Contact Dr Matthew Healy

Areas of expertise

  • CBRN Focus Areas
  • Counter-IED
  • Test and Evaluation
  • Human Factors for Defence


Matthew is Academic Director of the MoD CBRN Professional Education Program and Deputy Head of Cranfield Forensic Institute Shrivenham,

Matthew started as an X-ray and accelerator physicist (and has been the profiled physicist in Physics World) but his remit has grown to encompass the wider issues of defence and security over two decades working with the military, the emergency services, government agencies and industry. His main technical field still encompasses nuclear and radiological weapons and security imaging, but extends across CBRN, IED's, surveillance, materials and forensics. Aspects to which he contributes include threat, planning, procurement and cost, response, forensic science, and policy.

Consultancy activities have included leading an SME team in a national CBRN detection procurement programme, developing search and interdiction methods and technologies, decision support following the Fukushima incident, performing CBRN vulnerability assessments for UK and foreign infrastructure, performing independent requirements capture, and assessing the cost of recovering from CBRN terrorism.

Current activities

A large part of his activity is creating bespoke short courses for defence and security clients and supervising doctoral research programs for senior professionals undertaking personal development. Matthew continues to develop X-ray imaging techniques, and researches everything from threats to effects, technologies, costs and policies associated with radiological and nuclear weapons, as well as keeping current in wider domestic and international defence and security issues. These activities are funded by a combination of civil and military government agencies and private sector funds.

Mathew has supervised PhD candidates through the following topics and contributes to half dozen or so other thesis committees.

Monte-Carlo modelling of radiation transport and interactions for imaging systems

The requirement and development of Audio Visual technology to support emergency response to CBRN Incidents and Hazards

Advanced Detection of Improvised Explosive Device Components

Enhancing ways of thinking and combining perspectives to gain increased insight into complex socio-technical systems.

Radiation survey in challenging environments CBRN classification for first responders

Stand-off sensing of radiological and nuclear hazards within defence and security

Medical preparedness for a nuclear detonation in major cities

Optimising search for radioactive sources in the urban environment

Radiological emergency response, imprecision and decision making

Forecasting terrorist attack and countermeasure effect by historical analysis

Nuclear intelligence

Building sustainable nuclear infrastructure

Matthew supports on average 3 MSc students a year, illustrative MSc projects include

An inter-comparison of CBRN detection capability

The immediate response to a dirty bomb

The commanders decision making process in a radiological environment

Use of genetic algorithms for non-invasive search

Much of Matthew's research supports teaching, for example:

Nuclear weapons policy and deterrence

Technologies, science and social science of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Wider technologies for security and resilience

Further research is conducted under the umbrella of consultancy, which has included

CBRN vulnerability studies

Construction of plausible vignettes

Developing models to guide the development of detection systems

Assessment and development of detection systems (not just CBRN)

Review of response exercises

Courses that Matthew leads or led

CBRN terrorism

CBRN Sensing

Hazardous Forensics

Nuclear Weapons Policy

Nuclear Hardness and Vulnerability

Weapons of Mass Destruction Control and Verification

UNSCR 1540 Enforcement

Technology of Resilience

Security Technology

Bespoke practitioner CBRN courses

Courses Matthew contributes to

CBRN Defence Science

CBRN Hazard Management and Decontamination

Ammunition Technical Officers

Explosive Ordnance Engineering

Battle Space Technology

Guided Weapons

Matthew is open to applications from candidates wishing to study research degrees. A MSc by research full time can take one year, an MPhil 2 years FT and a PhD 3 years FT 6yrs PT. The CBRN research group numbers about ten candidates including mature professionals and some Summer interns.


AEA technology





Burro Happold

Department of Energy and Climate Change



European Union

General Dynamics


Lockheed Martin




Nordian UK


Public Health England


Rio Tinto

SSM Sweden

Various unnamed financial institutions, governments and militaries.


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers