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Dr Hongwei Zhang BEng, MSc, PhD, CEng, MIET, FHEA

Deputy Head of Department, Department of Engineering and Mathematics


I have a PhD in Control Engineering from the University of Manchester and a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from Harbin Institute of Technology.  

I joined Sheffield Hallam University in 2007 and am currently working as the Deputy Head of Department for Department of Engineering and Mathematics. Department of Engineering and Mathematics is one of the largest departments at Sheffield Hallam University with over 110 academic staff and more than 2,200 students. I am leading on the operational aspects of the management of the department and providing a strategic link between the Head of Department and operational academic groups responsible for the implementation of strategy.   

I am a Chartered Engineer (CEng) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). I am also an IET Academic Accreditor. My main teaching areas are in industrial automation and control engineering.    

I am a keen researcher in the field of advanced control and condition monitoring of complex processes, industrial automation, robotics and artificial intelligence.


I graduated with a First Class BEng degree in Automatic Control (1993), an MSc in Control Engineering (1996) and a PhD in Aerospace Engineering (1999) all from Harbin Institute of Technology, China.  

While working as a Research Associate at the University of Manchester (2001-2003), I completed my second Ph.D. in the field of Advanced Process Control and Condition Monitoring in 2004 from the School of Engineering.  

Before joining Sheffield Hallam University in 2007, I worked as a Lecturer in Control Engineering at North East Wales Institute, University of Wales (now Glyndŵr University) (2003-2006).  

At Sheffield Hallam University, I worked as a Subject Group Leader for three different subject groups in the Department of Engineering and Mathematics (2009-2018) before being appointed as the Deputy Head of Department in 2018. My main responsibility is to lead on the operational aspects of the management of the department. I am also responsible for work planning, staff development and encouraging innovation, research, and continuous quality enhancement in the department.   I have been leading and delivering many MSc, MEng and BEng modules relevant to Automation and Control Engineering. I have supervised many BEng final year projects, MSc Project and Dissertations and have successfully supervised/co-supervised 11 PhD students to completion to date.  Areas of Interest  Process Control Condition Monitoring Industrial Automation and Robotics Industry 4.0 Artificial Intelligence

Areas of Interest:
- Process Control;
- Condition Monitoring;
- Industrial Automation;
- Artificial Intelligence.


Department of Engineering and Mathematics

Business, Technology and Enterprise

Power, Electrical and Control Engineering Subject Group

In the last 14 years at SHU, I have been a Module Leader for over 10 modules from Level 4 to Level 7. I am currently leading the following module: Control Systems and Their Applications (Level 6 MEng/BEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering)  I also teach part of the following module: Control of Linear Systems (Level 7, MSc Automation, Control and Robotics).


Current Projects:  

• SUSFOOD2 - A Horizon 2020 ERA-NET Cofund on Sustainable Food Production and Consumption, 2018 – 2021, Co-Investigator. ‘Improving sustainability in food processing using Moderate Electric Fields (MEC) for process intensification and smart processing. Project ID: MEFPROC, €1.353M in total working with University College Dublin and 5 other European partners.  

Recently Completed Projects:  

• KTP project with World Feeds Ltd, 2016 – 2018, Academic Supervisor. 'Development of embedded bespoke manufacturing processes to produce high volumes of high value advanced food products', £133K. 

• Innovate UK project, 2015 – 2017, Co-I. ‘Effective milk processing with variable composition’, approx. £700K in total working with Nestle, Foss and First Milk. 

• Consultancy Project with SSG Insight in Leeds - Publication of a White Paper 'Harnessing Brexit, Technology and Insight - British manufacturers maintaining a competitive edge in an age of uncertainty & opportunity' (Web Link: £3.5K

• Innovate UK 


• Nestlé UK & Ireland 


• First Milk 

• World Feeds Ltd 

• C-Tech Innovation 

• United Utilities 

• Festo Didactic 

• SSG Insight


Key Publications

Zhang, H., & Lennox, B. (2003). Multi-way optimal control of a benchmark fed-batch fermentation process. Transactions of the Institute of Measurement and Control, 25 (5), 403-417.

Zhang, H., Lennox, B., Goulding, P.R., & Leung, A.Y.T. (2000). A float-encoded genetic algorithm technique for integrated optimization of piezoelectric actuator and sensor placement and feedback gains. Smart Materials and Structures, 9 (4), 552-557.

Zhang, H., & Lennox, B. (2004). Integrated condition monitoring and control of fed-batch fermentation processes. Journal of Process Control, 14 (1), 41-50.

Journal articles

Zhang, H., Mohamed, A., Breikin, T., & Howarth, M. (2021). Modelling and Simulation of an Ohmic Heating Process. Open Journal of Modelling and Simulation, 9 (1), 26-42.

Zhang, N., Zhang, F., Huang, Y., Zhang, H., Zhao, Y., & Li, R. (2020). Labelling robots selection based on ahp and topsis. UPB Scientific Bulletin, Series D: Mechanical Engineering, 82 (3), 29-40.

Gao, G., Zhang, H., San, H., Sun, G., Wu, X., & Wang, W. (2019). Kinematic calibration for industrial robots using articulated arm coordinate machines. International Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control, 31 (1), 16-26.

Saleh, I., Ali, R., & Zhang, H. (2018). Experimental testing and validation of the mathematical model for a self-humidifying PEM fuel cell. Journal of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering, 6 (4), 202-218.

Saleh, I.M., Ali, R., & Zhang, H. (2018). Environmental Impact of High Altitudes on the Operation of PEM Fuel Cell Based UAS. Energy and Power Engineering, 10 (03), 87-105.

Ding, Y., Zhu, C., & Zhang, H. (2017). A type of distribution control method for nonlinear stochastic systems. Paiguan Jixie Gongcheng Xuebao/Journal of Drainage and Irrigation Machinery Engineering, 35 (9), 774-779.

Gao, G., Zhang, H., San, H., Wu, X., & Wang, W. (2017). Modeling and error compensation of robotic articulated arm coordinate measuring machines using BP neural network. Complexity, 2017.

Saleh, I.M.M., Ali, R., & Zhang, H. (2016). Simplified mathematical model of proton exchange membrane fuel cell based on horizon fuel cell stack. Journal of Modern Power Systems and Clean Energy, 4 (4), 668-679.

Zhang, H. (2009). Software Sensors and Their Applications in Bioprocess. .

Zhang, H. (2008). Optimal control of a fed-batch yeast fermentation process based on Least Square Support Vector Machine. International Journal of Engineering Systems Modelling and Simulation, 1 (1), 63-68.

Zhang, H., Klaveness, B., & Vagapov, Y. (2006). Least square support vector machine based soft-sensing for fed-batch yeast fermentation - A comparative study. World Journal of Engineering, 3 (4), 1-8.

Zhang, H., Lian, Z., Yan, K., Sun, Y., Yuan, J., & Zhang, Z. (2006). Decision support for choice optimal power generation projects: Fuzzy comprehensive evaluation model based on the electricity market. Energy Policy, 34 (17), 3359-3364.

Lennox, B., Zhang, H., Lovett, D., & Sandoz, D. (2004). An integrated approach to advanced process control and condition monitoring. Computing and Control Engineering Journal, 15 (1), 32-37.

Kokkrathoke, S., Rawsthorne, A., Zhang, H., & Xu, X. (n.d.). Nonlinear Optimal Stabilising Control of a Two-wheel Robot. International Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control.

Conference papers

Saad, S.M., Bahadori, R., Zhang, H., & Albaqami, A. (2021). Technology Roadmapping Application in Smart City's Development. In ICMR2021: 18th International Conference on Manufacturing Research, Virtual, 7 September 2021 - 9 September 2021 (pp. 368-373). IOS Press:

Saad, S., Bhovar, C., Bahadori, R., & Zhang, H. (2021). Industry 4.0 Application in Lean Manufacturing- A Systematic Review. In ICMR2021: 18th International Conference on Manufacturing Research, University of Derby, UK, 7 September 2021 - 9 September 2021 (pp. 341-346). IOS press:

Si, Y., Ni, J., Wang, J., Ye, Y., Wan, X., & Zhang, H. (2020). Design of accelerated test system for industrial robot wire harness service. Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering, 589, 714-724.

Meng, Q., Zhang, H., & Howarth, M. (2019). Performances Comparison between Real-Time Auto-Tuning PID and Conventional PID Controller for a Dairy Industrial Evaporation Process Control. 2019 International Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Control and Automation Engineering (AICAE 2019).

Haire, M., Xu, X., Alboul, L., Penders, J., & Zhang, H. (2019). Ship Hull Repair Using A Swarm Of Autonomous Underwater Robots: A Self-Assembly Algorithm. ECMR 2019 (European Conference on Mobile Robotics).

Haire, M., Xu, X., Alboul, L., Penders, J., & Zhang, H. (2019). Ship hull inspection using a swarm of autonomous underwater robots: a Search algorithm. 2019 IEEE International Symposium on Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics (SSRR).

Li, Y., Gao, G., Na, J., & Zhang, H. (2019). Design of a measurement system for industrial robots' calibration based on cable encoders. Proceedings of 2019 IEEE 8th Data Driven Control and Learning Systems Conference, DDCLS 2019, 615-620.

Kalashnikov, A., Zhang, H., & Abramiuk, M. (2018). Automated recording and processing of lecture attendance data using RFID student cards. PROCEEDINGS OF THE VI INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE ADVANCED INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGIES AIST-2018, 81-84.

Kalashnikov, A., Zhang, H., Jennings, J., & Abramriuk, M.-.M. (2017). Remote laboratory: using Internet-of-Things (IoT) for E-learning. In Comparison of the responsiveness of ultrasonic oscillating temperature sensors (UOTSes) and conventional sensors to temperature inflection points, (pp. 43-46). Springer:

Butler, D., & Zhang, H. (2012). Intelligent software sensors and process prediction for glass container forming processes based on multivariate statistical process control techniques. In Proceedings of 2012 UKACC International Conference on Control, (pp. 281-285). IEEE:

Zhang, H., Zhang, Z., & Lan, L.H. (2010). Evolutionary optimization of a fed-batch penicillin fermentation process. In 2010 International Symposium on Computer, Communication, Control and Automation, Tainan, 5 May 2010 - 7 May 2010 (pp. 403).

Lan, L.H., & Zhang, H. (2010). Frequency domain criteria for lp-robust stability of systems with fuzzy parameters. In 2010 International Symposium on Computer, Communication, Control and Automation, 3CA 2010, Tainan, 5 May 2010 - 7 May 2010 (pp. 318).

Zhang, H., & Vagapov, Y. (2006). LS-SVM Based Software Sensor for Fed-batch Yeast Fermentation and Comparative Studies. In 2006 IEEE International Conference on Electro/Information Technology, (pp. 564-568). IEEE:

Belloc, C., Zhang, H., Vagapov, Y., & Moreno, P. (2006). A Step Voltage Response Method for Identification of Induction Motor Parameters at Stand Still. In 2006 IEEE International Conference on Electro/Information Technology, (pp. 109-112). IEEE:

Katawaluwa, M., Zhang, H., Vagapov, Y., & Evans, J. (2006). Simulation of Wind Heat Generator. In 2006 IEEE International Conference on Electro/Information Technology, (pp. 479-482). IEEE:

Zhang, H., Zouaoui, Z., & Lennox, B. (2005). A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF SOFT-SENSING METHODS FOR FED-BATCH FERMENTATION PROCESSES. IFAC Proceedings Volumes, 38 (1), 55-60.

Zhang, H., & Lennox, B. (2003). Fault detection and isolation in a FED-batch penicillin fermentation process. European Control Conference, ECC 2003, 1670-1675.

Zhang, H., Lennox, B., Goulding, P.R., & Wang, Y. (2002). Adaptive information sharing factors in federated Kalman filtering. IFAC Proceedings Volumes (IFAC-PapersOnline), 15 (1), 79-84.

Book chapters

Zhang, H. (2008). Intelligent software sensors for fed-batch fermentation processes. In Proceedings of the UKACC International Conference on Control 2008. University of Manchester:

Xu, X., Zhang, H., & Carbone, G. (n.d.). Case studies on nonlinear control theory of the inverted pendulum. In Boubake, O., & Iriarte, R. (Eds.) Inverted pendulum: from theory to new innovations in control and robotics. IET


Zhang, H., Saad, S., & Jon, M. (2018). Harnessing Brexit, Technology and Insight - British manufacturers; maintaining a competitive edge in an age of uncertainty & opportunity. Sheffield Hallam University and SSG Insight.

Theses / Dissertations

Meng, Q. (2020). Advanced Process Control with Applications in the Food Industry. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Zhang, H., & Halliday, I.

Salah, I.M.M. (2015). Modelling, simulation and performance evaluation: PEM fuel cells for high altitude UAS. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Ali, R., & Zhang, H.

Other activities

I am currently acting as an external examiner for the BEng/MEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering programmes at Staffordshire University. Previously, I worked as external examiners at The University of South Wales, Glyndŵr University and The University of Ulster.  I have also externally examined many MPhil and PhD students at various universities in the UK.  I am working in the Editorial Board of International Journal of Engineering Systems Modelling and Simulation and the International Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control. I have also been serving as a referee for many funding bodies, international journals and publishers.  I am the President of China-Britain Technology and Trade Association (CBTTA) which is a charity registered in England and Wales.

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD students:  

MENG, Qingbo, PhD project: Advanced Process Control with Applications in the Food Industry. 

OLUWOLE-OJO, Oluwaloba, PhD project: Modelling, control and analysis of moderate electric fields in food manufacturing processes; 

AL BALOUSHI, Khalifa Murad, PhD project: Framework for Integrating Industry 4.0 in the UAE Defence Industry Ecosystem; 

MESTIYAGE DON, Ranjika Prasanga Gunathilaka, PhD project: Framework for Embedding Simulation / Optimization in Logistics and Supply Chain Systems; 

ALDHERAIF ALSHAMSI, Omar Mohammed, PhD project: Industry 4.0 Enabled Framework for Managing Large Scale Emergencies in the UAE;  

MOHAMED FADAAQ, Salem Hussain, PhD project: Framework for Improving Strategic Competitiveness of Container Ports in the UAE; 

HAIRE, Matthew, PhD project: Robotic Applications of Artificial Swarm Intelligence;  

GAAFAR, Amr Mohamed Ehab Moustafa, PhD project: Design and Manufacture of Medium-Voltage Contactors and Circuit Breakers;  

ALNUAIMI, Samah, PhD project: The Seventh Generation of Innovation Management - an Integrated Framework for Competitive Advantages.

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