Research Centres and Institutes

Research in the Department of Computer Science is multidisciplinary and collaborative. Our staff are actively engaged in a number of research centres and institutes, which focus on topics such as robotics, computational biology and assistive technology.

CATCH building


The Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare is focused on the development of new user-friendly technologies, which enable people to live independently at home for longer.

CATCH builds on the University of Sheffield’s track record of world-leading interdisciplinary research on assistive technology and connected healthcare. The centre encompasses activities across the spectrum, including: identifying healthcare and user needs; research into future technology; user centred design and development of prototypes; the evaluation of new technology with patient and user groups; supporting and studying adoption and implementation within the NHS.

At the heart of CATCH is a new Home Lab which acts as the link between the research team and ‘end users’, bringing patients, carers, clinicians, healthcare professionals and industry into the research environment to co-create, catalyse and accelerate the translation of research into practical solutions and real world products.

A major area of collaboration between CATCH and the Department of Computer Science is in the use of speech technology.

The control of electronic and other devices around the home can be a challenge for older people and those with disabilities. The Home Service project is developing speech driven control to help people live independently in their homes.

The VIVOCA project uses speech recognition and synthesis technology to recognise and interpret disordered speech and then communicate what its users want to say in a clear, synthesised voice, giving the person, and their carer back some of their independence.

Centre for Speech and Language Technology

The Centre for Speech & Language Technology brings together expertise from researchers in the Department of Computer Science and Silicon Valley based company, VoiceBase, the leading provider of AI-powered speech analytics, to pioneer the future of speech recognition and speech analytics.

Research carried out at the centre will look at developing the next generation of speech and language technology. The centre will be at the forefront of developing machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies within automated speech recognition and other spoken language processing applications. It is co-located in the University’s Innovation Centre, which provides a physical space for companies looking to access expertise, facilities and support to further collaborative research opportunities.

Through the work in the Centre, VoiceBase and its customers will have access to world leading research and the latest advances in speech and language technology. Researchers will benefit from access to real world problems and exceptional resources, allowing them to test and verify on a large scale, and a clear route to see the impact of their work.

The research centre is being lead by Professor Thomas Hain from the Speech and Hearing Research Group


The Insigneo Institute for in silico medicine has been created to achieve the scientific ambition behind the virtual physiological human (VPH). Insigneo brings together researchers and clinicians from across the University of Sheffield and the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, forging collaboration on technological challenges inherent in in silico medicine. 

In silico medicine will help patients by bringing together medical and physical information into sophisticated models that will help doctors understand more about the way an individual person's body behaves. These models, which run on powerful computers, will give us a greater understanding of the way the environment, ageing and illness affect the whole body, from a microscopic level through to the whole body.

Several members of the Department of Computer Science's Computational Biology Research Group are affiliated with Insigneo, working on the development of computational tools that can be used to gain mechanistic insights into physiology.

Sheffield Robotics

The 21st century can expect to see transformative social and economic change due to the impact of advanced robotic technologies. To address the challenges and opportunities of advanced robotics, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University have jointly established Sheffield Robotics. The centre currently comprise five main research groups: from the University of Sheffield - Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, Computer Science, and Psychology; from Sheffield Hallam University - the Centre for Automation and Robotics Research and the Art and Design Research Centre. The centre also has members in many other departments within the two Universities, and an external advisory board with representatives from UK industry and the international robotics community.

SCentRo has research funding from the European Union Framework Programme and from UK Research Councils in excess of £1M per annum, making it one of the most active locations for robotics research in the UK. It also has ongoing or recent collaborations with many leading UK and International companies with interests in robotics. Within the UK it plays a leading role in the UK Academic Forum for Robotics and within Europe it is a funded partner in the Robot Companions for Citizens Flagship Pilot where it leads working groups on Societal Issues and Material Science.

Members of the Department's Machine Learning Research Group and Speech and Hearing Research Group play an active role in SCentRo.


The South-East European Research Centre (SEERC) is an overseas research centre of the University of Sheffield, established as a non-profit legal entity in Thessaloniki, Greece. The centre was founded by City College, the International Faculty of The University of Sheffield, in 2003. It conducts multidisciplinary research in the fields of Enterprise, Innovation & Development, Information & Communication Technologies, and Society & Human Development. SEERC's mission is to support the stable and peaceful development of South-East Europe by conducting pure and applied research in and for the region.

The objectives of SEERC are:

  • To promote independent, objective analysis and public discussion on issues related to the development of South-East Europe.
  • To provide a forum for researchers in the SEE region.
  • To initiate common research by the University of Sheffield, CITY and other academic institutions in the SEE region.
  • To disseminate findings to academics, professionals, NGOs, and policy-makers through conferences, advising, published research papers, monographs, and working papers.
  • To disseminate important data and findings to interested members of the general public through open forums, and web and other media-based means.
  • To promote cutting-edge methodology both within existing disciplines and in the development of multi-disciplinary perspectives through workshops and seminars.
  • To assist in the integration of researchers from universities and research centres in the SEE region into networks of excellence.
  • To draw PhD candidates from throughout the SEE region to University of Sheffield and CITY and provide them with a rich and rewarding research environment at SEERC.

SEERC fosters collaboration mainly among researchers from the University’s Departments of Computer Science at the International Faculty and the Faculty of Engineering, and the Information School. Also, research topics of an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary nature are investigated in collaboration with researchers from the Management School, the Informatics Collaboratory of the Social Sciences (ICOSS), the Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in Arts and Social Sciences (CILASS), the Department of Geography, and the Department of Business Administration & Economics at City College. In parallel, the ICT Research Track actively promotes collaboration with a great number of research institutions and organisations from the region of South East Europe and beyond.

Current joint research projects between the Department of Computer Science and SEERC include Broker@Cloud, an EU-funded project that aims to deliver a brokerage framework for cloud computing services. Additionally, a number of PhD students are currently co-supervised by staff from SEERC and the Department of Computer Science. 


The Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) is one of the world leading centres for research into neurodegenerative disorders. The key vision of SITraN is to develop an international centre of excellence for basic through to applied research in neurodegenerative disease to complement the existing partnerships of academic research groups, government and charitable research funding bodies the pharmaceutical industry and the health care sector.

SITraN is an essential development in the fight against motor neuron disease and other common neurodegenerative disorders of the motor system. As yet no single Institution anywhere in the world has developed the necessary critical mass and facilities to exploit the potential of modern neuroscience, the 'post-genome' era, and exciting developments in biomedical therapeutics with specific focus on this devastating group of illnesses.

Collaboration between SITraN and the Department of Computer Science is cemented through two joint professorial positions with the centre, Prof. Neil Lawrence (Chair of Machine Learning and Computational Biology) and Prof. Winston Hide (Chair of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics). 

Centres of excellence

The University's cross-faculty research centres harness our interdisciplinary expertise to solve the world's most pressing challenges.