Professor Stephen Pierce

Electronic and Electrical Engineering

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



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 BINDT Annual Conference Award
Knowledge Exchange Award
The John Grimwade Medal

More prizes and awards


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


A cost-function driven adaptive welding framework for multi-pass robotic welding
Loukas Charalampos, Williams Veronica, Jones Richard, Vasilev Momchil, MacLeod Charles Norman, Dobie Gordon, Sibson Jim, Pierce Gareth, Gachagan Anthony
Journal of Manufacturing Processes Vol 67, pp. 545-561 (2021)
Sensor-enabled multi-robot system for automated welding and in-process ultrasonic NDE
Vasilev Momchil, MacLeod Charles N, Loukas Charalampos, Javadi Yashar, Vithanage Randika K W, Lines David, Mohseni Ehsan, Pierce Stephen Gareth, Gachagan Anthony
Sensors Vol 21 (2021)
Dry coupled ultrasonic non-destructive evaluation using an over-actuated unmanned aerial vehicle
Watson Robert, Kamel Mina, Zhang Dayi, Dobie Gordon, MacLeod Charles, Pierce S Gareth, Nieto Juan
IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering (2021)
Reconstruction of refractive index maps using photogrammetry
Miller A, Mullholland A J, Tant KMM, Pierce SG, Hughes B, Forbes AB
Inverse Problems in Science and Engineering, pp. 1-23 (2021)
Application of ultrasonic guided waves to robotic occupancy grid mapping
Tabatabaeipour Morteza, Trushkevych Oksana, Dobie Gordon, Edwards Rachel S, McMillan Ross, MacLeod Charles, O'Leary Richard, Dixon Steven, Gachagan Anthony, Pierce Stephen G
Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing Vol 163 (2021)
Non-contact in-process ultrasonic screening of thin fusion welded joints
Vasilev Momchil, MacLeod Charles, Galbraith Walter, Javadi Yashar, Foster Euan, Dobie Gordon, Pierce Gareth, Gachagan Anthony
Journal of Manufacturing Processes Vol 64, pp. 445-454 (2021)

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

National Centre for Nuclear Robotics (External organisation)
Correction of B-Scan Distortion for OptimumUltrasonic Imaging of Back Walls with ComplexGeometries
IEEE international ultrasound symposium (IUS) 2019
Autonomous Systems Lab, Institute of Robotics & Intelligent Systems, ETH Zurich
Visiting researcher
Workshop on multicopters for inspection - British Institute of NDT -
Member of International Scientific Committee - 9th European Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring

More professional activities


Doctoral Training Partnership 2020-2021 University of Strathclyde | McInnes, Martin
Mohseni, Ehsan (Principal Investigator) Pierce, Gareth (Co-investigator) McInnes, Martin (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 01-Jan-2025
Doctoral Training Partnership 2019-20 University of Strathclyde | McInnes, Martin
Mohseni, Ehsan (Principal Investigator) Pierce, Gareth (Co-investigator)
Automated In-Process Inspection of Additively Manufactured Components Using Eddy Currents and Ultrasound Testing
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2025
Made Smarter Innovation: Digital Medicines Manufacturing Research Centre (DM2)
Florence, Alastair (Principal Investigator) Johnston, Blair (Co-investigator) Markl, Daniel (Co-investigator) Pierce, Gareth (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 28-Jan-2025
Doctoral Training Partnership 2020-2021 University of Strathclyde | Gover, Harry
Pierce, Gareth (Principal Investigator) MacLeod, Charles Norman (Co-investigator) Gover, Harry (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 01-Jan-2025
EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA)-New Organisation Engagement
Mohseni, Ehsan (Principal Investigator) MacLeod, Charles Norman (Co-investigator) Pierce, Gareth (Co-investigator) Gachagan, Anthony (Co-investigator)
"Automated non-destructive testing of high value additive manufactured components": The IAA application is geared towards how to commercialise the in-process NDT technology (ultrasonic and electromagnetic approaches).
01-Jan-2021 - 30-Jan-2021
BH As-Clad Bond Integrity V1
MacLeod, Charles Norman (Principal Investigator) Gachagan, Anthony (Co-investigator) Javadi, Yashar (Co-investigator) Lines, David (Co-investigator) Mohseni, Ehsan (Co-investigator) Pierce, Gareth (Co-investigator) Wathavana Vithanage, Randika Kosala (Co-investigator)
02-Jan-2020 - 01-Jan-2022

More projects


Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Royal College Building

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