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Professor Stephen Pierce

Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Personal statement

I lead a multidisciplinary team at Strathclyde University comprising Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Mathematicians, Physicists and Bioengineers.  I promote collaborative research through a wide network of academic partners including a Visiting Professorship role at the Production Technology Centre (University West, Sweden); and promote impact though a variety of relationships with industry partners and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centres.  

The focus of my 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 my work brings together robotics, instrumentation and interfacing, applied optics, ultrasonics, 3D metrology and machine learning based data management.  These themes resonate closely with the concepts of Industry 4, as evidenced by my strong record of industrial knowledge exchange in key application sectors of interest including: Aerospace, nuclear, oil & gas, energy, automotive, construction and healthcare.  

My current role is to align Strathclyde research and teaching in these areas, principally through bringing together highly innovative non-destructive testing technologies, and robotic and autonomous systems to deliver novel solutions for our research partners. 


Has expertise in:

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

Prizes and awards

The John Grimwade Medal

more prizes and awards


Off-line scan path planning for robotic NDT
Morozov M., Pierce S.G., MacLeod C.N., Mineo C., Summan R.
Measurement Vol 122, pp. 284-290, (2018)
Positional uncertainty in optical-based metrology systems in large volume manufacturing
Miller Ainsley, Mulholland Anthony J., Pierce Stephen Gareth, Hughes Ben, Forbes Alistair B.
ACTA IMEKO, (2018)
Methods for improving the accuracy of automated NDE systems
Riise Jonathan, Farr Lance, Lindop Martin, Pierce Gareth, Nicholson P. Ian, Cooper Ian
12th European Conference on Non-Destructive Testing, pp. 1-9, (2018)
Investigation of fundamental ultrasonic propagation characteristics in NDT of electron beam melting additive manufactured samples
Tofeldt O, Pierce SG, Smillie G, Kerr W, Flockhart GMH, Macleod CN, Blue R, Gachagan A, Stratoudaki T, Andersson J, McMahon D
12th European Conference on Non-Destructive Testing, (2018)
Novel algorithms for 3D surface point cloud boundary detection and edge reconstruction
Mineo Carmelo, Pierce Stephen Gareth, Summan Rahul
Journal of Computational Design and Engineering, (2018)
Index based triangulation method for efficient generation of large three-dimensional ultrasonic C-scans
Mineo Carmelo, Riise Jonathan, Summan Rahul, MacLeod Charles N., Pierce S. Gareth
Insight: The Journal of the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing, (2018)

more publications


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.  

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).   


Professional activities

UK Manufacturing Forum
Cranfield University, Paul Liddel PhD examination
External Examiner
EPSRC (External organisation)
Advanced Engineering Show 2016 - Invited Talk- High speed automated ultrasonic NDT for composite structures
Invited speaker
University West (Sweden)
Visiting researcher
EU Robotics: Construction Manufacturing Automation Topic Group; Focus Group Meeting

more professional activities


Pierce, Stephen (Principal Investigator)
SUMAN_Next is a Swedish R&D program led by University West/ Production Technology Centre to investigate new processes in additive manufacture
Period 01-Jan-2017 - 31-Dec-2019
Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP 2016-2017 University of Strathclyde) | Vasilev, Momchil
MacLeod, Charles Norman (Principal Investigator) Pierce, Stephen (Co-investigator) Vasilev, Momchil (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2017 - 01-Apr-2021
Industrial CASE Account - University of Strathclyde 2017 | Watson, Robert James
MacLeod, Charles Norman (Principal Investigator) Pierce, Stephen (Co-investigator) Watson, Robert James (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2017 - 01-Oct-2021
GKN PhD position aligned with DAITAS
Pierce, Stephen (Principal Investigator)
Period 13-Dec-2017 - 13-Dec-2020
SPIRIT PhD positions (x2)
Pierce, Stephen (Principal Investigator)
Period 26-Feb-2018 - 14-Jun-2019
Feasibility Study of ECT for AGR Cladding in Interim Storage NNL Part 2
Pierce, Stephen (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Jul-2017 - 31-Oct-2018

more projects


Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Royal College Building

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