Department of Engineering / Profiles / Prof. Duncan McFarlane

Department of Engineering

Prof. Duncan McFarlane


Duncan McFarlane

Professor in Industrial Information Engineering

Academic Division: Manufacturing and Management

Research group: Manufacturing Systems (Head of Group)

Telephone: +44 1223 3 38069


Personal website

Research interests

Professor McFarlane's research interests include automated identification systems and their application, supply chain automation systems and architectures, manufacturing control and automation, systems integration, reconfigurable systems design, distributed control systems, value of information, service engineering, energy and information, logistics information systems, and warehouse management.

Strategic themes

Energy, transport and urban infrastructure

Airport operations research. Boeing, Heathrow, Emirates, Manchester Airport.

Complex, resilient and intelligent systems

Co-leader.  Resilient Production research with Boeing and Laing O'Rourke. Resilient Agriculture. Auditing of Operational Resilience.

Research projects

  • 2012-13, Asset Management in Infrastructure, (with A Parlikad) IKC in CSIC (£465,000)
  • 2012-13, FutureProofing in Infrastructure, IKC in CSIC (£175,000)
  • 2011-2015, DistAL, The Boeing Company (£500,000)
  • 2011-2014, Aladdin, The Boeing Company. (£500,000)
  • 2011-2012, Monitoring of Operational Freedoms Trial, BAA (£150,000)
  • 2011 – 2015, [with Prof R Mair, Prof K Soga] IKC in Smart Construction and Infrastructure (£17M) – co-investigator, TSB/ESPRC, Industry Funding
  • 2011-2013, Supporting the EPC Network, EPC Global (£100,000)
  • 2010-2015, Cambridge Service Alliance (£1.5M) [with Prof A Neely]

Teaching activity

  • Operation and Control of Production Machines and System
  • Operations Management
  • Production Game
  • Supply Chain Beer Game
  • Industrial Systems, Operations and Services
  • MET Induction Project, 4 x 4 Week Project, Long Projects
  • Mechanics 1B Supervisions
  • Control 1B Supervisions

Other positions

  • Head of Distributed Automation & Information Lab, Institute for Manufacturing (1995 – present)
  • Engineering Fellow at St John’s College (1/10/96 – present)
  • Cambridge Service Alliance – Member of Academic Advisory Board (September 2010 - )
  • Lead investigator for the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction external link (2011 -)
  • External PhD examiner: Chalmers (2013), Univ Melbourne (2013), Groningen (2011), HUT (2006), K U Leuven (2007), Odense (1999),  De Montford (2004), Cambridge(1995), ANU (1997)
  • Committee Member of IEE Professional Group (I7) on Next Generation Manufacturing Enterprises (1996 - 2000)
  • Springer Verlag Series in Industrial Control - Member of Editorial Board (1990 - 2001)
  • IFAC Working Committee on Mining, Minerals and Metallurgy (1990 - 2002)
  • IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Technical Committee on Robotics and Manufacturing Systems - Chairman of Subcommittee on Manufacturing (2000 - 2004)
  • Board Member, Maersk McKinner Møller Institute, Odense, Denmark (2000-2002 )
  • Technical Advisory Board - IEE Professional Network on Automation and Control (2001-)
  • IFAC Working Committee on Manufacturing Systems (2001-)
  • UK Node, EU Network of Excellence in Intelligent Manufacturing Systems, (2002-2004)
  • Research Director, Auto ID Labs (2003 – 2007)


Duncan McFarlane is Professor of Industrial Information Engineering at the Cambridge University Engineering Department, and head of the Distributed Information & Automation Laboratory within the Institute for Manufacturing.  He has been involved in the design and operation of industrial automation and information systems for twenty years.  His research work is focused in the areas of distributed industrial automation, reconfigurable systems, RFID integration, track and trace systems and valuing industrial information. Most recently he has been examining the role of automation and information solutions in supporting industrial services, infrastructure and industrial energy usage. Professor McFarlane is also Co-Founder and Chairman of RedBite Solutions Ltd - an industrial RFID and track & trace solutions company.  He was Professor of Service and Support Engineering from 2006 to 2011 which was supported by both Royal Academy of Engineering and BAE Systems.  Since 2010 he has also been Professor of Industrial Information Engineering.