Breathing life into traditional engineering fields

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Gilbert Barasa
Assistant Engineering Manager, Davis & Shirtliff Limited
MSc Advanced Control and Systems Engineering
Gilbert believes Control and Systems Engineering breathes life into otherwise traditional engineering fields, and will help him tackle Africa's unique challenges.

The University of Sheffield has the largest department in Europe dedicated to Control and Systems Engineering. Sheffield is a friendly, green student city and consistently offers the UK’s No. 1 student experience. As a Russell Group University, I knew I would benefit from the excellence in teaching and the exposure to cutting edge research.

I studied the MSc in Advanced Control and Systems Engineering. The course was intensive and well delivered by the excellent academic staff, many of whom are involved in exciting interdisciplinary research in collaboration with top industrial firms. Arguably the most interesting times were turning control theories and equations into working systems. In particular, Dr Jones’ helicopter model takeaway kit was as exciting as it was practical. The University has a well-stocked and modern library open all year round and my dissertation was thorough and fulfilling courtesy of the excellent supervision I received.

I am so proud of my achievements at Sheffield; from winning the University of Sheffield’s Kenya Postgraduate Scholarship to later graduating with a distinction, and being awarded the Bechtel Prize for innovation and academic excellence in the process.

The different experiences and knowledge I acquired at Sheffield has shown me that with adequate funding and good research, one can create high end control systems anywhere in the world. I left the University with a clear picture of how to create complex control systems and apply them to real-world problems.


The different experiences and knowledge I acquired at Sheffield has shown me that with adequate funding and good research, one can create high end control systems anywhere in the world. I left the University with a clear picture of how to create complex control systems and apply them to real-world problems.

Gilbert Barasa

Msc Advanced Control and Systems Engineering


The different experiences and knowledge I acquired at Sheffield has shown me that with adequate funding and good research, one can create high end control systems anywhere in the world. I left the University with a clear picture of how to create complex control systems and apply them to real-world problems.

Making a difference in industry

I am now working as Assistant Engineering Manager at Davis & Shirtliff Limited in Nairobi, Kenya. Davis & Shirtliff Group is a leading supplier of water and energy solutions in East Africa. To support its business, the company carries out the assembly and manufacture of various products, including water treatment units, water pump sets, firefighting sets and solar power systems.

I am currently charged with developing the control and instrumentation function in the company. My team develops commercial control and automation solutions to support the various assemblies in the manufacturing division. I am also leveraging technology to create new business for the company through the innovative use of smart controls. In addition I am responsible for the control panel and generator assembly in the company.

Advice for graduates

Find your space in the wide field that is engineering. Control and Systems Engineering breathes life into otherwise traditional engineering fields. There is a sizeable gap between what is in industry vis-a-vis solutions ascertained in research. I would advise graduates to approach firms of interest and suggest concrete solutions that will create new business and/or save money for the companies.

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