David Flynn

PhD, FHEA, IET Scholar, MSc, BEng(Hons), MIET


+44 (0)131 451 3942
Room G.21
Earl Mountbatten Building
Heriot-Watt University

Professor David Flynn leads the Smart Systems Group (SSG) at Heriot-Watt University. The SSG are co-founders of the worlds largest offshore robotics hub for the certification of assets (£36M, EPSRC, ORCA), as well as the UKs largest Whole System Energy Demonstrator (£30M, Innovate, Reflex). Expertise in critical infrastructure, robotics, sensing technologies and data analysis has led to the establishment of an internationally leading research group. Prof. Flynn has several patents, over 115 publications and authored several industrial and government white papers on Robotics, Energy Systems and Data Analysis. Prof. Flynn is an IET Scholar and Eminent Overseas Professor of Nagasaki University. Prof. Flynn is an associate editor of the award winning IEEE Access journal. Prof. Flynn is the co-founder of MicroSense Technologies Ltd and also holds an appointment as the Chief Technical Officer of Texo Group. Prof. Flynn is the recipient of several innovation awards including; the British Renewable Energy Innovation Award for Low Carbon Transport (2018), Rushlight Innovation Award (2018), Interface Strategic Partnership Award (2017), Converge Challenge Prize (2016), and IET Lesile H Paddle Prize (2006).

Selected publications

A list of all research publications is available on the Research Gateway


Prof. David Flynn is the the founder of the Smart Systems Group (SSG) at Heriot-Watt University; the activities of the SSG involve multidisciplinary expertise in sensor technologies, manufacturing and embedded intelligence to create Smart Systems. In the area of Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), the SSG investigate solutions in partnership with colleagues within the Edinburgh Centre of Robotics to create the next generation solutions for intelligent asset management. This research relates to applications within challenging and remote environments, for example, offshore wind turbine asset management and subsea power cable inspection, where we take advantage of hybrid (human-machine) remote inspection and repair to deliver a new paradigm in asset management of critical and complex systems. Prof. Flynn is a founder and Associate Director of the new EPSRC National Centre for Energy System Integration (£25,000,000). My research strategy within this programme is the integration of prognostics and health management principles to support enhanced system level asset management and planning of the energy network. Prof. Flynn is also the deputy director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Embedded Intelligence (£13,000,000). Within the CDT programme and he has industrial supported studentships from MacTaggart Scott Ltd, Baker Hughes and MacPhie, representing different high value engineering sectors all based on integrated sensor technologies with front end intelligence to support optimised asset management of systems.

Further information

Prof. Flynn graduated with a first class honours from his bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronic engineering from Heriot-Watt University, Scotland, in 2002. He was later awarded a Master of Science with distinction in Microsystems within the MISEC group at Heriot-Watt. In 2007 David completed his PhD investigation into the “Manufacture and Characterisation of Microscale Magnetic Components”. David received the highly coveted Leslie H Paddle Prize from the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), only one of which is available in the UK, for his PhD accomplishments.

Prof. Flynn's expertise is in the research and development of novel sensors and intelligent sensor systems. Prof. Flynn has applied his expertise to broad field of applications including energy, medical, offshore assets and environmental monitoring. Prof. Flynn has published over 50 papers and currently holds a UK patent for High Frequency Piezoelectric Ultrasound Transducer Arrays, for medical imaging applications. In 2006 Prof. Flynn developed the highest power density magnetic components to-date in the field of DC-DC converters. Prof. Flynn is currently leading work in robust and intelligent, as in Prognostic and Diagnostic, sensor system projects with Scottish and Southern Energy, Siemens Transmission Distribution Limited, and MacTaggart Scott limited