Professor Visakan Kadirkamanathan

Director of Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre
in Control and Systems Engineering

Professor Visakan Kadirkamanathan BA, PhD
Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering
University of Sheffield
S1 3JD
Tel: (+44) (0)114 222 5680
Fax: (+44) (0)114 222 5661


I was born in Jaffna, Sri Lanka and had my early education in Sri Lanka. Having spent my entire school career at St. Johns College, Jaffna, I attended the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka briefly before moving to the UK. As a Christ’s College Scholar, I graduated with a Class I Degree in Electrical and Information Sciences from the Engineering Department at Cambridge University, followed by a Ph.D. in Information Engineering from the same institution. For the latter, I was awarded the Lord Mountbatten Memorial Scholarship from Christ´s College.

My first academic appointment was as Lecturer in the Department of Automatic Control & Systems Engineering at Sheffield in January 1993 following brief post-doctoral research positions at Cambridge and Surrey Universities. During the last few years, I was promoted to Senior Lecturer, then Reader and in 2007 to the position of Professor of Signal and Information Processing.

From April 2009 to August 2014, I have had the privilege of being the Head of Department during which time this unique Department has seen a significant expansion. In July 2012 I assumed the role of Director of the Rolls-Royce supported University Technology Centre in Control and Systems Engineering.


I have taught a number of modules in the undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes over the years. These subjects include state space control design, systems reliability and fault diagnosis, nonlinear systems and the group design project.

My current teaching is:

  • ACS318: System Identification
  • ACS6103: Signal Processing and Estimation

Research interests

My research interests belong to the broad category of signal and information processing. My research activities are partly in the Intelligent Systems, Decision and Control related research carried out within the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre and partly in the Centre for Signal Processing and Complex Systems. They include both theoretical and applications research, and also external collaborations with other Sheffield Departments and Industries.

The main research themes are:

  • Modelling and Identification of natural and engineered complex systems
  • Spatiotemporal system identification with applications in life, physical and social sciences
  • Fault detection, diagnosis and prognosis with application to aircraft engines
  • Intelligent systems decision support and applications in aerospace and biomedicine
  • Autonomous and self-organised swarms and agent systems


  • EPSRC: TACDAM, Investigators - G Panoutsos (PI), V Kadirkamanathan, £121,611 (VK £33,242)
  • EPSRC: Future Advanced Metrology Hub, Investigators - V Kadirkamanathan (PI), M Mahfouf (CI), B L Jones, £1.1M (£930,453 Sheffield, VK £404,284)
  • EPSRC: Preliminary Investigation for advanced control for distributed hybrid propulsion systems, Investigators - V Kadirkamanathan (PI), B L Jones, A R Mills, A Hills, P Trodden, 2016-2017, £20,000 (VK £4,000)
  • Innovate UK: EE2EHM v2, Investigators - A R Mills (PI), V Kadirkamanathan, P Trodden, I Esnaola, 2017-2020, £1.2M (£983,918 Sheffield, VK £98,392)
  • EPSRC: Future Powder Manufacturing Hub, Investigators - V Kadirkamanathan (CI), G Panoutsos (CI), 2016-2023, £5.1M (£1,027,858 Sheffield, VK £513,929)
  • Rolls-Royce: UTC Submarines, Investigators - V Kadirkamanathan (PI), A R Mills, I Esnaola, S A Pope, P Trodden, T J Dodd, 2016, £23,978 (VK £9,591)
  • Rolls-Royce: RR Data Analytics, Investigators - A R Mills (PI), V Kadirkamanathan, 2016, £138,299 (VK £55,320)
  • Rolls-Royce: Civil WSN TRL6, Investigators - A R Mills (PI), V Kadirkamanathan, B L Jones, 2016, £108,475 (VK £10,848)
  • Rolls-Royce: UTC 2016, Investigators - V Kadirkamanathan (PI), P Trodden, S A Pope, T J Dodd, A R Mills, 2016, £402,600 (VK £161,040)
  • NERC: Banwart CZO Scheme, V Kadirkamanathan (not PI), £22,260 (VK £2,226)
  • Rolls-Royce: EHM for highly specialised assets, Investigators - A R Mills (PI), V Kadirkamanathan, A Hills, 2015-2017, £104,400 (VK £41,760)
  • Rolls-Royce: UTC Control and Systems Engineering 2015, Investigators - V Kadirkamanathan (PI), A R Mills, T J Dodd, B L Jones, I Esnaola, P Trodden, £314,056 (VK £159,712)
  • Arthritis Research UK: Development of a personalised health forecasting tool for patients undergoing hip or knee replacement, V Kadirkamanathan(not PI), £127,426 (VK £25,485)
  • Rolls-Royce: UTC Control and Systems Engineering 2014, Investigators - V Kadirkamanathan (PI), A R Mills, T J Dodd, B L Jones, £289,870 (VK £112,548)
  • EPSRC: Optimization for robust full-vehicle design, Investigators - P J Fleming (PI), R Purshouse, V Kadirkamanathan, C Rao, £895,432 (VK £44,771)
  • TSB: PreDICT, Investigators - A R Mills (PI), V Kadirkamanathan, J Liu, R F Harrison, £214,641 (VK £21,464)
  • Rolls-Royce: Wireless EHM for Civil Aero, Investigators - A R Mills (PI), V Kadirkamanathan, B L Jones, D Holtby, £96,520 (VK 9,652)
  • EPSRC Frontier Engineering: Modelling complex and partially identified engineering problems-Application to the individualised multi-scale simulation of the musculoskeletal system. Investigators - M J Hounslow, D Lacroix, M Viceconti, S A Billings, V Kadirkamanathan, A Pavic, E McCloskey and T Skerry, 2013-2018, £4.75M.
  • BBSRC: Novel zebrafish approaches to investigate leaderless protein secretion in vivo. Investigators – H.Wilson, S.Renshaw and V.Kadirkamanathan (CI), 2013-2016, £373,297 (VK 55,995)
  • TSB: SILOET II – Holistic optimising systems. Investigators – V.Kadirkamanathan, G.Jewell and G.Priestman, 2013-2015, £359,000.
  • Rolls-Royce: UTC in Control and Systems Engineering, Investigators – V.Kadirkamanathan, T.J.Dodd and A.R.Mills, 2013, £304,000.
  • Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Award (DHPA): Systems health monitoring using transient signals. Investigators – V.Kadirkamanathan and P.J.Fleming, 2012-2015, £90,000.
  • Vestas Research Grant: Control and monitoring of wind turbines. Investigators – V.Kadirkamanathan, B.L.Jones, J.A.Rossiter, Z.Q.Lang and S.A.Pope, 2011-2013, £120,000.
  • UK-India Partnership - UKIERI: Integrated sensing monitoring and healing for complex autonomous systems. Investigators – V.Kadirkamanathan, S.A.Pope and P.J.Fleming, 2012-2014, £20,400.
  • NERC: A century of variability in Greenland melting and iceberg calving. Investigators – G.Bigg, E.Hanna, V.Kadirkamanathan and S.A.Billings, 2011-14, £311,959.
  • Unilver Research Grant: Nonlinear signal processing for time series classification. Investigators – R.Gross and V.Kadirkamanathan, 2011-2012, £62,414.
  • BAE Systems Research Grant: Decision support tool in FLAME GPU. Investigators – J.Derrick, V.Kadirkamanathan and P.Richmond, 2011, £51,895.
  • EPSRC Platform Grant: System identification and information processing for complex systems with Investigators S.A.Billings, V.Kadirkamanathan, M.A.Billings, D.Coca, Z.Q.Lang and H.L.Wei, 2010-15, £1,205,632.
  • EU FP7: Search for Electro-Magnetic Earthquake Precursors combining satellite and ground-based facilities (SEMEP). Investigators – M.A.Balikhin and V.Kadirkamanathan, 2010-2012, €452,514.
  • Royal Society International Collaboration Grant: Investigation of the control mechanism on co-culture bioethanol producing system with Investigators V.Kadirkamanathan, and H.L.Wei, 2010-12, £11,950.
  • EPSRC/GSK Joint Grant: Array design for lead optimization in pharmaceutical research. Investigators – V.Gillet, P.Willett and V.Kadirkamanathan, 2006-10, £235,682.
  • EPSRC Platform Grant: System identification and signal processing for complex systems. Investigators – S.A.Billings, V.Kadirkamanathan, M.A.Billings, D.Coca and Z.Q.Lang, 2005-10, £422,571.

Professional activities and recognition

  • Co-Editor, International Journal of Systems Science (2003-now).
  • Chair, 4th IAPR International Conference on Pattern Recognition in Bioinformatics (PRIB), Sheffield, 2009.
  • Co-Organiser, Pascal 2 Workshop on Spatiotemporal modelling, Edinburgh, 2009.
  • Invited Plenary, IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Control and Information Processing (ICICIP), Harbin, China, 2011.
  • Panel Member of Session on “What are Industry needs from Control Education”, IFAC International Symposium on Advances in Control Education (ACE), Sheffield, 2013.
  • Member of the IAPR Technical Committee in Pattern Recognition in Bioinformatics, 2007 – now.

Journal articles