skip to content


Interdisciplinary Research Centre


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.


Prof McFarlane completed a B Eng degree at Melbourne University in 1984, a PhD in the design of robust control systems at Cambridge in 1988, and worked industrially with BHP Australia in engineering and research positions between 1980 and 1994. Prof McFarlane joined the Department of Engineering at Cambridge in 1995 as a lecturer in the area of industrial automation systems. 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 service environments and in addressing environmental concerns.


Between 2000 and 2003 he was the European Research Director of the Auto-ID Center external link. From 2001-2011 he was a co-investigator in the EPSRC funded Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre based in the Institute for Manufacturing. In 2004, he became head of the Cambridge Auto ID Lab and co founded a series of programmes on information in the aerospace sector including the Aero ID Programme, examining the role of RFID in the aerospace industry.  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 between 2006 and 2011 which was supported by both Royal Academy of Engineering and BAE Systems. From October 2011, he became Professor of Industrial Information Engineering at Cambridge. Prof. McFarlane is also a lead investigator for the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction external link.


  • industrial control & automation,
  • reconfigurable industrial systems design,
  • analysis and synthesis of intelligent control systems,
  • automated identification systems,
  • value of industrial information & sensing,
  • track & trace systems,
  • information systems in complex industrial environments.
Professor of Service and Support Engineering
Professor Duncan  McFarlane
Not available for consultancy