Prof Kelly graduated in Mechanical Engineering and was awarded a PhD in 1997 for industrially sponsored research into process rheometry of extrusion compounding. He then took up a post doctoral post in the IRC Polymer Engineering research group at the University of Bradford working on a range of polymer processing based research projects. In 2003 he managed a WRAP funded project to investigate recycling of PVC-rich waste and in 2005 he was awarded funding from the DTI for a research project aimed at encouraging the UK polymer industry to adopt process metrology.
Prof Kelly became a Research Investment Lecturer in 2005 and was promoted to Reader in 2015 and Professor of Process Engineering in 2018. He teaches in materials, thermodynamics, polymer engineering and computer monitoring and instrumentation at undergraduate and MSc level. He is the Placements Tutor for the University's Engineering disciplines. His current research interests include process monitoring, thermal optimisation, pharmaceutical polymer engineering, nanocomposites, biopolymers, recyclates and fuel cells. In 2010 he co-founded the Centre for Pharmaceutical Engineering Science with colleagues in Engineering and Life Sciences; he is also active in the Centre of Advanced Materials Engineering and the the Centre for Polymer Micro and Nano Technology.