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Personal profile

Personal Statement

Professor Gareth Pierce leads a multidisciplinary team (currently 35 persons) at Strathclyde University comprising Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Mathematicians, Physicists and Bioengineers.  He promotes collaborative research through an international network of academic partners and promotes impact though relationships with multi sector industry partners and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centres in the UK.  His leadership values strive to embrace a person-centred approach.  

Based in the Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering, the focus of his work is robotics and autonomous systems for inspection, including non-destructive testing and evaluation (NDT&E) for manufacture, and structural health monitoring (SHM) for asset inspection. The multidisciplinary nature of his work brings together robotics, instrumentation and interfacing, applied optics, ultrasonics, 3D metrology and machine learning based data management.  These themes resonate closely with the fundamental concepts of Industry 4. 

 Notable achievements include: 

  • Track record of multidisciplinary, industrial knowledge exchange in sectors including aerospace, nuclear, oil & gas, energy, automotive, construction and healthcare. 
  • Proven capability to migrate university research into industry
  • Managing an applied NDT technology transfer laboratory (FIRST – Facility for Innovation and Research in Structural Testing) with £11M project portfolio.
  • Managing a flexible robotic inspection facility at the Advanced Forming Research Centre – part of the UK High Value Manufacturing Catapult
  • Visiting Professorship – Production Technology Centre, Högskolan Väst, Sweden
  • John Grimwade Medal -Recipient for best paper in Insight (British Institute of Non Destructive Testing) in 2015


Research Interests

My central research interest is in robotic and automated technologies for Non-Destructive Testing & Evaluation (NDT&E) - encompassing both traditional fixed industrial robotics, and mobile vehicle technologies (including UAVs) for applications in engineering inspection. Increasingly the automation of NDT is increasingly utilised in manufacturing, this includes ultrasonic, visual and electromagnetic testing. Modern additive manufacturing techniques in particular bring new challenges to both the measurement sensors employed, and real time deployment and feedback into manufacturing processes.  

My research embraces the concepts of through-life asset management where the boundaries between NDT&E and conventional Structual Health and Condition Monitoring (SHM) are increasingly being broken down; so my research also covers wider aspects of structural integrity in sectors including aerospace, energy, oil and gas, nuclear and healthcare.   

Positioning technologies have been identified as an obstacle to the effective uptake of robotic NDT technologies, and to this end I have initiated research into a fully probabilistic basis for the challenging problems involving robot location, data fusion between multiple sensors, and mapping problems.  This naturally extends into work for full 3D metrology systems where my work is closely linked into metrology at NPL to understand how technology can be translated into the challenging manufacturing environment to support new automated systems working safely with humans.  

The Facility for Innovation and Research in Structural Testing (FIRST) established at Strathclyde six years ago, provides our researcher teams a unique range of robotic, NDT and positioning technologies to underpin this research.  This laboratory is located in room 7.14 of the Technology Innovation Centre, and is complemented by a larger flexible robotics facility at the AFRC where our research is investigated at higher TRL levels (4-6).   


Industrial Relevance

My research is highly industrially relevant across multipe sectors including manufacturing, aerospace, energy, oil and gas, nuclear and healthcare.  As a member of the UK Research Centre in Non-Destructive Evaluation (RCNDE) consortium, I work closely with many industrial partners including aerospace, oil and gas, offshore, nuclear, civil and transportation.  My engagement is either direct, through focussed consultancy projects, or more long term strategic, either engaging through co-ordinated research programmes (EPSRC/ TSB/ EU) or through the national HVM Catapult centres. 

Teaching Interests

I am course organiser for EE312, Instrumentation & Microcontrollers which provides a challenging mix of measurement techniques, analogue and digital electronics, combined with computer programming and interfacing.  I also contribute as project co-ordinator and assessor for EM502 Advanced Systems Engineering as well as supervising, mentoring and grading students engaged in EEE, EME and CES individual and group projects.  

Academic / Professional qualifications

BSc (Hons) 1st Class, Pure and Applied Physics 1989, Department of Physics, University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology, UMIST.

PhD,“Development of Fibre-Optic Interferometers for the Measurement Of Laser-Generated Ultrasound” 1993, Department of Instrumentation and Analytical Science (DIAS), UMIST.
City & Guilds 2381, Electrical Installations, Requirement for IEE Regulations (BS7671), July 2008
City & Guilds 2391, Inspection, Testing and Certification of Electrical Installations, July 2009

Expertise & Capabilities

  • Robotics and autonomous systems
  • Non-destructive Testing and Evaluation (NDT&E)
  • Ultrasonics
  • Applied sensing/ instrumentation
  • Machine learning/ pattern recognition

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Manchester

Award Date: 1 Jan 1993

Bachelor of Science, University of Manchester

Award Date: 1 Jan 1989


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