Safeguarding our systems

David Flynn

Through our fundamental understanding of complex processes we are able to create Smart Systems that are vital to how we deliver sustainability and resilience in systems, organisations, networks and society.

Professor David Flynn, Founder of the Smart Systems Group, Associate Director of UK's National Centre for Energy System Integration

Applying methods from Prognostics and Health Management, Professor David Flynn’s team leads national and international projects in disruptive and responsible innovation. From Robotics and AI, to vital services from our critical infrastructure – the ability to optimise and predict their lifecycle performance is fundamental to ensuring the safety of the public and environment. 

Professor Flynn has established an international reputation as a global expert in the creation of Smart Systems – systems that can forecast their performance and adapt to dynamic conditions. He leads a team of 30 researchers in the Smart Systems Group (SSG) whose award-winning discoveries are changing how we deliver decarbonised transport, resilient and affordable energy, and systems capable of exploring our oceans and the universe around us.

The SSG believes we must transform data into actionable information and utilise this insight to create innovative, data informed, Smart Systems that can assess, adapt and respond to dynamic conditions. This multidisciplinary team with expertise in data analysis, artificial intelligence, prognostics, energy systems and sensing technologies, are focused on the design, manufacture and characterisation of transformative Smart Systems.

Real-world impact

In a project with the potential to create a global blueprint for our future energy infrastructure, Professor Flynn leads a multidisciplinary research team from Heriot-Watt on a £28.5M Whole System Demonstrator Project, Responsive Flexibility (ReFLEX), one of only four projects funded by Innovate UK.

Based in Orkney, ReFLEX explores how communities are transforming their relationship with energy services, and how this research can not only deliver a renewable and resilient energy future, but also the potential to transform communities through distributed wealth creation.

Read more: 
Orkney a Step Closer to Carbon Neutral
How robots will safeguard our offshore energy infrastructure

Key information

David Flynn