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John Gray MSc PhD DSc CEng FIET FInstMC

Member of the Innovation and Emerging Technologies Policy Panel

John Gray

After graduating from Queens University Belfast John Gray spent five years in the aircraft industry before being appointed a lecturer in Electrical Engineering at the University of Manchester where he specialised in aspects of control and instrumentation.  The former focussed on the study of non linear systems and the latter was concerned primarily with electromagnetics systems including the development of a unique differential fluid flow meter which enabled the precision control of ultra-filtration during dialysis therapy.  This instrument was subsequently manufactured by Gambro both in Sweden and the United States and distributed worldwide to hospital renal units.

In 1979 he was appointed to a Chair of control engineering at the University of Salford and his work on integrated systems engineering led to the establishment of the DTI’s National Advanced Robotics Research Centre at Salford in 1987. John served as its Research Director and was a main Board member of the holding industrial consortium ARRL Ltd. Following that five year project he became Director of the University’s Centre for Robotics and Automation with interests in the development of aspects of humanoid robotics and in the last ten years or so aspects of automation in food manufacturing.

Food Manufacturing Engineering Group 

In 1999 he established with MAAF/Defra sponsorship the Food Manufacturing Engineering Group which is an industrial/academic forum to identify key issues relating to the use of automation in the food sector and to foster engineering research in this sector. 

In 2006 a proposal submitted by John to Yorkshire Forward, with FMEG support, resulted in the establishment of CenFRA Ltd which is a facility to support the uptake of automation in the food manufacturing sector in three Regional Development Areas in the north of England.

Research projects

Involvement with recent research projects include the EC projects ROBOTCUB (the iCub humanoid robot development at IIT in Genoa), NovelQ, (automated food assembly line at SiK in Sweden) and the Defra project GRAIL (design of a specialised food assembly robot at the University of Sheffield).  He is currently a partner in the E.C. F.W.7 research project PicknPack concerned with the development of innovative flexible modular automated/ robotics assembly and packing procedures for food products.  After leaving Salford in 2008, John was employed as a Senior Scientist in Robotics and Automation at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa and had visiting Chairs at the Control System Centre at the University of Manchester and at the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering at the University of Sheffield. He was appointed as a Professor of Robotics and Systems Engineering at the University of Manchester in December 2013.

Recent professional appointments

  • Member of the IET Innovation and Emerging Technologies Policy Panel
  • Honorary Editor; Transactions Inst. Measurement and Control
  • Chair of the IEEE UKRI Chapter of the Robotics and Automatics Society
  • Chairman of the Defra sponsored Food Manufacturing Engineering Group (afa-net.com)
  • Member of euCognition Network 2005-2008, member of euCognition2 2009-2014
  • Membership of various E.C. panels on robotic systems F.W7 and H.2020
  • Member of I.P.C., UKACC, Control 2014
  • External PhD examiner at various UK and European Universities
  • Associate partner of E.C. SMART-E Doctoral Training Programme in Robotics to 2017