PhD & B.Eng (elec)

Primary area of interest: Energy management and strategy optimization - especially how these apply to the challenges facing electricity distribution networks with increasing renewable energy and how this can be mitigated using energy storage and demand management.

Years on the Faculty: 1 Event

John has been a volunteer since the 2005 World Solar Challenge. For his `day job’ he works for CSIRO Energy Technology, where he leads a research team tackling the challenges of integrating large amounts of intermittent renewable energy into Australia’s electricity networks. As with solar cars, this means carefully balancing generation, loads and energy storage, just on a slightly larger scale. John also contributes to the development of (Australian) standards for PV installation, inverters and demand side management, with a particular focus on EVs. He brings this experience to the technical faculty and scrutineering process.

Dr David Snowdon

Qualifications: Bachelor of Engineering (BE) (Computer Engineering), Hons class 1. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Primary area of interest: Hardware and software systems design, performance optimisation. 

David has a strong philosophical sentiment behind his participation in the World Solar Challenge.  He relishes the opportunity the Challenge provides to stimulate the world's best and brightest minds into thinking about how to solve a number of important problems which face the world today. It gets participants excited about ways to do things better than the status quo, introduces them to others who are as excited about fixing those problems, and at the same time, educates and excites the public about those possibilities.