Meet the team

CTAC comprises a team of core consultants with access to a diverse interdisciplinary network of consultants and associates drawn from a range of academic, industrial and research backgrounds. Our core team members will pool together the combined expertise and knowledge of the wider network of consultants and associates to offer the advice, guidance and consultation that will meet your specific needs

Keith J. Burnham: CEO & Head of Contract research and collaboration

Keith Burnham, PhD, Professor of Industrial Control Systems, was founding Director of the Control Theory & Applications Centre (CTAC) at Coventry University. He established a network of industrial collaborators, many of whom provided direct funding for PhD research programmes and bespoke training in control systems engineering. Industrial areas include manufacturing and process control, automotive control systems and biomedical engineering systems.

Common amongst these was the development of algorithms for on-line model parameter estimation and control, leading to self-tuning control systems for a range of practical real-life applications. A Patented bilinear self-tuning control approach has been successfully applied to systems including high temperature gas-fired annealing furnaces and heating ventilation & air conditioning (HVAC) plant, achieving cost savings in terms of energy efficiency.

The bilinear approach has also been applied to modelling nonlinear phenomenon of crumple zones of vehicle body structures. Prof Burnham has experience in obtaining funding from ETSU, EPSRC, EU, Innovate UK and direct funding from industry.

Dobrila Petrovic: Head of Recruitment services and referrals

Dobrila Petrovic, PhD, Professor of Optimisation and Control, has led and conducted multi-disciplinary research in solving real-world problems in manufacturing, automotive industry, health sector and defence. These include supply chain management and control, inventory control, reverse logistics, production scheduling, scheduling in healthcare and forecasting.

Her expertise is in operational research, artificial intelligence, and their integration, and include modelling of uncertainties using mathematical methods such as fuzzy sets and fuzzy logic, optimisation and multi-objective optimisation, fuzzy optimisation, business analytics, fuzzy cognitive maps and evolving systems. Prof Petrovic has extensive experience in collaborating with industry as well as experience in preparing grant applications which have led to research funding from EPSRC, EU, DSTL, ERASMUS+ and industry, including Virgin Atlantic.

Joe Mahtani: Head of Consultancy and IT support services

Joe Mahtani, MSc, a Senior Lecturer in Control Engineering, has led MSc level courses in Control Systems Engineering, as well as bespoke courses designed to meet the specific needs of industry. One such course led to the development of the Jaguar Land Rover Technical Accreditation Scheme, a multi-university MSc course with an industry-focus.

Based on his research in magnetic levitation, he contributed to the design and realisation of techniques that formed the basis of hardware-in-the-loop simulation and rapid prototyping. This approach is now used as a standard in the automotive sector and is also widely used in the training of undergraduates and postgraduates in aspects of design via simulation, with hardware replacing complex mathematical models that are unable to facilitate real-time evaluation. Combining the above experience with the use of MATLAB, Simulink and dSPACE forms an ideal basis for short course material.

James Pickering: Head of Bespoke training and short courses

James Pickering, PhD, a Senior Lecturer in Control Systems, leads undergraduate teaching of control systems engineering, participates in delivery of industrial short courses and contributes to specific MSc level teaching. His interests are in linking concepts of control systems engineering with mechanical engineering, particularly the dynamics of mechanical structures as well as the use of active materials, e.g., composites and SMART materials.

A recent research interest has focused on the development of ethical model to decision making approaches for autonomous vehicles. He has contributed to numerous collaborative research programmes including a successful PhD programme with Jaguar Land Rover. He was the project manager for the seamless interchangeability research programme funded by RSSB under the radical train initiative. This involved a multi-partner, multi-disciplinary approach involving Network Rail, Scot New Rail, Siemens, SNC Lavelin (formerly Interfleet), independent consultant for the Department for Transport (DfT) and independent consultant from Loughborough University.

Promoting world-leading innovation through effective collaboration: Bringing academia and industry together for the better