Professor of Systems Engineering (Reader in Knowledge Engineering)


18-21: Intelligent modelling and control... Principal Investigator, funded by Innovate UK and InTandem Ltd.

18-22:Using artificial intelligence to share control of a powered-wheelchair...  Principal Investigator, funded by the EPSRC.

19-21: Design and advanced manufacturing and production techniques to embed interfacing capability within flow and pressure sensors.... Principal Investigator, funded by Innovate UK and TGA Industries Ltd.

19-22: Reducing energy used in manufacture... Supervisor, funded by Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD Fellowship (part of £3,500,000 Horizon 2020 award) SCA COFUND / Horizon 2020 award.


   Electrical & Electronic Principles Yr 1, ENG432.

   Second Year Tutor.

   Technology Concepts (for designers) Yr 2, ENG512.

   Product Electro-Mechanics Yr 3, ENG611.


Professor David Sanders is the Professor of Systems Engineering at the University of Portsmouth and a Reader in Knowledge Engineering.  He leads the Systems Engineering Research Group (SERG) and has worked in engineering, manufacturing, assistive technology, energy and Artificial Intelligence (AI) research for 38 years, with established collaborators and a successful research track record.  He is an expert in control, AI and sensor fusion and a FIMechE and a FIET.  He received a top grade 5 Alpha Excellent grading for his last EPSRC grant (GR/K43001/01) on design and analogue control (as PI).  Since then, he has been the PI for several KTPs concerning control and sensors, and a Co-Investigator for some European Projects.  He was awarded a Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship in 2014 to pilot some control projects and received a top grade of Outstanding for his last Innovate UK grant (11198) investigating energy management systems in buildings (as PI).

Prof Sanders is currently PI for projects concerning assistive technology (EPSRC-EP/S005927) and control and sensors (Innovate UK-11546) and Co-I for a COFUND / DTA3 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship concerning Energy and AI. Publications, PhDs and grants are listed here.

Prof Sanders began academic research with Eureka PROMETHEUS Projects in the early eighties and as part of the SERC ACME Initiative (GR/D/38927 & GR/D/45002). That work concentrated on optimising automated processes and led to investigating sensing and AI (GR/E/05926) that automated systems in an intelligent way. That led to integrating sensors to investigate model-based control (GR/F/69345). Industrial work included sensor integration (PCFC15348) and techniques for using advanced production machinery (GR/G/04875) that introduced new ways of programming machines. Other work (GR/J/59432 & GR/K/3001) introduced sensors and sensor fusion and automated and optimised the intelligent design of recirculation reactors. He has extensive experience in sensing, AI, assistive technology and energy research, funded by industry, NATO, RCUK, EU and British Council.

Until 1990 he was the Research Group Secretary for a research group led by Professor John Billingsley. Prof Sanders formed the Systems Engineering Research Group in 1991 after Professor Billingsley emigrated to Australia.

Between 1991 and 1999, the group went through eight years of slow expansion of the three research areas in the group. This allowed natural groupings to form and the academics within the areas to be tested. Robotics, Manufacturing and Design were the core research areas during that time and research in those areas continues today.  From 2000 to 2009 the numbers of staff and students in the research group increased year on year as new staff join as co-investigators for grants and supervisors for research students.  From 2010 to 2012 Prof Sanders was mobilised for military service.

As he was away for a few years, the research group combined with the Network Systems Research Group to form the Intelligent and Networked Systems Research Group.  Since his return in 2013, he reformed the Systems Engineering Research Group with external funding in excess of £1,000,000 and research restarted in Automation, Computing & Electronics, Sensors and Design, concentrating on robotics & powered wheelchairs, saving energy, manufacturing systems and design-for-assembly.

Prof Sanders has recently been awarded the IET Excellence in Creating a Smarter World International Innovation Prize, the IET Engineering & Technology International Innovation award for “Outstanding Innovation in Digital Health and Social Care” and a Certificate of Excellence from InnovateUk for his energy saving research.

ResearcherID: B-7549-2008


ORCID: 0000-0002-4359-6743

Research interests

  • Automation (specifically, manufacturing, robotics and tele-operation)
  • Computing & Electronics (specifically, knowledge based systems, AI and powered wheelchairs)
  • Design (specifically, decision making, design-for-assembly, governance and monitoring)