ACS6107 Control Research Project

Module Description

The aim of the individual research project is to give students the opportunity to develop further the advanced knowledge and skills gained in the course and apply these to a specific problem or set of problems at a research level. Students will be allocated a research supervisor and work as part of the ACSE research groups/teams. This will enable students to experience and engage with active state-of-the-art research in our discipline. The length of the projects duration and timing (120 credits, year-long) gives students a genuine opportunity to create impact with their work, and experience world-class research. The main outcomes out of the research projects would be of high quality and research rigour that could potentially be further developed after the end of the project towards a scientific publication. It builds on the taught modules and develops a greater level of independence. Students, guided by the academic supervisor, will jointly develop the project specification and aims. Students are expected to demonstrate a high level of initiative and independence. Students will also develop skills in creative and critical thinking, analysis, reflection, effective project management and communication.
This project module also includes a `research skills taught component (via seminars), that will help students develop research-specific skills, tailored from the projects.

Credits: 120 (Academic Year)

Please note that this module is exempt from the University’s General Regulations relating to Intellectual Property

Module Leader

Dr Jonathan Aitken
Pam Liversidge Buidling

If you have any questions about the module please talk to me during the lectures or the labs in the first instance. It is likely that other students will learn from any questions you ask as well, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Outside of lectures please contact me via email, or drop in to see me.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to:By the end of the modules students will be able to:

LO1: Adopt a methodical approach to solving a major advanced research task relating to appropriate theory taught in the course, emerging technologies and the appropriate scientific, industrial and societal context. [ET1fl, ET2fl, ET3fl, ET4fl, ET5fl, ET6fl, EP1fl, EP2fl] (Aim A1 & A4).
LO2: Formulate and define an advanced research problem with clarity and within the appropriate scientific and societal context. [D1fl, D2fl, ET2fl, EP1fl] (Aim A1 & A5).
LO3: Demonstrate extensive knowledge of state of the art in engineering and evaluate, assess and criticize previous research work relating to the problem. [SM1fl, SM2fl, SM3fl, EP4fl] (Aim 2).
LO4: Show initiative in the search for a variety of emerging technologies and research directions; propose, plan and develop new solutions to a given unfamiliar and advanced problem. [SM1fl, SM2fl, SM3fl, EA1fl, EA2fl, EA3fl, D3fl] (Aim 1).
LO5: Compare and evaluate solutions to the given problem involving comprehensive analysis or experimentation and a critical assessment of the results. [SM2fl, SM3fl, EA1fl, EA2fl, EA3fl, D3fl, EP1fl, EP2fl, EP3fl, EP4fl] (Aim A1).
LO6: Practice good organisation, communication, planning, time management and ethical conduct throughout the research project. [ET1fl, ET5fl, ET6fl] (Aim A3).
LO7: Write documentation of the major achievements of research work with good practice in report writing and putting your work into a larger context equivalent to writing a substantial research report/article/publication [EP1fl, EP2fl, EP3fl, EP4fl, ET2fl] (Aim A5).
LO8: Give a clear and in-depth project presentation of the major methodologies and achievements of the work using audio-visual aids [ET1fl] (Aim A5).



The syllabus will depend on the project. It will typically have some level of technical difficulty involving theoretical concepts, and have a significant level of practical/computational topics.

Teaching Methods

Learning and Teaching Methods

NOTE: This summary of teaching methods is representative of a normal Semester. Owing to the ongoing disruption from Covid-19, the exact method of delivery will be different in 2020/21.

Students use facilities that are located in the University. Students are expected to take responsibility for progressing their research project according to their agreed plan.

Whilst learning is largely independent, progress is reviewed at regular meetings with their supervisors. These supervisors provide the guidance and 'in-place' teaching necessary to progress the project task to completion. In addition, support tutorial classes are provided to assist the students with the development of relevant research and professional skills.

  • Tutorials: 24 hours
  • Seminars: 15 hours
  • Independent Study: 1161 hours
Teaching Materials

Learning and Teaching Materials

A project handbook including all guidelines of this module can be found on MOLE. Please make sure you study it and follow it when necessary. This includes a list of deadlines, the respective mark sheets and a list of penalties which can be applied.



  • Students are required to submit a comprehensive dissertation, accounting the work they have done in the project. This forms 80% of the formal assessment, which is marked by two academics including the main academic supervisor. This provides the basis against which all learning outcomes can be evaluated (80% of module grade, LO assessed: LO 1-8).
  • An oral presentation (10%) supports the assessment of Learning Outcome 8 through an evaluation of how well the student can orally relate the relevance, depth and findings of the work in a limited period of time (10% of module grade, LO assessed: LO 8).
  • The dissertation also embodies the continuous assessment (10%) that has been taking place via supervision, where the student¿s planning and management skills, communication skills, motivation and general approach to the project have been monitored (contributing to Learning Outcomes 3, 4, 5 and 6). (10% of module grade, LO assessed: LO 3-6).


Students will be provided with regular feedback on their work via the supervisory meetings with the project supervisor.

Student Evaluation

Student Evaluation

Students are encouraged to provide feedback during the module direct to the lecturer. Students will also have the opportunity to provide formal feedback via the Faculty of Engineering Student Evaluation Survey at the end of each semester.

Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading

Recommended reading depends on project topic, and will be advised during the support sessions. Examples include:

  • Astrom, K.J. and Murray, R.M (2009), Feedback Systems – An Introduction for Scientists and Engineers
  • Blanchard, B and Fabrycky, W J (2006). Systems Engineering and Analysis (Fourth Edition). Prentice Hall, New Jersey, USA
  • Kossiakoff, A and Sweet, W N (2003). Systems Engineering Principles and Practice. Wiley, New Jersey, Massachusetts, USA [available in Information Commons, 620.0011(S)]