Skip to content
Heather Powell

Heather Powell

Head of STEM

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)
School Management Team


Having started as a lecturer in the Computing and Technology department, Dr Powell went on to be a courses manager and then the Head of Department. Three years as Acting Associate Dean of the School of Science and Technology followed and Dr Powell is now Head of STEM Developments in the School.

Her main focus in this role is to work on the implementation of the School of Science and Technology’s ambitious development plan. This means working to ensure that the facilities developed under the plan meet the complex and growing needs of the eight subject disciplines in the School and that the School’s facilities are managed to optimally underpin excellence in teaching and research.

Career overview

Prior to joining NTU, Dr Powell worked as a Systems Engineer in industry for 5 years. This has given her a valuable insight into the skills and characteristics that industry employers expect and value.

Research areas

Dr Powell is a member of the following research groups:

Research student:

  • Suad Albawendi

Areas of research that Dr Powell has worked on include neural networks for natural language processing and information extraction; intelligent tutoring systems; and automatic processing of images.

  • Neural networks for natural language processing and information extraction: Work has included supervision of the development of a hybrid neural network / symbolic parser which induced reduction rules from pre-tagged examples from a large naturally occurring language corpus and was then able to perform parsing on unseen examples. Other work has included using neural networks to extract keywords from free text based on pre-defined seed words using the relationships between them in Wordnet. Most recent work developed and compared neural network architectures for coping with long-term dependency in a parsing task.
  • Intelligent tutoring systems and knowledge provision systems: Work has been on investigating generic techniques for representing knowledge and the relationships between knowledge, using semantic relationships and loosely associated text phrases, to enable automatic question answering, generation and tuition.
  • Automatic processing of images for face recognition, person tracking and behaviour detection: This has included combining information from visual and thermal images. Current work aims to detect problem situations when an elderly person is living independently, through behaviour recognition from image sequences.

Opportunities to carry out postgraduate research towards an MPhil / PhD exist within the school.  Further information may be obtained from the NTU Graduate School

External activity

Dr Powell is a member of the BCS Academic Accreditation Committee. The committee oversees and manages the accreditation by the BCS of Computer Science courses at higher education institutions throughout the UK and also outside the UK.

Sponsors and collaborators