Prof Robert F Harrison

Professor of Computational Data Modelling


Automated Control and Systems Engineering

Research Expertise:

  • Computational Data Modelling
  • Machine learning
  • Neural networks


Telephone: 0114 2225134
Visit Website


I joined the Department as a Lecturer in 1987 by way of Oxford and Southampton universities with a brief sojourn at Harwell Laboratories. My original training was in acoustics and vibration but developed into control systems and then neural networks and machine learning to which I have devoted most of my professional attention.

I was promoted to Reader in Computational Data Modelling in 1998 following which I was elected by the Faculty of Engineering at Princeton University to a Visiting Fellowship in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and to a Fellowship of Butler College. I am a member of the editorial boards of a number of international journals and have served on numerous technical committees of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) and professional groups of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (now IET). More recently I was elected to a Visiting Fellowship at James Cook University.

Between April 2009 and April 2012, I acted as Director of Sheffield´s Rail Innovation and Technology Centre (RITC), a research initiative funded by Network Rail and drawing on research strengths across the whole of the Engineering Faculty. The aim here was to bring new technologies to bear on the ageing infrastructure of Britain´s railways.

I have delivered industrial short courses on machine learning as far afield as Chong Qing, where I am a visiting Professor, and Johannesburg, and have directed the Department´s Master´s Training Programme in Control Systems. Prior to this, I devised, implemented and directed two highly successful MSc Programmes by distance learning in Hong Kong and Singapore.

My research work has focused on the application of systems engineering methods in the biomedical life-sciences and some has won prizes and has been featured in the national press and broadcast media.

As of 1 January 2012, I have been appointed to a Chair in Computational Data Modelling.