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Archived News

Please see below for our archived news

EPIC Researcher Dr David Laverty contributes to PBS news hour

Congratulations to Dr David Laverty one of our EPIC researchers who recently contributed to a PBS new hour article detailing how to save energy in your home using smart affordable upgrades.

The article can be viewed here

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Queen's University Belfast featured in the Rolls Royce Indepth Magazine March 2018

Dr Wasif Naeem, an Academic from the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was the PI from QUB on the MAXCMAS (MAchine eXecutable Collision regulations for Marine Autonomous Systems) project leading the development of collision avoidance algorithms. The project demonstrated that the existing Maritime 'Rules of the Road' or COLREGs remain relevant for autonomous vessels. The development of collision avoidance algorithms was central to the £1.3m InnovateUK project part funded by the DSTL.

Link to Rolls Royce Indepth Magazine (Page 14)


Link to Rolls Royce Press Release

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INTERREG VA Storage Platform for the Integration of Renewable Energy (SPIRE 2)

Integration of Energy Storage into Electrical Power Systems - INTERREG VA Storage Platform for the Integration of Renewable Energy (SPIRE 2)

We currently have a number of PhD oopportunies on topics related to the integration of energy storage into electrical power systems. These are funded by the Storage Platform for the Integration of Renewable Energy (SPIRE 2) INTERREG VA, a collaborative project led by Ulster University with Strathclyde University and Dundalk Insittute of Technology as the other academic partners.

For further information on these projects and information on how to apply please click here.

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EPIC Researchers Awarded 2017 Premium Award for Best Paper in IET Generation, Transmission & Distribution

EPIC Researchers, Dr David Laverty, Dr Robert Best and Professor John Morrow were recently awarded the 2017 Premium Award for the Best Paper in IET Generation, Transmissions and Distrubution for their paper titled "Loss-of-mains protection system by application of phasor measurement unit technolgy with experimentally assessed threshold settings". The paper was originally published on 29th January 2015 in IET Generation, Transmissions & Distrubition, Volume 9, Issue 2, p 146-153.

Loss-of-mains protection is an important component of the protection systems of embedded generation. The role of loss-of-mains is to disconnect the embedded generator from the utility grid in the event that connection to utility dispatched generation is lost. This is necessary for a number of reasons, including the safety of personnel during fault restoration and the protection of plant against out-of-synchronism reclosure to the mains supply. The incumbent methods of loss-of-mains protection were designed when the installed capacity of embedded generation was low, and known problems with nuisance tripping of the devices were considered acceptable because of the insignificant consequence to system operation. With the dramatic increase in the installed capacity of embedded generation over the last decade, the limitations of current islanding detection methods are no longer acceptable. This study describes a new method of loss-of-mains protection based on phasor measurement unit (PMU) technology, specifically using a low cost PMU device of the authors’ design which has been developed for distribution network applications. The proposed method addresses the limitations of the incumbent methods, providing a solution that is free of nuisance tripping and has a zero non-detection zone. This system has been tested experimentally and is shown to be practical, feasible and effective. Threshold settings for the new method are recommended based on data acquired from both the Great Britain and Ireland power systems

Premium awards are given by the IET to recognise the best research papers published during the last two years. Big congratulations to David, Robert and John on their hard work.

You can view the article by clicking here

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Integration of Energy Storage into Electrical Power Systems - INTERREG VA Storage Platform for the integration of Renewable Energy (SPIRE 2)

We currently have a couple of Research Fellow posts available within our cluster. The posts are associated with our INTERREG project.

Applications are online only and can be found here

Ref 18/106331 and Ref 18/106332

Closing date for applications is 19th April 2018

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MSc in Sustainable Electrical Energy Systems

The new MSc degree in Sustainable Electrical Energy Systems programme will provide numerate graduates with the requisite knowledge and skills required by the electricity supply industry as it replaces fossil-fuel with renewable power generation.

Click here for details regarding the course including how to apply.

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Past EPIC (Electrical Power) researcher chosen for the US Department of State’s 2012 Women in the Science Hall of Fame program

Wejdan Abu El-Haija with HRH Princess Sumaya and US Ambassador Stuart E. Jones at a reception on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of US embassy)

Wejdan Abu El-Haija, Dean of the King Abdullah II School for Electrical Engineering at Princess Sumaya University for Technology, has been chosen for the US Department of State’s 2012 Women in Science Hall of Fame programme, the US embassy said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

Abu El-Haija, the first female dean of engineering in any university in Jordan, was honoured on Wednesday at a reception at the residence of US Ambassador Stuart E. Jones, attended by HRH Princess Sumaya, guests from the government, academia and civil society, and high school and college students interested in science and technology.

The environment, science, technology and health regional office at the US embassy in Amman launched the program in 2010 to honour outstanding Arab women scientists throughout the Middle East and North Africa region, the statement said.

Twelve women from a variety of scientific disciplines were selected for their professional accomplishments and ability to motivate and inspire young women to pursue scientific careers.
After graduating as the valedictorian of her electrical engineering class at the Jordan University of Science and Technology, Abu El-Haija earned her PhD in electrical machines from Queen’s University of Belfast. She, under the supervision of Dr Colin Tindall, conducted research on finite element design of alternators. Prof D. J. Morrow was the internal examiner for her PhD who still works at Queen’s as a Professor in the field of Electrical Power Engineering.

She has won several awards for her research, including the Hisham Adeeb Hijjawi Applied Science Award in 2004 and the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau Award for the Best Design Model in 2008. The University of Jordan Centre for Women's Studies gave her the Award for Academic Women Leaders in 2007.

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IMarEST Denny Medal for Dr W Naeem

IMarEST President, Prof John Carlton and Dr Wasif Naeem

A lecturer from the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (SEEECS) at Queen's University Belfast has retrospectively been awarded the Denny medal for a paper published in the first edition of Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology (IMarEST) Journal of Marine Science and Environment in 2004. Dr Naeem received a medal and a certificate from the current IMarEST president, Professor John Carlton at an award ceremony in Trinity House, London in March 2012.
The paper entitled "Pure pursuit guidance and model predictive control of an autonomous underwater vehicle for cable/pipeline tracking" proposed a modified form of missile guidance and control system for tracking rather intercepting subsea objects.

Dr Naeem joined Queens University of Belfast in 2007 and is part of the Energy and Intelligent Control Research Cluster (formerly Intelligent Systems and Control) within SEEECS. His primary research involves guidance and control system design for unmanned marine vehicles (UMVs) and is currently developing algorithms to improve the autonomy of UMVs. In 2007, Dr Naeem was awarded the Michael Richey Medal by the Royal Institute of Navigation for his work on autonomous path planning through chemical signatures and was presented the medal by the Duke of Edinburgh.

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Professor George Irwin elected Fellow of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC)

Prof Alberto Isidori, Prof George Irwin and Prof Lennart Ljung

Prof George Irwin was presented with his IFAC Fellows certificate on the occasion of the World Congress in Milan by Professor Alberto Isidori, IFAC President, and Professor Lennart  Ljung, who chaired the selection committee.





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Surgical Innovation a finalist in IET Awards

Empedocles in action

Congratulations to Dr Karen Rafferty and Dr Stuart Ferguson whose Virtual Surgical Simulator, Empedocles, has been selected as a finalist in the 2011 IET Innovation Awards, taking place on November 9th in London.

Empedocles is a laparoscopic surgical simulator which was developed to improve the training and assessment of the laparoscopic technique among surgeons in training. Currently Empedocles is a working demonstrator that can respond haptically and visually to user interaction.

The overall goal of this product is to improve patient safety by reducing the need for on patient training by providing surgical teams with the tools required to improve surgical outcomes. Collaboration is ongoing with doctors in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. A working prototype has been used in surgical training field trials and work continues on this.

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Distinguished Scholar’s Lecture, Prof Shaoyuan Li

Prof Shaoyuan Li
Royal Academy of Engineering Distinguished Visiting Fellow
Department of Automation
Shanghai Jiao Tong University

 Networked Predictive Control for Distributed Large-scale Systems


A class of large scale systems, which can be naturally divided into a number of smaller-scale interacting subsystems, are usually controlled using a distributed or decentralized control framework. A novel distributed model predictive control (MPC) is proposed for improving the performance of the entire system. Here each subsystem is controlled by a local MPC and these controllers exchange a reduced set of information with each other within the network. The optimization index of each local MPC considers not only the performance of the corresponding subsystems but also that of its neighbours. The proposed architecture guarantees satisfactory performance under strong interactions among subsystems. A stability analysis is presented for the unconstrained distributed MPC and the provided stability results can be employed for tuning the controller. The application to an accelerated cooling process on a test rig will be discussed for validating the efficacy of the proposed method.

Speaker: Prof Shaoyuan Li

Location: NITC Conference Room A (tea/coffee will be served after the lecture)

Time & Date: 11:30 am, Thursday, August 18 2011

Acknowledgement of Support from

  • Royal Academy of Engineering Distinguished Visiting Fellow Scheme
  • School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, QUB
  • IEEE CC Ireland Chapter, IEEE SMC Ireland Chapter
  • EPSRC Science Bridge project on Sustainable Energy and Built Environment


Everyone welcome!

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Double Success for ISAC Academic in China

Prof Professor Luis A. Aguirre from Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil (right) and Prof Kaspar Althoefer from King's College London, UK (left) presented Dr Li (middle) with the certificate.

Prof Dianguo Xu (right), Assistant President of Harbin Institute of Technology, presented the Visiting Professorship Certificate to Dr Li (left)

Dr Kang Li of the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has recently been presented with the Young Author Best Paper Award for work presented at the International Conference on Modelling, Identification and Control (ICMIC 2011), held in Shanghai, China at the end of June 2011. This was co-authored with his PhD student Chamil Abeykoon and colleagues from Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the University of Bradford. 

The research reported is linked to two projects, an EPSRC one on polymer extrusion, and the £2.3 million Research Councils UK Science Bridge on sustainable energy and environment funded by the and Queen’s.

Dr Li said ‘The focus of this interdisciplinary effort on advanced process control has been to combine high quality research with technology transfer to impact on an energy intensive industrial sector to improve the global competitiveness”.

In recognition of his research excellence in Intelligent Systems and Control, as well as substantial international collaboration initiatives, Dr Li was further recently honoured by Harbin Institute of Technology as a Visiting Professor in July 2011. Prof Irwin, Research Director, Intelligent Systems and Control commented ‘ Dr Li is one of an up-and-coming generation of young researchers at Queens who are rapidly gaining a world-wide reputation’.


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Professor John Morrow addresses the Northern Ireland Assembly

Professor Morrow (pictured below) was one of a number of invited speakers to address the Northern Ireland Assembly All-Party Group on Science and Technology Energy Storage Seminar on 10th November 2014. 

In his presentation entitled "Sustainable Electricity Supply: Myth Or Reality" John provided a review of the challenges and opportunities for the island of Ireland as we strive to deliver a electricity supply industry that exploits our natural renewable resources and is less reliant on hydrocarbon fuels.


John Morrow NI Assembly

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UKACC 2016 to be held in Belfast


UKACC logo

The EPIC cluster is pleased to announce that the next United Kingdom Automatic Control Council (UKACC) conference will be held at Queen's University Belfast in August - September 2016.

Members of the EPIC cluster have managed to secure this prestigious biennial control conference which will be held in Northern Ireland for the first time in its 18-year history.

The general scope of the conference is control theory and its applications to a wide range of disciplines including artificial intelligence, robotics, modelling, biomedical engineering, energy and power, image and signal processing, wireless networks, and smart sensors, to name a few.

For further details, please contact the organising committee.

If you have an interest in control theory and applications or if you would like to participate in UKACC 2016 as a proposer/presenter or exhibitor, please contact the Local Organising Chair.


Organising Committee

General Chair: Professor Seán McLoone

Programme Chair: Professor Kang Li

Local Organising Chair: Dr Wasif Naeem

International Programme Committee Chair: Professor Sarah Spurgeon



Visit Belfast


Belfast City Council



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L‌‌SMS2014 and ICSEE2014 International Conferences

Shanghai conference 2014


The 2014 International Conference on Life System Modeling and Simulation (LSMS2014) and 2014 International Conference on Intelligent Computing for Sustainable Energy and Environment (ICSEE2014) were successfully held in Shanghai from the 20th to the 23rd of September 2014. The conferences, which were jointly organised by Queen’s University Belfast and Shanghai University, are a milestone of the iGIVE (Intelligent Grid Interfaced Vehicle Eco-charging) project. iGIVE is one of the four UK-China key research projects in deepening green technology development with over £1 million in grants from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC).

The conference was co-chaired by Professor Kang Li of the EPIC cluster in the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. A total of 572 submissions were received and 220 high-quality papers accepted for presentation. These papers covered 40 topics ranging from the latest advantages in computational methods, artificial intelligence on Life System Modelling and Simulation to recent research on sustainable energy and the environment.

213 researchers from 13 countries and districts gathered together at the Yanchang campus of Shanghai University to share their recent research. These included representatives from China, America, the UK, Germany, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. The conference proceedings published by Springer are within the top 25% most downloaded eBooks with more than 90,000 chapter downloads.

The 2014 International Conferences on LSMS & ICSEE provided an excellent communication platform for peer professionals, scholars and engineers. They also provided opportunities for Chinese researchers to follow the latest international developments in computational methods for life system modelling and simulation and sustainable energy and environment. The conferences witnessed fruitful results from researchers and illustrated the importance of system simulation in national economy and defense construction. The success of the conferences has enhanced communication and collaboration nationally and internationally in related areas and brought significant benefits to Chinese researchers.

The "Best Paper" award went to Professor Kang Li's "A Variant Gaussian Process for Short-Term Wind Power Forecasting Based on TLBO", which Professor Li co-authored with EPIC PhD students Juan Yan and Zhile Yang and colleagues from the State Grid Electric Power Research Institute, China. This work is part of the research linked to the current EPSRC project on “Intelligent Grid Interfaced Vehicle Eco” and the £2.3 million Science Bridge project on sustainable energy and environment of which Professor Li is the Co-Investigator.

More information can be found on the iGIVE project website.

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Legacy Gift Awarded in Dragons' Den Competition

EPIC's Dr Wenping Cao was the winner of a EEECS Dragons' Den competition designed to allocate a legacy gift for research into new sources of energy and power.

Dr Cao is pictured below delivering his pitch on power electronics research before an audience of staff and students.

A full report on the event has been posted on the EEECS website.


Dragons' Den competition  

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Valentine’s Speech on Electrical Machines and Drives

In industry, more than 70% of electricity is consumed by electrical motor drives of some kinds. Any significant improvement in energy efficiency wouldn’t be possible without involving electrical machines and power converters.

Dr Wenping Cao, who recently joined the EPIC Cluster, will deliver a technical talk on "Improving Energy Efficiency in Electrical Machines and Drives" on this Valentine’s afternoon, at 2:30pm, Ashby Building Conference Room 07.005. Wenping will spend 30 mins to introduce a romantic story how electrical machines and power converters met and wedded happily ever after through his high-quality work, followed by an extensive discussion on interdisciplinary collaboration and future work.

Sweeties and chocolates will be provided to add to the atmosphere, in addition to teas and coffees.
If you want to join us before meeting your loved ones, please book a seat through Dr Jing Deng.

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IMarEST Most Innovative Research Award for EPIC Researchers

An EPIC PhD student and staff has been awarded the IMarEST most innovative research award at the 4th UK Martime Postgraduate Conference held in University College London in June 2013.

Ms Sable Campbell, a 3rd year DEL*-funded PhD student from the EPIC research cluster presented her research entitled "Intelligent Collision Monitoring and Avoidance Algorithms for Unmanned Maritime Vehicles" at the conference and received a certificate to mark the award. The research focussed on developing intelligent obstacle detection and avoidnace algorithms for unmanned marine vehicles. A unique feature of the research is the automation of standardised collision regulations or 'marine rules of the road' as defined by the International Maritime Organisation.

Co-author, Dr Wasif Naeem who is also Ms Campbell's PhD supervisor and the Principle Investigator of this EPSRC funded project, said that this award shows the world-leading research being carried out within the cluster.



Ms Campbell (top row, third from the left) is pictured here with other MTPC attendeeds at University College London.


* DEL - Department of Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland

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