Professor David Owens

FREng, BSc, PhD, ARCS, CMath, FIMA, CEng, FIEE, FIMechE

Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering

Emeritus Professor

d.h.owens @

Full contact details

Professor David Owens
Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering
Amy Johnson Building
Portobello Street
S1 3JD

Professor David Owens was the Head of the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering from 1999-2008 and Dean of Engineering at Sheffield University in the period 2002-2006. He was the Convener of the Deans in the period 2005-06. Prior to this he was Head of the School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Exeter where he also acted as Chairman of Exeter Enterprises Ltd (the University Technology Transfer Company).

Following 4 years with the UKAEA, he has over 34 years involvement in academic life with experience of departmental teaching, administration and research and high-level University committee service in three UK Universities (Sheffield, Strathclyde and Exeter Universities). He has acted as external examiner for both undergraduate programmes at universities including Glasgow, Bath, Sheffield, Coventry, De Montfort, Salford, Loughborough, KUTKM and UPM-Malaysia.

He has had a strong involvement with the Engineering and related Professions having served on many Committees and the Council of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IET) and currently serves on its Sector Panel for C&I. He is a member and has chaired the Informatics and Control Group of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and has been a member of both the IMechE Research and Standards Board and Technology Strategy Committee.

He was the elected Chairman of the United Kingdom Automatic Control Council from 1999-2002 representing the interests of the UK Professional Institutions within IFAC.

He was also elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2008 in recognition of his contributions to control theory and practice and the profession over the past four decades.

In addition he has been elected as a Freeman of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire since 2007 and is listed in A&C Black's Who's Who.

He has served on the Health and Safety Commission´s Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee (1995-2006) and has been an independent member of British Energy´s Training Standards and Accreditation Board.

Until 2008, he was an editor of an Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications International Journal, is an Associate Editor of several other journals and regularly contributes to international activities through conference organisation, seminars and invited lectures and committees of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC).

Research interests

Indexing terms: control systems design; systems modelling; adaptive and robust control; repetitive control; iterative learning systems; nonlinear control systems; control systems applications.

Following his experience of nuclear dynamics and control with the UKAEA (1969-73), his extensive research interests have spanned several areas. He has made substantial contributions in areas including:

  • Multivariable control systems design in the frequency domain
  • Multivariable root-locus theory
  • Approximate modelling for design based on step data
  • Repetitive and multi-repetitive control
  • Nonlinear, robust and adaptive control
  • Multi-dimensional systems theory
  • Iterative learning control
  • Applied optimization theory

Applications have been in the nuclear, aerospace, automotive, power, manufacturing and process control industries. Over the years, his research has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the European Union and the British Council.

He is the author of over 500 refereed technical publications and the author or co-author of four texts, namely, "Feedback and Multivariable Systems" (Peter, Peregrinus, 1979), "Multivariable and Optimal Systems" (Academic Press, 1981), "Analysis and Control of Multipass Processes" (Research Studies Press, 1982 with J B Edwards) and "Stability Analysis for Linear Repetitive Processes" (Springer-Verlag Lecture Notes in Control and Mathematical Sciences 175, 1992, with E Rogers). A further monograph is expected to be published in 2007.