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


Accurate 3D reconstruction of bony surfaces using ultrasonic synthetic aperture techniques for robotic knee arthroplasty
Kerr William, Rowe Philip, Pierce Stephen Gareth
Computerized Medical Imaging and Graphics Vol 58, pp. 23-32, (2017)
Introducing a novel mesh following technique for approximation-free robotic tool path trajectories
Mineo Carmelo, Pierce Stephen Gareth, Nicholson Pascual Ian, Cooper Ian
Journal of Computational Design and Engineering, (2017)
Capacitive imaging of impact damage in composite material
Morozov Maxim, Jackson William, Pierce S. G.
Composites Part B: Engineering, (2017)
Investigation of synthetic aperture methods in ultrasound surface imaging using elementary surface types
Kerr W., Pierce S. G., Rowe P.
Ultrasonics Vol 72, pp. 165-176, (2016)
Autonomous and scalable control for remote inspection with multiple aerial vehicles
Clark Ruaridh A., Punzo Giuliano, MacLeod Charles N., Dobie Gordon, Summan Rahul, Bolton Gary, Pierce Stephen G., Macdonald Malcolm
Robots and Autonomous Systems Vol 87, pp. 258-268, (2016)
Fast ultrasonic phased array inspection of complex geometries delivered through robotic manipulators and high speed data acquisition instrumentation
Mineo Carmelo, MacLeod Charles, Morozov Maxim, Pierce S. Gareth, Lardner Timothy, Summan Rahul, Powell Jonathan, McCubbin Paul, McCubbin Coreen, Munro Gavin, Paton Scott, Watson David, Lines David
2016 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium (IUS), (2016)

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

Cranfield University, Paul Liddel PhD examination
External Examiner
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
NPL - Metrology & Photogrammetry Seminar and Knowledge Exchange Forum
KTN Intelligent Sensing Programme 43: Sensing in Composites

more professional activities


Impact Acceleration Account - University of Strathclyde 2017 / R170483-106
Pierce, Stephen (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Apr-2017 - 31-Mar-2020
Automated Defect Free Fusion Welding (ADFFW) (2015) - HVM Catapult
MacLeod, Charles Norman (Principal Investigator) Dobie, Gordon (Co-investigator) Pierce, Stephen (Co-investigator) Summan, Rahul (Co-investigator) Mineo, Carmelo (Co-investigator)
Period 07-Dec-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
Autonomous Scale-up and TRL translation of CUE Automated Welding & Inspection Cell (2016) - HVM Catapult
MacLeod, Charles Norman (Principal Investigator) Pierce, Stephen (Co-investigator)
Period 07-Nov-2016 - 31-Mar-2017
Autonomous WAAM_NDE
MacLeod, Charles Norman (Co-investigator) Pierce, Stephen (Principal Investigator) Gachagan, Anthony (Co-investigator)
Autonomous WAAM_NDE
Period 01-Nov-2016 - 31-Mar-2017
Autonomous In-situ Blade Inspection and Repair (2016) (£85k)
MacLeod, Charles Norman (Co-investigator) Pierce, Stephen (Principal Investigator) Dobie, Gordon (Co-investigator)
Autonomous In-situ Blade Inspection and Repair (2016) EDF Energy
Period 01-Jun-2016 - 30-Jun-2017
Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP 2016-2017 University of Strathclyde) | Moldovan, Alexandru
Gachagan, Anthony (Principal Investigator) Pierce, Stephen (Co-investigator) Moldovan, Alexandru (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2016 - 01-Oct-2019

more projects


Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Royal College Building

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