About us

Isla Duporge


Isla re-established the Oxford Drone Society in 2018 and is returning president for 2019/2020. She is a DPhil/PhD student in the Department of Zoology- Wildlife Conservation Research Unit where she is testing the feasibility of using drones for widllife census surveys and calibrating the altitude and ground sampling distance required to distinguish between species without causing disturbance. Isla is a National Geographic Explorer. The National Geographic Society are supporting her research and funded her PfCO drone training and permit with the Civil Aviation Authority via a Women's Leadership Grant. Prior to staring at the University of Oxford Isla was a Visiting Research Scholar at the United Nations Office of Crime and Drugs (UNODC) where she carried out her MSc research on the use of geospatial technologies to combat wildlife crime. Isla is particularly interested in the use of cutting edge drone technologies for the purpose of environmental and wildlife conservation. 

Eleanor Thomson

eleanor thompson
Treasurer and Technical Officer
Eleanor is a DPhil/PhD student in the Geography Department where she is using hyperspectral cameras on drones to test the feasibility of using spectroscopy to measure tropical forest carbon absorption. If successful, the results will be scaled up by applying the same method to satellite data. Eleanor is collaborating with the European Space Agency and Google Earth Engine to create a publicly available map of tropical forest carbon absorption in Google Earth Engine that can be used by scientists and policy makers. In 2016, she completed an MSc in Environmental Change and Management at Oxford with distinction. Building on her MSc dissertation, Eleanor worked as a research scholar at Northern Arizona University, USA, using drones to remotely measure tropical leaf traits. She was funded by Google Earth Engine and invited to present the results of her research at their summer conference at Google HQ, California.


Sofía Miñano

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Secretary and Technical Officer
Sofia is a second year DTP-BBSRC DPhil student in Zoology. Her research aims to model visual guidance in Harris 'hawks in obstacle avoidance and target tracking tasks, using deep learning techniques. Sofia has a MSc in Aerospace Engineering from TU Delft (The Netherlands) and a BSc in Aerospace Engineering from the Technical University of Madrid. Previous research experience includes a 6-month research stay as part of her MSc thesis project "Gust tailoring in a wind tunnel for bird flight experiments" at LentinkLab, Stanford University, and an internship at VFX software company NextLimit (Madrid, Spain), developing models for swarm motion simulation. Past industry placements include an internship at drone manufacturer Aerialtronics (The Hague, The Netherlands), supporting systems engineering and flight testing, and an internship at AIRBUS (Madrid, Spain), assisting to the manufacturing engineering team in the horizontal tailplane assembly line.
She is also interested in encouraging women to take part in STEM areas and has worked with Oxford nonprofit organisation Empower Her Voice, on their pilot mentoring programme with school girls in Colombia.




James Shelton

Technical Officer and Outreach
James is reading for a DPhil in Zoology in the Oxford Flight Group his research concerns Hawk flight guidance and working with drones. James has a First Class (Hons) degree from the University of Bristol in Aerospace Engineering, he did a EPSRC funded research placement in the University of Bristol Bio-Inspired Flight Group over the summer. He has also done a summer Internship working with Cobham Mission Systems working with the Manufacturing Engineering and Simulation and Modelling departments.​​​​






Christian Schroeder de Witt

Technical Officer and Outreach
Christian is a 2nd-year PhD student conducting fundamental algorithmic research in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, computer vision and autonomous control (particularly, UAV control). Christian is jointly between Prof. Shimon Whiteson and Prof. Philip Torr (Torr Vision Group). He is funded by Free The Drones (Innovationsfonden Denmark) and Microsoft UK.
On the algorithmic side, Christian is working on deep multi-agent reinforcement learning and autonomous control, in particular,central learning with decentralized execution, multi-agent exploration and large-scale inter-agent coordination and interaction. For a full description of Christian's work spanning deep reinforcement learning and autonomous control, please refer to his Torr Vision Group profile.


Suria Subiah

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Technical Officer
Suria is a first year DPhil/PhD student in Engineering Science, specialising in hypersonic flows at the Oxford Thermofluids Institute. These are extremely high energy flows where coupled aerodynamic effects and chemical reactions become important, such as the flow experienced by space vehicles re-entering the Earth or a Martian atmosphere. In particular her research is on transpiration cooling as a potential re-usable thermal protection system for space vehicles at extremely high velocities. Suria has a BSc Aeronautical Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and is a Fulbright Scholar with a MSc Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, USA.